I hate to admit this, but I don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. I don’t. I’m not a turkey person. I would rather load up on stuffing and green beans and mushrooms and oh my goodness, the gravy.
I set out to make a turkey that I couldn’t resist and resist this turkey I could not. You start with a turkey breast (which btw, I expected to be small. The smallest breast I could find was 7 pounds! Seven!) and you brine it in a mixture made from cider, brown sugar, and sage. Then when you cook it, you baste it with butter, more cider, and more sage. I cannot begin to explain to you how good my house smelled as this bird was cooking.
The best part, of course, was the gravy! It was sweet from the cider and the sage just put it over the top. I think I am officially obsessed with sage.
I couldn’t stop taking little pieces every time I walked past the kitchen. It was fantastic and I’m hoping my husband will let me cook one of his turkeys using this method for the big day.
Apple-Sage Brined Turkey Breast
For the brine:
- ½ gallon 64 ounces apple cider
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup coarse salt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 bone-in whole turkey breast (5 to 6 lb, thawed if frozen)
For the basting sauce and gravy:
- ¼ cup butteror margarine
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Reserve 1 cup apple cider for basting; cover and refrigerate.
- In 6-quart bowl or stockpot, stir remaining cider, the brown sugar, kosher salt, ¼ cup fresh sage and the peppercorns until salt is dissolved. Add turkey breast. Cover; refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
- Heat oven to 325F. Remove turkey from brine; rinse thoroughly under cool running water, and pat dry. Discard brine.
- Place turkey, skin side up, on rack in large shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in the thickest part of breast and does not touch bone. Roast uncovered 1 hour.
- In 1-quart saucepan, heat reserved apple cider, the butter, 1 tablespoon fresh sage and the garlic over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot.
- Roast turkey about 1 hour longer or until thermometer reads 165F and juice of turkey is clear when center of thickest part is cut, basting turkey generously with apple cider mixture and pan juices every 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, and let stand 15 minutes for easier carving.
- Meanwhile, pour pan drippings and scrapings into measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes. Skim fat from top of drippings, and place in 2-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat. Add enough water to remaining drippings to measure 2 cups; set aside.
- Stir ¼ cup flour into fat in saucepan, using wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in reserved 2 cups drippings and the salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute or until gravy thickens.
This post linked to Taste and Tell.