Thanksgiving is a very special time for my family. Many years ago, our parents landed in America as immigrants, seeking freedom and hoping for better lives. Leaving behind everything that they had, and starting a new life wasn’t easy. One of the challenging changes, of course, was language barrier, that prevented them from getting good jobs, and everything had to be started from ground zero. Today, we live in this country, growing our own families, and very thankful for the opportunities, for the freedom, for everything that our parents worked and sacrificed for.
Leaving in Ukraine, we didn’t have a “Turkey Tradition”. Now, I’m always looking forward to roasting my own turkey, and gather with my family to celebrate beautiful season. And of course, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to roast the turkey, I made it last week for my daughter’s birthday, and it was a beautiful centerpiece, and a “hero” of our table.
My friend shared this recipe with me couple of years ago, and it became our family’s favorite. I tell you, the turkey turns out very flavorful, juicy, tender, and simply irresistible. Its a big hit in my family. A perfect tradition to keep! This recipe requires a little bit of planning ahead. But trust me, its so worth it. You’ll be very happy with results, as this fool-proof recipe guarantees success.
- 10-12 pounds turkey
- 2 gallons water or broth (I used half water, half broth)
- 1 cup salt for brine + more to season turkey
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 4 springs thyme
- 4 springs rosemary
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- vegetables of your choice (onion, carrots, celery, orange) to stuff turkey
You’ll also need:
- 1 oven bag
- meat thermometer
Rinse the turkey inside out. Take out the giblets. Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of water/broth. Add oranges, lemons, thyme, rosemary. Soak the Turkey in this brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
I usually make my own broth for the brine. You can buy it, of course, but homemade is much better! To make your own broth, cook turkey giblets, and vegetables of your choice for 45 minutes. I used onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves.
Remove turkey from brine. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Stuff turkey with onion, orange, celery, carrot, and rosemary (optional). Tie the drumsticks. Place an oven bag in pan at least 2 inches deep. Place the turkey into an oven bag. Cut few 1/2-inch slits in top of bag to allow steam to escape. Place pan in oven on the medium rack, allowing room for bag to expand during cooking without touching heating elements, walls or racks.
Bake for three hours. Carefully, cut open top of oven bag. Brush on some olive oil. Sprinkle some sea salt or garlic salt all over turkey. Bake for one more hour or until your meat thermometer registers 175 degrees. Make sure to save turkey drippings to make a gravy.
Let you turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!