PEAR RIESLING TURKEY BRINE (enough for a 20 pound turkey)
1 quart water
1-½ cups commercial turkey brine (Williams Sonoma makes a good one) or homemade brine mix
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
one bunch of thyme
one bunch sage
one bottle dry riesling
one bottle Martinelli’s sparkling apple pear cider
one 33.8 fluid ounce container Ceres pear juice
2 or more cups ice water (enough to submerge the bird)
1 turkey, 18 to 20 pounds
- Make the brine: Bring 1 quart water to boil with the commercial or home-made turkey brine mix. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until brine dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely to room temperature, then chill overnight.
- Brine the turkey: In a large pot, add the onion, garlic, sage and thyme to the brine mixture. Add the riesling, cider, pear juice and ice water if necessary.
- Rinse the turkey under cold running water, remove the heart, neck, gizzard and liver from both cavities, and place turkey, breast down, in a large brining bag (heavy duty ones are available from Williams Sonoma and other kitchen stores). Put the bag inside a 5 gallon container (or, better still, a cooler), carefully pour in the brine and seal bag. Weigh turkey down with a plate if it is not submerged. Refrigerate (or leave in the cooler) for 24 to 36 hours.