For most people the holidays are all about eating, drinking and usually lots of leftovers especially turkey. We end up having turkey sandwiches out the ying yang for days afterwards. I bet a lot of you are only interested in white or breast meat, or maybe you're only having a few people round so here's a recipe just for you.
Some stores offer just the turkey breasts so you don't have to buy the whole turkey. This is great for smaller portions and cuts the cooking time so you won't be up at the crack of dawn to get the bird in the oven. Regardless of meat size, I always brine my turkey the day before. Brining is soaking the meat in salted water which helps add flavor and keeps the meat moist during roasting. You can add a variety of other ingredients such as spices, herbs, bay leaves or even beer if you like to enhance the flavor. I find that a lot of people when cooking poultry, in particular cook the daylights out of it so they won't poison anyone. It always ends up dry and flaky, not good. Brining also provides a temperature cushion during cooking, so if this is your tendency, brining will help lock in the juices so it won't taste like rubber. Another note on brining is that brined meats tend to cook faster than unbrined meats so keep your eye on the internal temp about 2/3 of the way into your normal cooking time.
11/2 lb. organic turkey breast
8 cups water (enough to cover)
1/3 cup kosher salt
3 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp. peppercorns
1 cup fresh herbs (thyme, marjoram, sage)
Dissolve salt in the water. Add remaining ingredients and submerge turkey. Put in fridge overnight. When ready to cook, rinse and pat dry with paper towel.
11/2lb. brined turkey breast
1 lg.carrot-roughly chopped
1 lg.parsnip-roughly chopped
1 med. white onion-roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic- halved
2 tbsp. fresh ginger- roughly chopped
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix all vegetables together and lay on roasting pan. These will be used as a base for roasting the turkey which not only prevents the meat from sticking to the pan but are used for the gravy. Lay the seasoned turkey on the vegetables and place in oven. After 15 mins. reduce heat to 350. When cooked internal temp. should be 160 degrees. It took 50 mins. in my oven so keep an eye on it. When done, let rest for 15 mins. before carving.
CRANBERRY ORANGE RELISH
Cranberries are quite bitter so the majority of recipes use sugar when making. It's usually 1:1 water:sugar. I try to avoid sugar as much as possible as there are so many great alternatives. I prefer to use agave nectar which although is a real sugar and has similar properties to many sugars its glycemic index is much lower which makes it less likely to raise blood sugar levels. Agave is 40% sweeter than sugar so you also use less. Check out http://www.allaboutagave.com/ for more info.
1 12 oz. bag cranberries
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup agave or honey
1 tbsp. fresh ginger-chopped
1 med. orange-zested
Place all above into sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once the cranberries start popping reduce the heat and stir until blended, 10 mins. approx. Taste for sweetness (add more agave if needed) and refrigerate. This can be made a day or so in advance.
Yields 3 cups.