A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting.
- 8 cups (2L) water
- 1 cup (240ml) kosher salt
- 1 cup (240ml) sugar
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5ml) black peppercorns
- 4 cups (1L) apple cider
- 1 (750-ml) bottle white wine
- 1 (12 to 14 pound/5 to 6kg) turkey, neck and giblets removed
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered
- 1/2 lemon, halved
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 bunch sage
- 8 tablespoons (110g) unsalted butter, melted
Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing:
- 12 ounces (340g) pitted dried California plums, about 20, halved
- 1/2 cup (120ml) dry white wine
- 1 (1-pound/450g) loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces
- 1/4 cup (60g) plus 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
- 12 ounces (340g) Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 8 green Swiss chard leaves, about 12 ounces (340g), ends trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (240ml) chicken stock
Brine and air-dry the turkey:
Bring the water, salt, sugar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns to boil in a large pot, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat, add the cider and wine, and cool to room temperature. Place the turkey, breast-side up in a large container. Pour the brine over the turkey, adding more cold water, as needed, to cover. Refrigerate the turkey for 24 hours, turning the turkey once or twice in the brine.
Remove the turkey from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours or overnight to allow the skin to thoroughly dry out. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.
Roast the turkey:
Heat the oven to 350°F (180°F).
Loosely stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, lemon, thyme, and sage. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey in the oven, about 15 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey with the melted butter at first, and then the pan juices every 20 to 30 minutes. If the breast browns before the turkey is fully cooked, loosely cover with foil.
Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Serve with Swiss Chard Stuffing (see below).
Swiss Chard Stuffing:
Combine the pitted dried plums and wine in a small bowl. Let stand while you prepare the stuffing.
Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23cm) baking dish.
Toss the bread with 1/4 cup (60ml) oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven until light golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool.
Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Heat the 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Do not discard the fat from the skillet.
To the same skillet, add the apples and onion and sauté over medium heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chard and cook until the leaves wilt, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the dried plums and wine, the butter, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add to the sausage, then add the bread and chicken stock; stir to thoroughly combine.
Pour the dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until brown and crisp on top, about 30 more minutes.