Pear-Thyme Brined Turkey

Thanksgiving weekend! Celebrate the season’s bounty with crowd favourites taken up a notch. A simple white table runner and fresh flowers set the scene beautifully and this tasty menu will guarantee every single guest experiences a post-dinner food coma.

 

 

Let’s start with the Main Course: Pear-Thyme Brined Turkey

 

Ingredients

  • 8 c. pear nectar
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 large fresh sage sprigs
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • ¾ c. Kosher salt
  • ½ c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely ground black peppercorns
  • 6 clove garlic
  • 1 fresh whole turkey
  • 2 turkey-size oven bags
  • 8 c. Ice
  • 3 sweet onions
  • 2 pears
  • Kitchen string
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 c. less-sodium chicken broth
  • Thyme-Pear Gravy

 

Preparation

 

  1. Combine pear nectar, half of thyme sprigs, and next 6 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey and discard. Place a turkey-size oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey, breast side down, inside inner bag. Add pear mixture and ice. Secure and close bags. Chill 18 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from bags, discarding brine, and drain well; pat dry with paper towels. Arrange onions and remaining half of thyme sprigs in a large roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on a lightly greased roasting rack in pan. Place pears inside cavity. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen string; tuck wingtips under. Brush entire turkey with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour broth into roasting pan.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees F for 3 hours and 15 minutes to 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices. Shield with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning in spots, if necessary. Remove from oven, and let stand 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Pour reserved drippings through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl to equal 1 1/2 cups, discarding solids. Prepare Thyme-Pear Gravy, and serve with turkey.

 

For the Thyme-Pear gravy,

  • ¼ c. butter
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. pear nectar
  • 1½ c. reserved turkey drippings

 

 

Serve with mashed potatoes and french green beans with garlicky almond breadcrumbs.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!