Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thou Shalt Brine or Not

Ah, to brine or not to brine, that is the question. For the past five years this question arises. Personally I think brining makes all the difference in a turkey being edible or not. My DH slow roasts our turkeys and they are always tender and moist. In full disclosure here, turkey falls very low on my list of "Choices for my last meal " - just saying. But I digress.

The problem is not the brining per se, It is the details that cause the stir - so to speak. First there are the four recipes we have to "discuss" every year (simply because I forget to discard the three I think are inferior). Then there is the concept of timing (on my part). I often forget that not only does the brine need to simmer for a while but it also needs to cool. So I find myself making the brine, cooking the brine then cooling the brine by pouring the hot liquid from cold pot to cold pot (while my DH impatiently asks when the brine will be ready). 

By the time I finish I have a gallon of luke warm brine and a counter covered with every large cooking vessel I could find - not a pretty site. Naturally I have used all my Calphalon and Le Creuset, none of which go in the dishwasher so I spend the next thirty minutes washing large pots.

Next is the issue of timing. My DH never trusts a brine recipe,  his fear - the turkey will be too salty. I keep reminding him, this is not directions to salt cure a ham. So reluctantly he will tenderly put his 15 pound fresh organic turkey into the bag of brine, all the while muttering about the length of time the directions call for. Let's see an hour per pound, 15 hours . . . yes I think we need to do that on Wednesday. 

But the turkey is his deal. I just fix the brine and the rub for the turkey. I want nothing else to do with this palpable piece of poultry. My assignment is the fresh bread, pound cake, collards, and macaroni and cheese. My mac and cheese recipe calls for whole cream, half and half, butter, and three different cheeses, among other ingredients. However this year I have decided to be healthy, I am using whole grain pasta. I doubt anyone will notice that I slipped that one in there.

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