Brined & Herb Butter-Basted Turkey


Brined & Herb Butter-Basted Turkey
Serves 10 to 12

1 (14- to 15-pound) turkey, giblets discarded, rinsed
1 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
6 whole sprigs fresh thyme
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
2 gallons cool water
4 tablespoons unsalted organic butter
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 cup homemade or good-quality organic chicken stock

Place turkey in a large, deep stockpot or another large, lidded vessel that will hold the turkey snugly. Set aside.

In a large pitcher or saucepan, combine salt, sugar, peppercorns and bay leaves. Lightly crush rosemary and thyme sprigs with your fingers, then add them to the mixture. Add water, and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.

Pour brine over turkey. If needed, add additional brine* until turkey is completely covered. Weigh turkey down if necessary to keep it submerged in liquid. Brine overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning, combine butter, dill, thyme, sage and stock in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until butter is melted. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove turkey from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Dry with several changes of paper towels, and place in a lightly oiled roasting pan.

Roast uncovered for 30 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350°F. Continue roasting turkey for 2 1/2 hours, or until it registers 161°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.

During the last hour of roasting, baste turkey with butter-broth mixture every 15 minutes.

Let turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving.

*If you need more brine, use 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.