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Cider-Brined Turkey with Herb Butter

Soaking the turkey in a saltwater brine produces tender, juicy meat, but the pan drippings may be a bit salty for making gravy. You can still prepare a delicious gravy by using our turkey gravy base. To add rich flavor, simmer the turkey neck, tail and giblets in the stock you plan to use for the gravy, then add pan drippings to the finished gravy to taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar turkey brine—apple and spices, prepared
      with cider and water according to package
      instructions
  • 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb., neck, heart and
      gizzard removed (reserved, if desired)
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 4 tsp. chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as
      rosemary, oregano, parsley and sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Prepare the turkey brine and brine the turkey according to the package instructions.

Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ºF.

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, herbs and pepper until well blended. Spread the butter mixture evenly on the outside of the turkey. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Loosely tent the turkey with foil, then reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. After about 2 1/2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12.

Make-Ahead Tips: Prepare the brine mixture (but do not add the turkey) up to 2 days in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.