BRINED TURKEY BREAST
1 gallon ice-cold water
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon rosemary
1½ cups coarse salt
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon thyme
8 pounds thawed turkey breast (for love of God, Montressor, the turkey must be thawed)
INGREDIENTS – COOKING TURKEY
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2-to-3 cups chicken broth
really big pot, 8+ gallons, or turkey bag
large oven-safe pan or casserole dish
Serves 12. Takes 15-to-24 hours
PREPARATION – THAWING TURKEY
A large frozen item like a turkey requires at least a day (24 hours) to defrost in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds of weight.
If you are pressed for time, use this quicker defrosting method. Keep turkey in packaging and add it to a large pot. Cover turkey with ice-cold water. Let turkey sit in cold water for 30 minutes per pound. In this recipe, that would be 4 hours. Pour out water.
But the turkey must be thawed before cooking. Or there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
PREPARATION – BRINE
Crumble bay leaves. Mince garlic cloves. Grind peppercorns. Remove packaging from turkey and rinse in cold water. Add brine ingredients except turkey to pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Add turkey. Add ice-cold water as needed to cover turkey. Cover pot or close turkey bag and refrigerate for at least 12 hours but not more than 24.
PREPARATION – COOKING TURKEY
Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put turkey in large pan. Melt butter. Brush melted butter onto turkey. Sprinkle pepper and salt onto turkey. Place wire rack in pan. Put turkey on rack. Put meat thermometer in thickest part of turkey. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake for 2-to-3 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Baste with ½ cup of chicken broth after every 30 minutes of baking at 325 degrees.
1) Wild turkeys hide in trees at night. Just like human ninjas.
2) Wild turkeys can fly. That’s better than human ninjas.
3) All turkeys have periscopic vision. This means they can twist their heads around to see everything. Can human ninjas do that? I think not.
4) Female turkeys do not gobble. This stealthiness makes them the perfect silent warriors.
5) Our founding father, Benjamin Franklin, wanted to make the turkey our national bird. Why? Culinary historians suspect that turkey ninjas fought on the colonists’ side during the American Revolution.
6) How do they know this? The British soldier was far better trained than the American militiaman. The British king had many more soldiers under his autocratic command than did our fractious Continental Congress. King George’s army possessed thousands of cannon and could boast of the biggest and best navy in the world.
7) America could only have won if it had ninja turkeys swooping down, dealing quick, silent death out of the pitch-black night. Historians think American units coordinated ambushes by using bird calls. Culinary historians know better. These were turkey calls, made by fierce turkey warriors.
8) Britain finally countered with the King’s Bear Battalion in 1782. These bears could climb up any tree and were paid in honey. America’s ninja turkeys wouldn’t have stood a chance against the bears’ great strength and massive, sharp claws. Fortunately for America, Britain’s will to continue the war had already been shattered by the decisive battle of Yorktown during the previous year.
9) America disbanded its turkey ninjas in 1806. This is why it didn’t win the War of 1812.
10) America might be using turkey ninjas in covert operations. Who can say? Washington remains mute on the subject.
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.