EVERY FAMILY has their own distinctive rituals when it comes to Christmas Day.
Some open the presents at the crack of dawn. Others wait until a little later in the day.
Plenty visit the local pub for a few well-earned drinks.
Others enjoy a glass of bubbly from the comfort of the front room.
One thing that unites most households, however, is the yearly lunch of roast turkey with all the trimmings.
Come rain or shine, sleet or snow, year upon year turkeys will be tucked into come December 25.
But every now and then, it can pay dividends to spice things up a bit.
That's where this recipe, from Food and Wine, which offers a distinctly Irish twist on the festive favourite.
Here's everything you need to enjoy a merry Christmas in the company of a succulent Roasted Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon.
What you will need:
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 8 bay leaves
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 onions, cut into thick wedges
- 1 pound slab bacon, skin removed and meat sliced 1/3 inch thick
- Four large cans of Guinness stout
- One 12- to 14-pound turkey
- 1 cup turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
How to make it:
- In a very large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from the heat. Add 4 cups of water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved; let cool completely.
- Add the onions, bacon, Guinness and 16 cups of cold water to the pot. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and top with a heavy lid to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack on the bottom shelf. Lift the turkey from the brine, pick off any peppercorns, mustard seeds and bay leaves and pat dr
- Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup of water. Using toothpicks, secure the bacon slices over the breast. Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, turning the pan occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted deep into the turkey thighs registers 150°.
- Remove the bacon and return the turkey to the oven. Roast for about 1 hour longer, until the breast is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 170°. Transfer the turkey to a carving board.
- Pour the pan juices and onion wedges into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey stock and return to a boil. In a small bowl, mash the butter to a paste with the flour. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the bacon crosswise 1/2 inch thick. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes.
- Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and bacon.