2 cups kosher salt or 1 cup table salt
1 cup sugar
1 turkey (12 to 14 pounds gross weight), rinsed thoroughly; giblets, neck, and tailpiece removed and reserved for gravy (recipe follows), and turkey butterflied
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
12 cups cornbread broken into 1-inch pieces (include crumbs), or 18 cups 1-inch challah or Italian bread cubes (from about 1 1/2 loaves)
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
12 ounces bulk pork sausage, broken into
3 medium onions, chopped fine (about 3 cups)
3 celery ribs, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1. TO BRINE THE TURKEY: Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 gallons cold water in large stockpot or clean bucket. Add turkey and refrigerate or set in very cool spot (not more than 40 degrees) for 8 hours.
2. FOR THE DRESSING: While turkey brines, adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and second rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread in even layers on two rimmed baking sheets and dry in oven 40 to 50 minutes for challah or Italian bread or 50 to 60 minutes for cornbread.
3. Place bread in large bowl. Whisk together stock, half-and-half, and eggs in medium bowl; pour over bread and toss gently to coat so bread does not break into smaller pieces. Set aside.
4. Heat heavy-bottomed, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage loses its raw color, 5 to 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to medium bowl. Add about half of onions and celery to fat in skillet; sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to bowl with sausage. Return skillet to heat and add 2 tablespoons butter; when foam subsides, add remaining celery and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add salt and pepper. Add this mixture along with sausage and onion mixture to bread and stir gently to combine, trying not to break bread into smaller pieces.
5. Spray disposable, aluminum, 12- by 16-inch roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dressing to roasting pan and spread in even layer. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate until needed.
6. TO PREPARE TURKEY FOR ROASTING: Set slotted broiler pan top on top of roasting pan with foil-covered dressing and spray with nonstick cooking spray; set roasting pan on baking sheet to support bottom. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cool running water. Position turkey on broiler pan top; thoroughly pat surface of turkey dry with paper towels. Refrigerate turkey and dressing, uncovered, 8 to 24 hours.
7. TO ROAST TURKEY WITH DRESSING: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove broiler pan top with turkey and foil cover over roasting pan; replace broiler pan top with turkey. Brush turkey with melted butter. Place entire assembly with turkey in oven and roast until turkey skin is crisp and deep brown and instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 100 minutes, rotating pan from front to back after 40 minutes.
8. Transfer broiler pan top with turkey to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper middle position, place roasting pan with dressing back in oven, and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool dressing 5 minutes, then spoon into bowl or onto turkey serving platter. Carve turkey and serve.
Makes About 1 Quart
To roast the trimmings and vegetables, it's best to use a roasting pan that can sit on the stovetop. If you don't own one, a broiler pan bottom will work; when setting it on the stovetop, however, use medium heat instead of high heat and add only half the amount of chicken broth before scraping up the drippings; add the other half of the chicken broth to the saucepan along with the wine.
Reserved turkey giblets, neck, and backbone, hacked into 2-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small onions, chopped coarse
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth (two 14 1/2-ounce cans)
2 cups dry white wine
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place turkey trimmings, carrot, celery, onions, and garlic in large flameproof roasting pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray and toss to combine. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until well-browned, 40 to 50 minutes.
2. Remove roasting pan from oven, and place over burner(s) set at high heat; add chicken stock and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan with wooden spoon.
3. Transfer contents of roasting pan to large saucepan. Add wine, 3 cups water, and thyme; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain stock into large measuring cup or container. Cool to room temperature; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fat congeals, at least 1 hour.
4. To finish gravy, skim fat from stock using soup spoon; reserve fat. Pour stock through fine-mesh strainer to remove remaining bits of fat; discard bits in strainer. Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan over medium high heat. In second medium saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons reserved turkey fat over medium-high heat until bubbling; whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until combined and honey-colored, about 2 minutes. Continuing to whisk constantly, gradually add hot stock; bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with turkey. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days; reheat in medium saucepan over medium heat until hot, about 8 minutes.)
Source: Editors at America's Test Kitchen