I brined the turkey last year, but decided against all the bother this year. Instead, I made a maple butter to stuff under the skin. I must admit, it didn’t work quite as the recipe suggested – it was a bit runny, and needed to be poured under the skin, rather than stuffed. But the turkey got plenty of the butter on top, and basted throughout the cooking. And it did taste pretty delicious.
2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup real maple syrup
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
2 tsp dried marjoram
2 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
3/4 cup butter
Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter or margarine and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate until cold (syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead).
This recipe should be about enough to slather a 14lb or 6 kilo turkey.