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Tilia's Thanksgiving Feast - Day 5: Herb-Brined Turkey, Rice Stuffing, and Spiced Cranberry Sauce

On to the main course! We have three recipes today for you because no turkey is complete without a delicious stuffing and of course, cranberry sauce!

Tilia’s Herb-Brined Turkey

Brining a turkey is a foolproof way to ensure juicy white meat and completely cooked dark meat and it makes the turkey taste delicious. It is a bit more work than preparing a regular turkey but it is definitely worth the effort.

Tips before you start: You may need to double all amounts for the brine ingredients if you’re cooking a large turkey, 18 pounds/8 kilograms or more, depending on your brining container.

You need a container large enough to hold the turkey completely submerged (check beforehand), but if your vessel is too big, you may need to make more brine to submerge the turkey.

When planning this meal, be sure to allow enough time to let the turkey rest after brining, at least for a few hours and optimally up to a day.

The skin of brined turkey, with the sugar in the brine, can sometimes crisp quickly as the bird cooks and can become too dark; if you see this happening, place a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the bird to deflect the direct heat.

Brining times: A 10 to 15-pound/4- to 7-kilogram turkey: 24 hours. A turkey over 15 pounds/7 kilograms: 24 to 36 hours


1 gallon/4 litres water

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoon Tilia’s Turkey Baste Spice Blend

2 Tilia’s organic bay leaves

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

1 onion, sliced

1 Tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed

2 lemons, halved

10- 15lb. turkey, thawed

For Basting: herb butter – 1/3 cup butter, softened and 2 teaspoons Tilia’s Turkey Spice Blend

Directions: Combine all the brine ingredients in a pot large enough to hold the turkey; give the lemon halves a good squeeze as you add them. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the brine until it’s chilled. Add the turkey to the brine. Weigh it down with a plate or other object to keep it completely submerged and place in the refrigerator for the appropriate time. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well, and pat dry.

Make the herb butter: In a small bowl, combine the butter and 2 tsp. Turkey Spice blend. Using your fingers, carefully work your way under the skin of the turkey to separate it from the breasts and legs. Massage the butter under the skin, then all over the bird. Tie the turkey legs together with twine to keep the bird nice and compact for even cooking. Let rest uncovered in the refrigerator for 3 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Roast the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (the cavity juices will be clear when it’s done). Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Rice & Fruit Stuffing

This yummy dish is an amazing gluten-free twist on stuffing and is chocked full of interesting tastes and textures. We think you will agree that it is a perfect accompaniment for your turkey.


1 cup basmati

¾ cup wild rice

2oz (about 1/3 cup) soft dried cherries, halved

12 soft dried apricots, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

2 large onions, diced

1 celery heart, sliced

1 Tablespoons Tilia’s organic dried lemon thyme

1 Tablespoons Tilia’s organic dried sage

¼ tsp. salt

400ml (14fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock

200g spinach leaves, washed

2 eggs, beaten (optional, if cooking separately from turkey)

Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions: Boil the rice, cherries, and apricots in a large pot with 4 cups water until al dente. You want some bite to it as it will cook further in the oven. There will still be some water that has not absorbed at this point so drain and then place the rice mixture in a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the butter in a large pan. Add the onions, celery, lemon thyme, sage and salt. Sauté until soft. Add to the rice mixture, with the stock, spinach and, if using, beaten egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into lightly buttered baking dish, cover with foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Alternatively, this can be stuffed in the neck of the turkey and cooked with it.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Another twist for you, this time with the addition of our mulling spices and orange to make a fabulous cranberry sauce that will gain you raves at your Thanksgiving dinner.


1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries

1-3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tsp. finely grated fresh orange peel

1 Tbsp. Tilia’s Mulling Spice Blend

Directions: Place the Mulling Spice into a muslin cooking bag or tie into a piece of cheesecloth. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients including the spice bag. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until the berries pop and mixture is thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the spice bag from mixture. Cool. Transfer to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled.

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