I went back to a wet brine preparation this year after two years of using a dry salt rub brine method. I got this recipe from Saveur Magazine a few years ago and it calls for tart apples, onions, garlic, ancho chile powder, apple cider and water in the marinade. Although this sounds very strong, in fact the flavor comes out very subtle. The wet brine technique to me gives much more moisture to the bird.
Trussed bird in the oven
This recipe calls for cooking at a very high heat. But our oven is very squirrely and I had to lower the heat substantially so it wouldn't burn. Fortunately the meat was just fine but I wasn't happy with skin crispness.
Dr. Debbie putting the finishing touches to a hot cider with Calvados (French apple brandy)
Wife showing off her pies
Agent W showing off Cabinet Ladies filled cherry tomato tapas.
I thinks he spent as much time doing that one appetizer as I did making the turkey!
They had three different fillings - crab, anchovy/caper, aioli - their saltiness when great with the sweetness of the cider
Agent W and Gaius Derf
I did a great job on the gravy this year.
I roasted turkey parts, onions, carrots, and celery then made the stock in the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker is so great for stock making...just a fraction of the time and it really extracts the flavor.
On the right is the roux being made. I did a real slow cooked Louisiana style roux that got a nice dark brown.
The combination of the dark stock and dark roux was very effective.
"For crying out loud when are we going to eat!"
Everything on the table ready to go.
Some of the stars were Agent W's Italian meat dressing and Cabinet Lady's Salad with home grown beets and dried cranberries. I know the sound of a salad on Thanksgiving seems odd but the cranberries in them were a wonderful counterpoint to all the richness.
A fully composed plate :)
We of course had tons of food but we divided among everyone so there weren't an overload of leftovers for anyone. I did make sure that Dr. Debbie was searched before she left so she didn't run of with my mashed potatoes like she did last year.
You remember my raving about Wife's pie last time?
The reality was even better. The apple pie was without doubt the best apple pie I've ever had.
You may have remember my caption in the picture of her making it said she was sprinkling sugar on the top. No, it was Salt! To go with the salted caramel theme.
There were some flaws in the Browned Butter Walnut pies but the flavor was stunning.
Want to know how good it was?
This is Cabinet Lady picking the bits on the counter as she's going out the door.
Thanks friends for a great time. Hope everyone else had a great time to and remembered just how wonderful we have it here.