How-To: Brine Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Soaking a turkey overnight in a solution of salt and water ensures a moist, juicy interior; beautiful aromatics infuse it with flavor.

(Makes enough for one 17-20 pound turkey)

Ingredients:
7 quarts water
Farm & Larder brine mix
1 bottle dry white wine
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni (a bundle of dried herbs, such as this week’s thyme and rosemary, plus sage)

Tools:
5-gallon brining container (tub, stockpot, or bucket)
Large brining bag (included in your brining kit)

Method:
1. One day before roasting the turkey, bring 1 quart water and the brine mixture to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. To minimize cleanup, line a 5-gallon container with the brining bag. Place turkey in the bag and add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag tightly; if turkey is not fully submerged, weight it down with a plate. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once. (If there isn’t room in your refrigerator, place the turkey inside a cooler, and surround it with ice, replenishing as necessary to keep it at 40 degrees).

3. Remove turkey from brine one hour before roasting, and pat it dry inside and out. Let stand for up to an hour before roasting it to your preferred recipe’s specifications.

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Baked Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast

This homey recipe from The Pioneer Woman can easily be done a day ahead and chilled until ready to bake.

Ingredients:
1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread
Butter, for greasing the baking pan
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Topping:
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
½ cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins

Method:
1. Cut bread into ¼-inch slices, then overlap the slices in rows in a well-buttered baking dish. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, then pour the mixture evenly over all the pieces of bread, soaking the bread as much as possible.

2. To make the topping, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and cut it all together with a pastry cutter. Stir in the raisins. Sprinkle the topping all over the casserole. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the French toast for 45 minutes to 1 hour for a softer texture, or longer for a firmer, crisper texture. Cover with foil for the first 30 minute of baking, then remove it for the remaining baking time. Serve individual helpings with butter and warm syrup

Bratwurst with Caramelized Onions, Leeks & Sweet Peppers

This inviting main dish is incredibly flavorful! (If you happen to have any leftovers, try piling them into a sandwich with this week’s pumpernickel bread.)

Ingredients:
4 bratwurst links
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced into half-rings
2 leeks, trimmed of root and dark green ends and thinly-sliced
2 sweet peppers, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons butter

Method:
1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and then add the onions, leeks and peppers, cooking over low heat until all the onions and leeks are caramelized and the peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in another skillet, simmer the bratwurst in 1-2-inches of water to cover for 20 minutes. Then drain off the water from the skillet and continue cooking just long enough to brown the bratwurst lightly.

3. To serve, pile the bratwurst atop the caramelized veggies and serve with sauerkraut and mustard on the side.

Fried Duck Eggs Over Roasted Fall Vegetables

Shake up your breakfast routine with this hearty, healthy vegetable hash!

Ingredients:
1 pound Huckleberry gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 cups carrots, peeled, scrubbed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed of fronds and root ends and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for frying the eggs
4 duck eggs
1 teaspoon finely-chopped thyme
Sea salt

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

2. Using your fingers, toss the vegetables with the oil, salt and thyme in a bowl and then transfer to the baking sheet.

3. Put the vegetables in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Flip them gently with a spatula and continue to roast until the vegetables are browned and crispy, another 10 to 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmery. Carefully crack 1 duck egg and drop into the pan, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Fry until whites are set and crispy around the edges, but yolk is still runny, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat with remaining eggs.

5. Remove vegetables from the oven and top each individual serving with a fried duck egg.

Variation: This hash is extremely versatile: Clean out the crisper and use any vegetables you have on hand!

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