Brining yields a much more moist and tender Turkey. Make sure you have room in your refrigerator before you start this. Brining your turkey results in a moist and juicy, not “watery” bird. This method can be used on chicken as well, but you don’t need to brine as long.
How to Brine a Turkey
Make the Brine:
1 1/2 cups, Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups, brown sugar
10 whole cloves
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) apple Juice or cider (non-alcoholic)
18oz hard apple cider beer
The peel from one orange or one tangerine (colored part only – not white pith)
optional: 3 teaspoons, dried thyme and/or 3 teaspoons, dried sage
- Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot, Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (partly covered). Allow Brine to cool completely.
- Rinse turkey under cool running water, inside and out and remove the giblets from body cavity. Pat turkey dry with paper towels, then immerse turkey in cooled brine. The turkey should be completely submerged in liquid. Place a plate on top of the bird if necessary to keep it covered with the liquid.
- Cover the pot and refrigerate for 8-10 hours. Remove turkey, rinse, pat dry, and roast as usual.
*Be sure container for turkey in brine is non-reactive: use enamel, glass or crockery or stainless steel – never cast iron or aluminum. The pot should be just large enough to just contain the turkey.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp lemon peel
6 oz hard apple cider
optional fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary)
Combine Butter, sugar, marjoram & lemon peel in a small mixing bowl. Place towel dried turkey breast side up on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Separate the skin from breast meat. Spread half the glaze over the breast meat just under the skin. Melt the remaining glaze & cool slightly, stir in the cider beer. Brush mixture over outside of turkey. Season with salt & pepper. Lace up the turkey, tuck in the wings and neck skin. Insert the type of thermometer that can stay in the oven the whole time during roasting process OR buy yourself a very nice instant read thermometer to use towards the end of your cooking time. Tent loosely with foil. Roast at 325 for 3 3/4 – 4 1/4 hours or at LEAST until the thigh meat reads 180 degrees F. Remove foil during final 30 min of roasting to allow browning process. Besides the temp test, turkey is done with drumsticks move easily and juices run clear. Remove turkey from oven and recover with foil and allow to stand for 15-20 min before carving. This is essential to allow juices to be reabsorbed from outside back into fibers of meat. Garnish with fresh herbs for presentation if desired.
Brined Turkey Breast with Lemon-Parsley Gravy
Soaking a turkey in a salt-and-sugar solution adds moisture to the meat. This is an especially good technique to use with all-white meat, which can become dry when roasted. Soaking the breasts after brining in fresh water prevents the meat from being overly salty, although it will be somewhat saltier than turkey that has not been brined. Keep this in mind when salting the gravy to keep the flavors of the dish in balance.
For the brine:
4 quarts water
1 cups kosher salt
1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 bone-in fresh whole turkey breasts, about 11 lb. total
9 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 yellow onion, unpeeled, quartered
2 large carrots, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
For the gravy:
7 cups turkey stock
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. minced lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
To make the brine, in a stockpot, combine the water, salt and brown sugar. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, just until the salt and sugar dissolve. Let cool to room temperature. Rinse the turkey breasts and pat dry. In 1 very large or 2 large glass bowls or other non-aluminum containers, cover the turkey breasts with the brine. Add ice as needed to cool the brine and cover the breasts with brine when melted. Refrigerate, turning the breasts occasionally in the brine, for 24 hours.
Drain and pat dry. Trim excess skin from the turkey breasts. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Spread 1 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over each turkey breast. Place the breasts on a rack in a flameproof roasting pan. Scatter the onion and carrots in the pan around the turkey. Roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the chicken stock, the remaining 6 Tbs. butter, the white wine, oil and lemon juice. Warm over low heat until the butter melts. After 30 minutes of roasting, baste the breasts with some of the stock mixture. Continue to roast the turkey, basting every 30 minutes with the remaining stock mixture and then with the accumulated pan juices, stirring the vegetables in the pan occasionally, until the breasts are well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, about 2 hours. Transfer the breasts to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil while you make the gravy.
To make the gravy, place the roasting pan with the vegetables across 2 burners and turn the heat to medium-high. Add 6 3/4 cups of the turkey stock to the pan and bring to a brisk simmer. Stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, about 5 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan through a sieve set over a large bowl, pressing hard on the vegetables with the back of a large spoon to extract all the liquid; discard the solids. Spoon off as much of the fat as possible from the liquid, or pour the liquid into a fat separator and pour off the liquid. Transfer the liquid to a wide saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and simmer briskly until reduced by one-fourth, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/4 cup stock into the cornstarch to make a slurry. Gradually stir the slurry into the saucepan. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook until the gravy clears and thickens, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the turkey breast against the grain, on a slight diagonal, and serve with the gravy. Serves 8 to 10.
Make-Ahead Tips: The turkey must be put into the brine 24 hours before roasting. The stock may be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, or up to 3 months before and frozen. Or, it may be made while the breasts soak in fresh water before roasting.
Stewed Kumquats and Prunes Recipe
This recipe is from the 1930’s. It was popular in the more southern regions where Kumquats were plentiful. Serve it as a breakfast dish or a side dish. Read more
This macaroni salad ring recipe is an old-fashioned molded salad.
1 package elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons salad oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon grated white onion
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
¼ cup grated carrot
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup celery, chopped or sliced thin
1 pimento, chopped (optional)
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions until tender Drain and put into a large bowl.
Mix salad oil, vinegar, seasoned salt and macaroni. Toss to coat well, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spoon into a 5 cup ring mold, pack down well with back of spoon.
Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Unmold onto platter and fill center with fresh vegetable relish or salad greens if desired. Serves 6 to 8.
Tomato Aspic is an old traditional Southern side dish. There are as many variations as there are cooks, each claiming the best and often secret recipe. Many recipes add chopped vegetables, celery, cabbage, peppers, etc….Some Southern cooks use lemon jello instead of plain gelatin. This recipe is a well seasoned basic tomato aspic.
2 cups tomato juice
8 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 onion, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons gelatin
1/2 cup water
Dissolve gelatin in 1/2 cup water. Cook together everything except lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Adjust seasoning, add lemon juice, Worcestershire and dissolved gelatin. Pour into desired molds and chill. Serve on a bed of lettuce
4 quarts small beets
3 cups vinegar, more if needed
2 cups water
2 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons allspice
3 inch stick of cinnamon
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Hot sterilized jars and lids
Cook the beets until just tender. Slip off the skins.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, spices, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.
Add the beets to the vinegar and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Pack the beets into hot sterilized jars. Bring the vinegar to a boil and pour over beets. If there is not enough vinegar mixture to cover, add hot vinegar.
Seal immediately, hand tighten bands.
Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Makes about 4 quarts.
1 quart chopped cabbage
1 quart chopped green tomatoes
2 sweet red peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup salt
1 1/2 cup vinegar
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon celery seed
jars, lids, and rings
1. Combine vegetables and salt. Let sit overnight.
2. Drain vegetables. Squeeze out all moisture
3 . Prepare the Jars by cleaning and covering with boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, then keep hot until ready to fill.
4 . Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices in a saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cup water and boil for 5 minutes.
5 . Stir into vegetables in kettle. Bring to a boil.
6 . Put in sterile jars and seal while still hot. Hand tighten lid.
7 . Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes to complete seal.
This makes a lot, great for a large party.
Easy Overnight Vegetable Salad
1 large bunch or carrots
2 heads of cauliflower, separated into flowerettes
1 bunch of broccoli, separated into flowerettes
3 sweet purple onions, thinly sliced
2 cans pitted ripe olives, drained
1 pound or more small fresh mushrooms
5 bottles Italian dressing
few sprigs of fresh dill (optional)
- Cook carrots, cauliflower and broccoli until barely tender. Rinse in ice water to stop cooking.
- Slice carrots into small thin strips.
- Combine all vegetables and dill and pour dressing over all.
- Marinate in refrigerator overnight.
- Drain and serve on lettuce in a large salad bowl.
Makes 30 to 40 servings.
8 salmon steaks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
(Lemon wedges, for garnish )
1. Place in Salmon in a shallow glass dish.
2. Combine remaining ingredients, except lemon wedges. Pour over the fish. Marinate for 1 to 3 hours (or longer, if desired), turning once.
3. Broil or grill fish approximately 4 inches above moderate coals for 5 to 6 minutes per side, basting with remaining marinade.
This recipe comes from the Mississippi – Louisiana area, but is not spicy hot like you might expect from the Cajun area. Try it! Read more
Chicken with Mango Salsa
Spring Greens with Cherry Tomatoes
Start the rice pilaf first, unless you are using instant it will take longer than the chicken.
4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
Skin and bone chicken, trim off all visible fat.
Lay one chicken breast half on a flat surface lined with plastic wrap.
Place another piece of plastic wrap onto chicken breast.
Pound chicken thin with the flat side of a mallet or the bottom of a bottle by hitting downward onto the chicken then sliding the bottle or mallet outward to the edge. The next blow goes outward in the opposite direction, until the chicken is evenly thin all around. Not a lot of force is needed, most of the thinning is done by the outward slide. This should not take but a minute per chicken breast. If you don’t want to pound the breasts, then just cook them a little longer until done.
Season the chicken breasts with garlic salt.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan. Saute the chicken in the butter and oil until cooked. Remove to a warm plate or platter.
Top with mango salsa and serve. I place the chicken on a bed of rice pilaf, then top with the mango salsa.
2 cups diced fresh or canned mango pulp
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (green is ok, but red looks nicer)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 hot chili pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Combine all ingredients, blend well. Allow flavors to blend while chicken cooks.
Serve with a salad of spring greens, cherry tomatoes, and your favorite dressing along side a rice pilaf.