The Perfect Turkey

Local chef Keith Sarasin's new cookbook contains 100 recipes for creating the ultimate holiday feast

Local chef Keith Sarasin, founder of The Farmers Dinner, created the consummate guide to Thanksgiving dinner. His new book “The Perfect Turkey” starts with a fresh take on this traditional feast, including options for preparing turkey that range from frying or grilling to smoking. There are even instructions for a sous vide bird and spatchcocking for a quicker turnaround. You’ll find imaginative recipes for dry rubs and brines that spice and juice up the bird. Then it’s on to the varieties of stuffing that utilize ingredients such as pears, goat cheese, sausage, apples, pecans and more. Side dishes are an easy way to change up the meal, and Sarasin offers simple recipes for salads and vegetables with a bit of flair. There are even recipes for dealing with the leftovers. The book is great for beginners, but also gives insight to seasoned veterans of the Thanksgiving table.

Holiday-spiced Wet Brine

Perfect for a locally sourced bird, as a typical commercial turkey has already been brined. These iconic fall spices are a wonderful way of imparting a warm flavor to your next turkey without sacrificing any tenderness.

Yield: Brine for 10- to 20-pound bird
Active time: 45 minutes, total time 24 hours


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
5 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
4 garlic cloves
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons nutmeg


Remove the turkey from the packaging and remove the innards, which you can reserve for gravy. Rinse the turkey under cold water and dry it with a towel.

Add all the ingredients to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool completely.

Place the turkey in the brine, breast side down. Make sure that the turkey is fully submerged, weighing it down with plates if necessary. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine and dry the bird inside and out. Discard the brine and cook the turkey.

Nashua resident Keith Sarasin is the founder of The Farmers Dinner, an organization that helps promote local farmers and producers via spectacular dinners, many of which are held outside on long tables in farm fields. Since 2012, The Farmers Dinner has hosted more than 60 farm-to-table dinners, fed 6,000 people, and raised $75,000 for local farms.

Categories: Fall Food and Recipes, Holiday Guide Food, Recipes