Apple and herb turkey brine infuses wonderful flavor into the meat and helps keep it juicy while roasting. Plus, it’s easy to prep ahead!
Skill level: Intermediate Serves: 10 Start to Finish: 10 hours+ Prep: 10 hours Cook: Varies (see chef’s notes)
To make the brine mix
1½ cups Kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 dried bay leaves, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns (I use tri-color)
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon minced dried garlic (not powder)
2 teaspoons minced dried onion (not powder)
6 star anise pods
1 teaspoon whole cloves or whole allspice
1/2 cup chopped dried apples or pears
To brine a 20-pound turkey*
4 quarts sweet apple cider, divided
4 quarts cold water
To make the brine mix: Combine salt, sugar, herbs, spices, and apples in a large bowl. Mix can be made ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
To brine the turkey: Combine brine mix and 1 quart of apple cider in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring until salt is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled.
In a large stock pot, stir together cold cider mixture with remaining 3 quarts apple cider and all of the cold water. Submerge turkey in the pot or pour brine over turkey in a large brining bag.** Cover and let soak 8-12 hours.
Remove turkey from brine, rinse well inside and out, and dry with paper towels. Discard brining liquid. Follow your favorite roasting method, remembering to omit any salt added to the turkey.***
Chef’s notes: *To brine a turkey breast (6-7 pounds) instead of a whole turkey, halve the recipe and reduce brining time to 5 hours. **The turkey needs to be totally submerged in the brining liquid. Any non-reactive deep vessel (a huge bowl or deep pot) covered with plastic wrap will work for this. ***A 20-pound turkey should be cooked in a 325°F oven between 4 1/4 and 4 3/4 hours until the minimum internal cooking temperature reaches 165°F.
2.5- to 3-pound boneless turkey breast, butterflied*
1/2 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
1/2 cup roasted and shelled chestnuts**
½ small yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup loosely packed parsley
5-7 sage leaves
1-2 sprigs rosemary leaves
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Red Wine Soaked Cherry Sauce
1 cup canned Montmorency tart cherries packed in water, drained
1/2 cup red wine (Zinfandel or Cabernet)
1 tablespoon minced herbs (rosemary and sage)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F convection roast (or 400°F regular bake).
Lay the turkey breast out on a large cutting board. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Place the tart cherries, chestnuts, onion garlic, parsley, sage and rosemary in a food processor and process until finely chopped (mixture should be similar to a pesto-like consistency before you add olive oil).
Spread the mixture on top of the turkey leaving a small space without filling around the edges of the turkey.
Carefully roll the turkey breast into a log and secure with kitchen twine in 3-4 spots.
Place the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove-top.
Once hot, place the rolled turkey breast seam side down in the skillet and cook until browned. Flip and brown on the remaining sides.
Once browned, transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for about 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
For the Red Wine Soaked Cherries: Combine the drained tart cherries, red wine, herbs, salt and pepper in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook, stirring often until reduced and thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Spoon on top of the turkey roulade before serving.***
*Chefs notes: Ask your butcher to butterfly the turkey breast for you. **Chefs notes: Find roasted and shelled chestnuts usually by the nuts/raisins section of your grocery store or sometimes in the aisle by the register in plastic pouches. ***Chefs notes: You can add a cornstarch slurry to the mixture at the end right before removing it from the heat if you’d like it a bit more “saucy” (1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon cold water – stir to dissolve then add to pot).
If you’re looking for a more classic turkey on your holiday table, this four-ingredient recipe is a perfect fit. Just a little salt, black pepper, and butter for flavor allow the delicious flavor of the turkey to shine.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Discard liver or save for another use. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Pull off pale yellow fat on both sides of tail and reserve.
Tie ends of drumsticks together with kitchen twine or tuck them under flap of skin (or plastic or metal “hock lock”). Lift wing tips up and over back and tuck them under bird. Place turkey on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Add reserved turkey fat to pan. Generously brush turkey all over with melted butter and sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper.
Tightly cover breast area (not wings) with aluminum foil. Add 3 cups water to pan. Bake, basting every 45 minutes or so (including area under foil) until an instant-read thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh (not touching bone) registers 180°F, about 4 3/4 hours. During last hour of roasting, remove and discard foil. As water in roasting pan evaporates, add additional water to keep drippings from scorching.
Transfer turkey to a large serving platter. Let turkey stand uncovered for at least 30 minutes before carving.
Border Turkey Wings With Chipotle Tequila Cranberry Sauce
Some guests prefer dark meat only like in this turkey wing recipe slathered in spicy Mexican-inspired flavors and served with a tequila-flavored cranberry sauce on the side.
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 8-10 Start to Finish: 25 minutes, plus marinating time Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 10 minutes
8-10 turkey wings, thawed
3 tablespoons Ancho chili paste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons roasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
1-2 tablespoons chipotle seasoning (We like Weber Bold)
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Cojita cheese for garnish
1 (14-ounce) can cranberry sauce (whole berry style)
2 tablespoons chipotle paste
2 tablespoons tequila reposado
In a mixing bowl combine chili paste, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and oregano and whisk to combine.
Add the turkey wings and toss in marinade to evenly coat. Marinate refrigerated for a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 6 hours.
When ready to cook remove wings from marinade and shake off excess. Season well with chipotle seasoning and place on preheated chargrill and grill for 3 minutes and turn 45 degrees. Grill for an additional 2 minutes. Turn the wings over and repeat process and grill until wings reach an internal temperature of 165°F but no higher than 175°F.
Remove from grill and place on appropriate platter. Sprinkle well with fresh chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese.
In a mixing bowl combine cranberry sauce, chipotle paste and tequila. Mix till combined and serve on the side for dipping.
If you’re not feeding an army, do you really want to saddle yourself with an 18-pound bird? Probably not. You can get all the flavors of the holidays you crave in this tender, juicy turkey tenderloin with a savory parmesan apple stuffing and sage wine gravy—ready in just over an hour.
4 cups bread stale, trimmed of crusts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons sage fresh, finely minced
1 teaspoon rosemary fresh, finely minced
1/2-3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
1/4 teaspoon black pepper medium grind
6-8 slices prosciutto thinly sliced
For the gravy:
1 tablespoon butter
1 leaf sage fresh
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Few drops of gravy master, optional
1 large apple gala, Fuji or granny smith work well, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and place an oven-safe wire rack over the parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it has rendered some fat and started to crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a small bowl. Add the onions, celery and apples to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and apple become slightly translucent and tender, stir in the sage, rosemary and pepper and cook for an additional minute until fragrant. Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs and pancetta and toss to coat. Drizzle 1/2 cup of broth over the bread and stir well to mix. If the bread still seems dry. Add more broth 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Bread should be moist, but not soaked and still hold its shape. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on a flat, solid surface and one at a time, place one tenderloin in the center. Place another piece of parchment on top of the tenderloin and use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the tenderloin down to about 1/4-1/3 inches thick, flipping halfway through pounding. Be careful not to tear the flesh. Set aside and continue with the second tenderloin. Set aside. Lay 3 slices of prosciutto lengthwise, side by side and slightly overlapping. Lay one tenderloin on top of the prosciutto horizontal to the direction of the prosciutto. Fill the center of the tenderloin with stuffing and carefully roll the prosciutto and turkey around the stuffing, like a jelly roll. Use kitchen string to secure the roll in in the middle and at each end. Place the turkey rolls on the wire rack and roast for 30-35 minutes or until turkey is cooked to 160°F.
If there is leftover stuffing, spray an ovenproof ramekin with vegetable spray and put the rest of the stuffing in the dish. Dot with 1 teaspoon butter, cut into very small pieces and bake for 10-15 minutes with the turkey.
While turkey is cooking, make the gravy. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat and add the sage leaf, cook for about a minute, then add the flour and whisk, cooking for about a minute. Add the wine, whisking constantly and cook for 30-45 seconds then whisk in the chicken broth—continue stirring and cooking until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a light bubble and continue to cook for one minute. Add the cream and maple syrup and gravy master (if desired for color). Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from oven and let the turkey rest for five minutes before carving. Slice the turkey roll in one inch wide slices. Serve with gravy and extra stuffing.
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, taste
For the stuffing
1 navel orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 apple, halved
5 cloves garlic, peeled
4-5 fresh rosemary sprigs
4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
6-7 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
For the trimmings
3 lemons, halved
1 orange, quartered
15 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 cup water
To make the turkey: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pull the neck and giblets out of the turkey’s cavity and discard. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim the skin from the neck of the turkey and discard. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, making sure to dry the inside of the cavity as well.
Lift the skin over the turkey breast (on the side closest to the legs) and slide your hand under the skin, separating it from the breast meat. Do this on both sides of the breast. With your hands, spread the butter underneath the loosened turkey skin, spreading it evenly on both sides of the breast.
In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and rosemary. Rub the mixture over the entire surface of the turkey. Season the turkey well with salt and pepper, seasoning the inside of the cavity as well.
To make the stuffing: Fill the cavity with the halved orange, lemon, and apple. Insert the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage, and pour in the wine.
To make the trimmings: Place the turkey, breast side up, inside the rack of a roasting pan. Place the halved lemons, orange quarters, and garlic around the turkey. Pour the wine and water into the bottom of the pan.
Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and roast for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for 30 to 40 minutes more, or until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 175°-180°F. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
9. Dry Rubbed BBQ Turkey Breast With Pico De Gallo
This Thanksgiving add some BBQ to your feast by making these simple turkey breasts. The flavor comes from a variety of dried spices which you rub over the breast right before firing up the grill. Serve the turkey breasts with a pico de gallo and corn on the cob.
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 16 Start to Finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus marinating time Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 1 hour, 10 minutes
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fennel, toasted and crushed
Salt, to taste
1 (2- to 3-pound) turkey breast, boneless, skin-on
2 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into a large dice
2 medium golden peppers
1 medium jalapeno
1 cup chipotle
1 medium red onion
Canola oil, as needed
2 ears white corn
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup packed cilantro, chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the rub: Mix chili powder, thyme, oregano, garlic, pepper, fennel and salt together in a small bowl.
Massage these ingredients over the turkey breast, coating all surfaces. Cover and refrigerate turkey overnight.
For the Pico De Gallo: Brush tomatoes, peppers and onions with canola oil. Grill over direct medium heat until tender and very lightly charred. Grill corn just until tender.
Remove skin, seed and chop peppers. Dice onion. Cut corn from ears.
In a small bowl, whip olive oil with vinegar. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper. Add roasted/diced vegetables to vinaigrette and stir together, coating vegetables well. Cover and refrigerate about 4 hours.
To grill the turkey: Spray grill rack with nonstick vegetable spray. Prepare grill for indirect cooking method using medium heat. Place turkey, breast side up, on grill rack, about 4 inches from the heat. Grill about 3/4 to 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove turkey to serving platter and let stand 10 minutes before carving.
Serve 4 ounces sliced turkey breast with pico de gallo.