Re-Post: Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy and Brioche and Sausage Dressing

My husband suggested I repost the recipes that I made for Thanksgiving last year. This post has had a major spike in popularity 🙂 This is the turkey we’re having this year – it’s so worth the effort and ingredient list! I’m also making the brioche and sausage dressing because it was amazing, and again well worth the effort and wait. I hope you all have a Thanksgiving full of family, friends and great food! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy – adapted from Anne Burrell

Brine –

  • 7 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 1/2 equatorially
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey

Herb Crust –

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt

Gravy –

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock, divided
  • 2 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Special equipment: butcher’s twine

To brine the turkey: Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare the turkey for cooking: Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the bitter on the outside of the skin as well. Tie the legs together over the breast so they will protect it during cooking and help keep it moist and juicy.

Gravy preparation: Put the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! Yes, that’s right, uncovered. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading. When the turkey has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.

Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Cook’s Note: Don’t fight over the drumsticks.

Give thanks for such a great turkey!!!

*Basic Brioche – The Bread Bible

Dough Starter –

  • 2 TBSP room temperature water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

*Make the starter one to two days ahead. In a mixing bowl, add ingredients and mix until very smooth. Cover with plastic wrap.

Flour Mixture –

  • 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 TBSP room temperature butter

1. Combine first four ingredients and pour on top of the starter, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Using a standing mixer, add eggs and mix on low speed for about a minute until evenly moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled rubber scraper, then continue beating for five minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It wont pull away from the bowl completely.

3. Add the butter one TBSP at a time until all incorporated. The dough will be soft and sticky. Lightly oil top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Chill – refrigerate for one hour, then gently deflate with rubber spatula, then return it to the refrigerator for another hour.

5. Deflate/Chill – turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Press or roll into a rectangle, flour as needed. Give the dough a business letter turn, brushing off excess flour. Rotate 90 degrees so the closed side faces left. Make a second business turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap loosely but securely with plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate of at least six hours and up to two days.

6.  Shape/Rise – remove from fridge and gently press down to deflate. Roll/press into a 7 1/2″ by 5″ wide rectangle. Roll down from top in three turns, being sure to brush off the excess flour. Place seam side down in a prepared 8×4 inch loaf pan pressing down firmly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack on the lowest position of the oven and place a baking stone or a baking sheet on the rack.

8. Glaze/Slash/Bake – glaze the top of the loaf with a mixture of one egg yolk and a splash of cream or milk. Slash the top of the loaf 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep lengthwise down the loaf, making sure to leave 1″ at each end. Set on hot stone and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

9. Cool – un-mold loaf to cool on a wire rack at least two hours before cutting.

*Sausage Brioche Dressing – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 brioche loaf, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • 4 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cross cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the brioche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and break it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer it to the bowl with the brioche. Add the celery to the sausage drippingsand cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the sausage into the brioche bowl. Stir in the stock and sage and mix until the brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Big ‘ol Breakfast

What started off as an idea to make buttermilk pancakes became so much more. Once I decided to have the SIL over for breakfast, I thought fried apples would be a good addition to the pancakes, but that still might not be enough food for us all. Then I thought “what else goes well with pancakes?” That question led me to think of my favorite side dish at Cracker Barrel, (which costs a ridiculous $2.59 for a dinky serving – seriously, the plate is the size of a saucer) the super yummy-not-so-good-for-you hash brown casserole! I did a naughty thing by adding some leftover bacon to the mix of ingredients, but I did leave out lots of the butter that the recipe called for. Also instead of cheddar cheese, I added a full 8 ounces of Colby Monterey Jack cheese. I did M a favor by sautĂ©ing the onions until they were soft and translucent – he really doesn’t like the strong flavor. In addition to these tasty vittles, M requested biscuits and sausage gravy! Who does he think I am?;o) The night before I browned the breakfast sausage, made the buttermilk biscuits and readied the casserole for the oven. In the AM, all I have to do is cook the apples, make the gravy, put the casserole in the oven and cook some scrambled eggs! Whew!

Wow – this breakfast was delish! The casserole was the bomb – sorry to use such a stupid word to describe it but I couldn’t think of a better one!;o) I will make this again and everyone will love me for it! The biscuits and sausage gravy came out really well – so much better than Cracker Barrel’s salty mess they call gravy…and the baked scrambled eggs weren’t bad either. Baking them created a light and fluffy finished product and it was so much easier than cooking 10 eggs on the stove. This is the largest breakfast I have ever taken on, but it was so much easier because I planned ahead and didn’t have to make all these in the morning. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

*Cracker Barrel’s Hashbrown Casserole – adapted from Tablespoon

  • 2 pounds frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (*I used around a TBSP total, maybe two)
  • 1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pint sour cream (I used about 1/3 cup less)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I softened these in a couple tsp of butter)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (*I used Colby Monterey Jack)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease one 13×9 inch baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients together and pour into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

*Sausage Gravy – adapted from Taste and Tell

  • 1 – 16 oz. tube of pork sausage
  • Additional fat if needed: bacon grease or butter
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste – don’t skimp!


Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet or large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and break it up into bite size chunks, but don’t break it up too much, you want nice cocoa puff sized chunks. Brown the sausage and get some fond on your pan.

Turn the heat down to medium. Remove the sausage and drain, reserving the fat. Return about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the rendered sausage fat into the pan. If you don’t have enough fat, add a little bacon grease or butter to bring it up. Add the flour and cook while whisking until the roux is golden brown. Keep stirring and slowly pour in your milk, making sure to whisk out all the lumps. If it looks too thin, don’t worry, it’ll thicken once it simmers. If you like your gravy super thick, use less milk (2 or 2 1/2 cups). Once you added all the milk, return the sausage back to the skillet, add herbs if you want to get fancy, and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Simmer the gravy until it’s thickened and serve it over your split biscuits.

*Oven Baked Scrambled Eggs – adapted from One Perfect Bite

Ingredients for 6 or 12:

  • 3 to 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 to 24 large eggs
  • 1 to 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 to 2 cups milk

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11-inch glass pan with cooking spray if using 12 eggs. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass pan if using 24 eggs. Pour butter into baking dish.
2) Beat eggs, salt sour cream and milk in a large bowl. When completely blended, pour egg mixture into pan.
3) Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir well, folding sides and bottom toward center and top of pan. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set but still soft. Fluff with fork to form curds. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 to 12 servings.

*Fried Apples – adapted from La Fuji Mama

  • 2 medium apples ( I used three small Fuji apples)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used a little less)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

1. Peel and core the apples and then slice them into 1/4-inch wedges.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When the butter has fully melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and then quickly place the apple slices in a single layer on top of the brown sugar.  With a wooden spoon, stir the apples to coat them in the butter and brown sugar.  Continue to stir the apples.  When the butter and brown sugar have formed a syrup, sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the ingredients in the pan and stir to incorporate.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the apples until they are fork tender and the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly.  Remove the skillet from the heat and let the apples cool for several minutes.  Serve alone, or as a topping for ice cream.