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    Alsatian Brined Roast Turkey

    Alsatian cuisine is known for its use of the fabulous wines produced by that region. This is a savory recipe using Riesling wine for the brine as well as incorporating it in the accompanying gravy.

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    Alsatian-Brined Turkey with Riesling Gravy


    • 5 quarts plus 2 cups cold water
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
    • 1/4 cup dried chopped onion
    • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
    • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
    • 2 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed
    • 6 bay leaves
    • One 18-pound turkey, neck and giblets reserved for another use
    • 2 1/2 cups Riesling
    • 1 large onion, quartered
    • 1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
    • Freshly ground black pepper


    1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add in 1 1/4 cups of salt, sugar, mustard seeds, onion, caraway seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries, and bay leaves, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and let cool until warm, but not hot.

    2. Use 2 large, sturdy plastic bags to line a large stockpot or bucket. Place the turkey inside, neck end first, then pour the warm brine over the turkey. Add 1 1/2 cups Riesling and 4 quarts cold water so that the turkey is completely submerged. Seal the bag, being sure to press out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 2 days.

    3. To cook: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Drain the turkey, scraping off any spices that are clinging to it, and transfer to a large roasting pan. Discard the brine.

    4. To the pan, add the quartered onion, garlic, and 1 cup of water. Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 hours. Add the remaining cup of water to the pan and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey’s thigh reads 165 degrees F, about another 1 1/2 hours. You may need to loosely cover the breast with aluminum foil in the last hour of cooking to prevent excessive browning.

    5. Once done, transfer the turkey to a cutting board to rest. Strain the pan juices and skim off any accumulated fat, reserving about 3 tablespoons of said fat.

    6. In a bowl, mix together the reserved fat and flour to form a paste. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners and heat until it sizzles. Add 1 cup Riesling and simmer over medium high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Strain the wine into a medium saucepan and simmer until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes.

    7. Add the stock and reserved pan juices and bring to a boil. Whisk in the flour paste, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.8. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

    Serves 12.
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    Last edited by threeovens; 04-02-2013 at 05:23 PM. Reason: formatting
    We may live without poetry, music and art; We may live without conscience, and live without heart; We may live without friends; we may live without books, But civilized man cannot live without cooks.

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