Thanksgiving is almost here: How’s your menu planning and wine shopping shaping up?
The perennial staff favorite red wine for Thanksgiving is Kudos Willamette Valley pinot noir, and you can’t go wrong with this white wine for Thanksgiving, Albrecht “Tradition” pinot gris. Each offers a balance of fruit flavors enhanced with spice and herb aromas to deftly complement the holiday table’s traditional flavors.
Our friends at Wine Spectator Magazine have a fantastic recipe for a brined, stuffed and roasted turkey that’s both classic and delicious. In addition to these red and white wine Thanksgiving favorites, we have a bevvy of other white, red, sparkling and dessert wine picks to perfect your turkey and wine pairing.
Brining the holiday bird came into vogue in the past 10 years; far from a passing trend, it’s a tried-and-true method for a moist, juicy and flavorful turkey. The hardest part is finding enough refrigerator space for a 5-gallon container the night before Thanksgiving.
Brined, stuffed and roasted turkey
For the brine:
• 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
• 3 cups dark brown sugar
• 2 cups honey
• 1/2 bunch parsley (about 20 sprigs)
• 1/2 bunch thyme (about 20 sprigs)
• 1/2 bunch sage (about 10 sprigs)
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 lemons, cut in half
• 2 1/2 gallons boiling water
• 1 14-pound turkey
Combine all ingredients except the boiling water in a 5-gallon, heat-proof container that is large enough to hold the turkey. Pour the boiling water over the brine ingredients and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Submerge the turkey in the brine, cover and refrigerate overnight.
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
2. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with cold water. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, lightly spoon the stuffing into both cavities, tie the legs together to hold in the stuffing, and brush the skin with the butter.
3. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 3 hours, turning once or twice during the cooking process to ensure even cooking. Serves 8 to 10.
For the stuffing:
• 8 tablespoons butter
• 4 cups peeled and chopped onion (about 3 medium onions)
• 2 1/2 cups chopped celery (about 6 ribs)
• 2 pounds good-quality sliced white sandwich bread
• 1 3/4 cups homemade chicken broth (or 1 14-ounce can)
• 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, or 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Increase the heat to high and add the onion. Sauté about 10 minutes, stirring periodically, until onions just start to turn brown. Lower the heat, if needed, to prevent burning. Scrape the onions into a large mixing bowl. Put another 2 tablespoons of the butter in the pan, add the celery and cook, stirring periodically, until it just starts to turn brown. Add to the onions.
2. Meanwhile, put the chicken broth in a small bowl. Lightly dip slices of bread into the broth. Squeeze out the excess moisture, then crumble the bread into the large mixing bowl with the cooked celery and onion. Season with the sage, parsley, salt and pepper, and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. Place the pan used for cooking the celery and onions back over medium-high heat. Add half of the remaining butter. When the butter stops sizzling, add half of the stuffing. Cook, turning every few minutes with a spatula, until the bread stuffing is lightly toasted. Lower the heat if needed to prevent burning. Remove to a bowl, and then repeat with the second batch. Allow stuffing to cool.