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Herb Brined Roast Turkey with Sweet Potato Pork Belly Stuffing

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This holiday season we’ve partnered with some of our favorite bloggers who will be showing you new and inspirational ways to bring the holidays home.

Making the turkey for this year’s Thanksgiving? Never fear. We’ve partnered with Eva Kosmas Flores, founder of Adventures in Cooking, to create a recipe for turkey and stuffing that friends and family will be asking about for years to come.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by bringing friends and family together to partake in the perfect roast turkey. This recipe involved brining the bird, which I know can seem intimidating, but it is actually very simple. My tip is to set it in a roasting pan during the process, which will make it much easier to get the big, liquid-filled turkey bag in and out of the refrigerator as it rests in the brine overnight.

Why would you even go through the bother of brining the turkey? Well, the saltwater solution helps break down some of the muscle tissue, resulting in a much more tender bird, especially in the breast meat. The residual salt that soaks in also helps the bird lose less water as it cooks, making for really moist turkey.

Brining will not make your bird salty, as you rinse off the brine once you’re ready to prepare the bird the next morning. All that remains is what has seeped into the bird overnight, which serves to flavor it and keep the meat moist. It is a small amount of effort for a majestic meal, and I highly recommend giving it a go this holiday season!

Herb Brined Roast Turkey with Sweet Potato Pork Belly Stuffing

Sweet Potato Pork Belly Stuffing Recipe

  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried savory leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 16 cups stale bread cut into roughly 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound pork belly, diced
  • 3 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped celery

Herb Brined Roast Turkey Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1 large turkey, innards removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 pear, quartered

Directions
Begin by brining the turkey. Place the turkey in a brining or turkey-sized oven bag and set in a roasting pan. Fill the bag with a brining solution that contains one cup of salt and one tablespoon of dried thyme leaves for every gallon of water. Make sure the bird is completely submerged in the brining solution, tie the bag securely and place it in the refrigerator to soak overnight.

The next day, begin preparing the stuffing. Whisk together the stock, butter, rosemary, thyme, sage, savory leaves and salt. In a large bowl, toss together the bread crumbs, sweet potatoes, pork belly, onion, pears and celery. Add the stock mixture and toss until combined. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the turkey, remove it from the brining bag and rinse it thoroughly. Pat it dry with paper towels and sit it aside. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, rosemary, thyme and sage. On a clean flat working surface, coat the turkey with the olive oil and then the spice mixture inside and out. Get the mixture underneath the skin of the breast as well, but take care not to tear the skin.

Spread the chopped onions out on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the turkey on the bed of onions, laying on its back so the breast is facing up. Stuff the turkey with the stuffing and truss the legs. Arrange the quartered pear and sweet potatoes around the bird in the pan. Place any remaining stuffing in an oven-safe casserole dish and cover and refrigerate it.

Place the bird in the oven and roast at 425 for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue roasting until the bird turns the perfect shade of golden brown, basting it every 30 minutes, and turning the pan when you baste it to ensure the bird cooks evenly.

Once the skin is appropriately browned, remove it from the oven and tent the entire pan in tin foil, making sure it is completely covered but that no tin foil is touching the skin of the bird (otherwise the skin will cook onto the tin foil and rip off when you remove the foil). Place it back in the oven and continue roasting until the bird reaches 165 degrees in the stuffing cavity and thigh. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

For the remaining stuffing, roast it in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove and serve immediately.

Want more Thanksgiving recipes? Check out these traditional recipes with a twist by How Sweet It Is.

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