Turkey with a Brown-Sugar Glaze

 Turkey with Brown Sugar Glaze

My mom is coming up from Florida for a visit and it happens to be Easter weekend. I love cooking for holidays but I’m just not sure what to make for Easter. I know what you are going to say, you’re going to say “But you make ham for Easter!” This is true but we didn’t have turkey on Thanksgiving since we had just brought Autumn home Monday night and none of us were going to whip up a turkey just a few days later. (Side note: our super sweet Chilean neighbor brought us over some food- shrimp cocktail, roasted pork, and rice.)

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So I’ve had turkey on the brain every since.

We did do an early Thanksgiving which was awesome but I’ve been thinking about making a turkey recently. It’s probably because I’ve been enjoying the work week more when I have dinner prepped or pre made so we are just assembling or reheating it. A big turkey cooked up on a Sunday would give us plenty of leftovers for lunches and dinners for a few days.

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The turkey is really moist as the skin locks in the moisture. Plus the vegetbale and the liquid in the bottom of the pan also helps keep the turkey from drying out. Can’t have a dry turkey! That’s the worst.

I always use a turkey with a built in termometer as I’ve had issues with the doneness in the past. When I’ve cooked turkeys without a built in thermometer I’ve under cooked them in the past when I’ve just stuck a thermometer in the thigh, received the reading of 165 degrees, took it out of hte oven and when I’ve carved it up later I’ve discovered a pink bird. So, do what works for you.Feel free to use both thermoters… why not!?!

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The brown sugar glaze is easy to prepare and it gives such a lovely flavor to the turkey. But the best is that it makes the skin sticky and crisp. So when you sneak a piece of skin before you serve it you have to lick your fingers clean of any delicious evidence!

As well the gravy is unlike any other gravy I’ve had before. The gravy is made with the drippings from the pan, leftover graze, and hard cider. The cider really does give it a lot of apple-y flavor but I liked that with the sweetness of the glaze but using stock would be just fine as well.

So give turkey a chance for Easter, or any lovely Sunday dinner. If not, the nmake it for Thanksgiving and your family will thank you. They will so so excited that you tried this Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey. I swear!

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Turkey with a Brown-Sugar Glaze

Serves 10-12


For the Turkey

  • 12-15 pound turkey, brought to room temperature
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 orange
  • herb bundle containing rosemary, thyme, sage
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup of orange juice mixed with 1 cup of hard cider or stock

For the Glaze

  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

For the Gravy

  • drippings from the pan
  • 2-3 tablespoon flour
  • any remaining leftover glaze
  • 1-2 cups of hard cider or stock
  • sage leaves


  1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the turkey in a roasting pan with a rack. Tuck wing tips underneath the body of turkey. Stuff the tukey with the carrots, celery, onion, orange, and herbs.
  3. Carefully seperate the skin of the turkey from the breast and place pieces of butter between the breast and skin of the turkey. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the orange juice mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Roast the turkey for for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn down the oven to 350 and let continue to cook for another 45 minutes before rotating for another 45 minutes.
  7. While the turkey is cooking, make the glaze by combining the vinegar, brown sugar, and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and orange zest.
  8. Brush the skin of the turkey with the glaze after it has been roasting for an hour and 30 minutes at 350. Brush and rotate the bird every 15 minutes until it has completed cooking, when the temperature ofin the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees.
  9. Remove from oven and tent with alumnium foil for at least 30 minutes before carving.

To make the gravy

  1. Remove the drippings from the pan. (I suggest using a baster to do this task)
  2. Let the drippings sit for a few minutes so that fat seperates and you can remove some of it.
  3. In a large skillet pour about a 1/4 cup of the drippings into the pan and add the flour to a paste. Slowly mix in the rest of the drippings with some whole sage leaves.
  4. Once that is all comined mix any remaining glaze. Then add the cider until you have reached the amount of gravy you would like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the carved turkey with the gravy and enjoy!

Inspired by Martha Stewart


Pilgrim Sandwiches

When I go to Brimfield antiques fair in the summer I always get lunch at a vendor that makes Pilgrim Sandwiches. There pretty much always is a long line but they keep things moving quickly. The wait is worth it. Trust me. The sandwich is so good. How can you pass up fresh turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and mayo on a roll?!?! After getting up early, driving over an hour and walking around all morning discovering different things for the house I’m so ready for this sandwich.

Now that you are completely overwhelmed with Thanksgiving and the related leftovers you can make your own Pilgrim Sandwiches at home. Just reheat some turkey and stuffing and you are already half way there. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3!

Pilgrim Sandwiches


  • roll
  • turkey
  • mayonnaise
  • stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • string beans, optional


  1. Reheat the turkey and stuffing.
  2. Split your roll lengthwise.
  3. Apply mayonnaise generously to the roll. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the warmed turkey and stuffing to the roll. Add string beans.
  5. Top off with cranberry sauce.

Porcupine Meatballs

I had a craving for porcupine meatballs on Wednesday night. Luckily, my dad wrote down this recipe along with other family ones a few years ago that I turn to every now and then. There are only 6 ingredients, including water, so I went to the grocery store on my way home from class and grabbed the 3 that I needed.

Porcupine Meatballs is a simple meal made of meatball filled with rice- making it spiky- and served with gravy over noodles. Simply put it’s an  inexpensive meal and easy to make. Plus there is a good chance you already have most of the ingredients in your cabinets like me. You can do this with beef but we try to keep it lean so we use turkey. If you use beef then adjust the gravy and rice-a-roni to match the beef flavor. This is so comforting because it is warm and filling- a real autumn/winter food. I made large meatballs to get cooking faster (too tired after a 3 hour class) but you really should make smaller meatballs. This allows the meatballs to cook faster and the rice cooks better when they are smaller.

Porcupine Meatballs

1 lb of ground turkey
1 box of rice-a-roni (I used chicken flavor)
1 egg
2 cups of water
1 lb of wide egg noodles
1 family size jar of turkey gravy

Start water on high heat to cook egg noodles until al dente.

Combine the ground turkey, rice-a-roni (including seasoning packet), and egg. Form into small meatballs (1 1/2 dia).

Brown meatballs in a skillet with oil. (You can drain off oil/fat, if you prefer). If the skillet gets too busy with the meatballs you can remove some to get enough room to brown all of them. Once all meatballs are browned, reduce heat to med/low and add 2 cups of water. Cook for 20 minutes. If the water begins to reduce too much, add a bit. When the meatballs have i a few minutes left add in the gravy.

Serve the meatballs with the egg noodles. Enjoy 🙂