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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thanksgiving in June?

Roast turkey in summer? Crazy, right? Yea, maybe...but I wanted to make soup and sandwiches, so I roasted a turkey.

We are trying to be a bit more health-aware around here, so instead of buying deli turkey for sandwiches and canned soup we did it all the old-fashioned way. I roasted the turkey, hubby sliced off the meat, put some in the fridge to enjoy now, froze some for later...and made broth with the carcass! (Is there a better word for that?) I'm telling you all this because I want to share a great "secert" I tried with great results...a brine!

Have you heard of brining a roast? I found the following recipe for brine that can be used for chicken, turkey, or a pork roast. I found it on and it was originally from Chez Panisse. It makes a LOT of brine, so you'll need a big pot in which to submerge the roast. Also, you'll have to plan ahead for soaking time - a day for poultry, 3 days for pork.

Chez Panisse Brine

2 1/2 gal. of cold water
2 c kosher salt
1 c sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme, or 4 T dried thyme
1 whole head of garlic, peeled
5 whole allspice berries, crushed
4 juniper berries, crushed (I didn't have these)

Prepare the brine and soak: place the water in a large pot that can easily hold the liquid and the meat you intend to brine. Add all the ingredients and stir for a minute or so until the sugar and salt to dissolve. Refrigerate poultry in brine for 24 hours; pork for 3 days. If the meat floats to the top, use a plate or other weight to keep it completely submerged in the brine.

To roast: Poultry - stuff cavity with desired herbs (chicken: onions, lemon wedges, herbs such as thyme, parsley, rosemary/ turkey: lemons, herbs, onions of desired). Rub the skin with oil to help browning; sprinkle with fresh pepper - salt is not needed due to the salt in the brine. Cook uncovered in a 400-degree oven until done (about 1 hr 15 min for a 3-4 lb chicken or 12-15 minutes per pound for a turkey). Boneless pork roast: Sprinkle the roast with pepper and herbs such as sage, thyme or tarragon,if desired. Roast uncovered in a 400-degree oven for about 12-15 minutes per pound.

We have a 3 huge rosemary bushes in our yard, so I used rosemary and lemon for our turkey. I only did a large turkey breast, so there was no cavity. Instead, I just shoved lemon quarters in various places around the breast. Same with the rosemary. The turkey is so incredibly tender and juicy! The "chef" who shared the bring on said that it should really help keep the "leftovers" wonderfully fresh and moist.

by the way, the soup was DELICOUS!


christinemm said...

We brine our Thanksgiving turkeys. Learned about that from the TV show Good Eats (Alton Brown's show). The turkey was the best ever after the brining. We'll never do another turkey without brining it first again.

It is a lot of work and takes so much stock that we don't use it for regular whole roasting chickens.

Pork gives me a headache so I try to not eat it (my husband is not happy with that, oh well).