Friday, November 26, 2010

More Stuffed Than the Turkey!

First, for those who haven't heard much/anything about brining--brining is like a marinade. Some marinades add flavor and some tenderize or condition the meat in some way. Brining is a process that does both but is mainly used to make the meat more juicy. And it's popular because turkeys cook for a long time and have a tendency to dry out. But don't ask me how brining works because I'm not sure. Magic. I bet Alton Brown could tell you--email him and ask.

Brining uses liquid and salt and, quite often, sugar as well. Aside from those main ingredients, different flavors can be added, but it's the salt and liquid that hold in the juices when the meat is cooked. So I used water, salt, sugar, chicken broth, soy sauce, rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves, and thyme. And ice.

Seriously, I didn't notice much difference in the turkey either as to moisture or flavor. The soy sauce made it darker, though, and it cooked to a beautiful brown, so visually, it was quite nice. Usually my turkeys are moist and this one was too. I read that brining will make a turkey cook quicker, and there was a little part of the turkey underneath and to the back that wasn't quite submerged in the brine, and that part didn't really cook quite as well, but when we sliced the turkey and saw that little area wasn't quite cooked, we put slices in the microwave for less than a minute to finish the cooking and it turned out fine.

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to throw together a few appetizers, and I did--I had decided to only use whatever I had in the house rather than plan and buy more food, and that turned out well. We had deviled eggs, pimento cheese stuffed celery (haven't had that since I was a kid!), little smokies wrapped in small triangles of crescent roll dough, clam dip and crackers, and green olives. Plenty to eat! And THEN there were the main dishes. ARGH!

We ate at 1 p.m. so Soccer Son and His Lovely Wife-to-be-Someday could go on to her mom's house for a later Thanksgiving meal and the Wild Child went to a boyfriend's parents' house out of town for dessert and to spend the night. That, of course, meant Hubby and I had the perfect opportunity for a late afternoon Thanksgiving nap!

The Drooling Dog has had his share of table scraps and Spike and Stitch had their dry cat food spiked with clam juice, so everyone has eaten well today.

Now Hubby and I are both nibbling on the leftovers and thinking about the pumpkin pie that awaits, as yet untouched. Uh oh, I think I can hear him up and moving about the kitchen, so I'd better get off the computer and make sure he hasn't gotten into that pie without me.


julieQ said...

So glad you had a wonderful time...lots of goodies left at your house, it sounds like! I remember that celery...and the little jars of pimento cheese!

Denise in PA said...

Sounds delicious Kim! So, will you brine again???

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like you had a wonderful feast!

Micki said...

Sounds like you had a great feast!

Sherrill said...

I've brined mine a couple of times (using Emeril's brine recipe) and absolutely LOVED the moist result! I also used the cooking bags which help to stave off any possible dryness. This year, though, my niece smoked a turkey and it was YUMMY!