Up until last year I always brined my turkey according to a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. (its here on the blog). Last year I wanted a different brine recipe and on Food Network, I found Alton Browns Good Eats Turkey Recipe. Lo and behold I liked it better! Sorry Emeril!
So here it is…you can choose Emerill or Alton…
Good Eats Roast Turkey Alton Brown The Food Network
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Actually you can find special brining bags in most supermarkets these days, made by Reynolds. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting or less…use a timer. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, also featured in Food Network Magazine
Since we were headed off to a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to make these cabbage rolls. I ended up making 36 rolls using a small and a slightly larger head of cabbage. There was no sauce left over to pour over them, so I used a recipe from my ex-wife, which appears at the bottom. I served this to spoon over the baked rolls.
Emeril Lagasse’s Cabbage Rolls
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes and their juices
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 large head cabbage, cored and scalded in hot water until soft and easy to separate
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 1/2 cups par-boiled long-grain white rice
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions (Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F)
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Separate the cabbage leaves and remove the hard spine from each leaf. Spread on paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.
To make the stuffing, in a medium skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until very wilted and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Lay the cabbage leaves, rib side down, on a flat work surface. Remove rib or shave down leaf to make leaf easy to roll.
Line a large baking dish or roaster with remaining cabbage leaves.
One at a time, spoon the filling into the center of the cabbage leaves, about 1/4 cup in each, depending upon the size of the leaves. Roll each into a neat cylinder and place in a single layer in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, stacking the cabbage packages, as necessary. Pour sauce over the rolls, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the meat is cooked through and the rolls are tender, about 2 hours.
Remove from the oven and serve the rolls with any remaining sauce spooned over the top, if desired.
Sauce for Cabbage Rolls or Meatloaf or Grape Leaves!
1 can tomato soup
1 T sugar
2 T regular mustard
1 T vinegar
1 T butter
Blend these all together and heat slowly in the microwave.
I have been making this turkey for many years and it always is stunning! Hope you will take the time to try it and let me know how you liked it. It does work just as well with a whole turkey as a breast! For my Yucatecan friends, the Poblano Chocolate Mole sauce follows on a separate posting…
Funky Bird (a.k.a. Southwestern Turkey Breast)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 2 oranges, halved
- 2 jalapenos, minced (with their seeds)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- 1 (6 1/2 pound) whole turkey breast
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- Poblano Chocolate Mole, recipe follows
In a large non reactive container, (I use a large clear garbage bag with NO deodorizers and if necessary, put it outside if you are in Canada in a cooler in your garage) combine lemon juice, orange juice, kosher salt, light brown sugar, yellow onions, oranges, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, and oregano with 1 gallon water and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Put the turkey in a large colander and rinse under cold, running water, then add the turkey breast to the brine, cover, and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and put it breast side up in a large, heavy roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. (DISCARD ALL OF THE BRINE!!!)
Rub the turkey with vegetable oil and sprinkle both sides with Essence (see below) Roast until deep golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F., about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.