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By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering

We use a tenderizing brine of honey, lemon, herbs, garlic, salt and spices for maximum moisture retention and flavour. 

INGREDIENTS

Organic Tom Turkey (15-lb)

Kosher salt (4 cups, plus more to taste)

Honey (1 cup)

Whole black peppercorn (¼ cup)

Lemons (5, halved)

Bay leaves (2)

Garlic (2 heads, halved and smashed)

Parsley (1 bunch)

Sage (1 bunch)

Thyme (1 bunch)

Clarified butter for brushing (¼ cup)

Carrots (2, quartered)

Small leek (1, halved)

Small yellow onion (1, halved)

Turkey stock (8 cups)

Flour (1 cup)

DIRECTIONS 

For the brine:

1. In a large stockpot, boil salt, honey, lemons, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic heads, parsley, thyme in 8 liters of water.

2. Reserve the neck bones and giblets from the turkey. Let brine cool, add the turkey, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

To roast the turkey:

1. Heat the oven to 425°F.

2. Remove the bird from the brine and pat dry. Brush with clarified butter and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add fresh sage inside the cavity.

4. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a rack.

5. Add the reserved giblets, the neck bone, carrots, leek, garlic and onion to the bottom of the pan.

6. Roast until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

7. Turn the oven down to 275°F and continue cooking until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast reads 165°F (about 2.5 hours).

8. Keep warm and let rest for 40 minutes before carving.

9. Reserve the turkey fat from the pan, return to oven and roast the vegetables until caramelized golden brown. Set pan aside.

To make the gravy:

1. Place pan with giblets, bones and vegetables over medium high heat.

2. Add turkey stock and cook, scraping up bottom bits from the pan. About 10 minutes, then strain the stock.

3. Cook reserved turkey fat and butter in a pot, sprinkle in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock.

4. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until gravy is slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.

Photo credit: Jelger + Tanja Photographers

By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering

INGREDIENTS

Brioche bread (2 loaves, diced into cubes)

Celery (4 stalks, diced)

Small yellow onion (1, diced)

Garlic (4 cloves, chopped)

Fresh sage (½ bunch, chopped)

Fresh thyme (¼ bunch, chopped)

Dried apricots (1 small handful, diced)

Roasted chestnuts (1 cup, chopped)

Toasted pine nuts (¼ cup)

Butter (½ pound)

Reserved turkey fat/drippings

Turkey stock (3 cups)

Whole eggs (4 , whisked together)

Old bay seasoning spice (1 tbsp)

Juice from one orange

Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS 

1. In an oven preheated to 350°F, toast the brioche cubes into golden brown croutons with garlic oil and salt. Set aside.

2. Sauté the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, sage and seasonings together in the reserved turkey dripping and butter.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the croutons, chestnuts, pine nuts, sautéed vegetables, orange juice, turkey stock and eggs. Season with salt and pepper, mix and place into a casserole dish.

4. Cover with tin foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 350°F.

5. Serve with juicy turkey and gravy.

Photo Credit: Jelger + Tanja Photographers