Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brined Turkey with Chipotle Maple Butter Gravy

So maybe you're all turkied out and maybe this isn't the best timing for a "How-To" on Turkey's, but I wanted to get this recipe up here on my blog.  Who knows, maybe one of you will make a Turkey for the other big holiday we have coming up THIS month... Hanukkah.  Oops, I mean Christmas. Either way, it's a recipe worth having!

When I tell you the turkey dipped into the Chipotle Maple Butter Gravy was the best thing I had this Thanksgiving, I'm not kidding.  It was delicious in every way and pretty simple. And usually I'm not even a huge fan of turkey!

First, I believe the key to the perfect turkey is brining.  Every year Dave and I say we are going to create our own brine, and every year we find it easier to just buy it from a store. Yep, cheat when you can people.  Plus, for 12 bucks, you get all the spices you need AND a bag to brine your turkey and liquids in.  Easy Cleanup!  I bet it would cost at least 12 bucks to buy all the spices you need for the brine.
In this brine mix, according to the Crate and Barrel website, you get: 
  • salt, sugar, orange peel, spices, juniper berries, shallots and pink peppercorns

Crate and Barrel Instructions: And all you do is an overnight soak in our own seasonal brining blend transforms the holiday turkey. The requisite salt and sugar base produces the moistest, juiciest meat, while the inspired choice of spices imparts the flavors of orange peel, juniper berries and pink peppercorns. Heavy-duty brining bag included.

There are directions that come with the packaging.  But for the most part you just mix your spices with water or broth over heat.  Once combined, you cool it overnight.  We did this on Tuesday night.
Wednesday morning we removed the giblets bag from our turkey, added the turkey to the brine bag and then added the brine mix.  We put that in a huge cooler and left it on the deck. Then Wednesday morning we were ready to cook!  After taking the turkey out of the brine, rinse and put dry.
Before we cooked the bird, I had to make some flavored butter.  The first butter I made was a Chipotle Maple Butter.  After I made it, I spread some on a piece of bread and fell in love.  But I got worried.  I got worried it may be a bit too advanced for the palettes that were coming to dinner. The recipes below are all adapted from Food Network Magazine- November 2011.


Chipotle Maple Butter
Pulse 2 sticks of softened butter in a food processor with 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce (depends on heat level), 1 garlic clove and a pinch of salt.  Process that up and reserve for the Gravy. You will have lots leftover!

I saved all of it and decided to make a classic herb butter for the actual turkey itself.

Classic Herb Butter
Mix 1 stick of softened butter with parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, teaspoon of pepper, shake of paprika and salt.  Process that up.  Spread it under the turkey skin and on the breasts and legs.  Then rub the rest on top of the skin.

Cooking the Turkey
Put the oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the turkey breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan, tucking the wings under and tying with twine.  Tie the drumstick together as well.  Put tinfoil over and cook for about 15 minutes per pound.  We cooked for about 3 hours with the foil and an hour or so without.  We also added chicken broth to the pan and basted the turkey throughout the cooking process.  Roast until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees.  Then Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a bit before slicing.  

Okay, now let's move on to the gravy.

Classic Turkey Gravy with Chipotle Maple Butter
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 medium onion
1 leek
Neck and Giblets from Turkey (I omitted this because my husband had already throw it biggie)
8 cups Chicken Broth
A Bundle of Aromatics- Sage, Thyme, Parsley
Turkey Drippings from your roasting pan
1/2 cup of flour
salt and pepper
a couple tablespoons of Chipotle Maple Butter
When turkey goes into the oven, start the broth: melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion/leek (and turkey giblets and neck if you have them) and cook until browned about 15 minutes. Add the broth, herb sprigs; cover and simmer while the turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Strain broth and keep warm.
When turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board and pour all the pan drippings into a degreasing cup.  Add 1/2 cup of the prepared broth to the roasting pan and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add bits and liquid to a degreasing cup. (I didn't have a degreasing cup, so I just used a measuring cup... the fat will rise to the top... so after it does that, use your baster to remove the fat). 
Next, make a roux.  I did this in the same pan I had my broth in all day.  I added a bit (maybe 3-5 TB of the chipotle maple butter and flour together until the flour browns slightly.  Then I gradually added the broth back in whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low. 
 Season with salt and pepper and add more butter in if necessary (I think necessary).
Enjoy the best gravy of your life.

You're welcome.

What's the best gravy you've ever made/had?


  1. Chipotle maple butter sounds faaabulous

  2. I never thought to put the turkey in a cooler while it's brining. That must save a ton of fridge space!

  3. I'm brining a turkey for the first time this soon. Every year we do a post-Thanksgiving potluck with friends and I'm doing the turkey this weekend. I'm really hoping it turns out as moist and yummy as I've been reading about.

  4. That sounds delicious. I am a gravy fiend!

  5. It's been literally months since I've done blog reading! Been hard for me to write on my own but now I have the week off and loving catching up.

    So...a much belated CONGRATS on your pregnancy!!!