Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! Cider-Brined Turkey Breast with Star Anise and Cinnamon, Roasted Squash with Mint and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm not going to give much commentary because I think I deserve to be able to take Thanksgiving off too, but I wanted to post the menu I served my family (my parents and Alex) for Thanksgiving today before I fly off to Hawaii tomorrow morning!!!!!!  Since there were only four of us, we cooked a whole, bone-in turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.  We used the braise from Anita Lo's Cider-Brined Turkey with Star Anise and Cinnamon recipe, but revised the recipe for a whole turkey breast.  From the same issue of Bon Appetit we made the Roasted Squash with Mint and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.  We served the turkey and squash (both of which my father assured me were properly traditional and American dishes) with some Momofuku brussels sprouts and homemade cranberry sauce.  Yum.

Recipes after the jump!

Cider-Brined Turkey Breast with Star Anise and Cinnamon
Adapted from Bon Appetit
November 2011

1 quarts plus 1 cup apple cider 
1/2 cup kosher salt plus more 
1/2 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar 
8 whole black peppercorns 
4 whole star anise pods
3 garlic cloves, smashed 
3 scallions, white parts only, trimmed, split lengthwise 
3 1/4”-thick slices unpeeled ginger 
3 dried shitake mushrooms 
2 3”-4” cinnamon sticks
2 sprigs cilantro 
1 5-6 lb. skin-on, whole turkey breast
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into sixths 
Melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (for basting)

Bring 1 quart cider, 1/2 cup salt, and the next 10 ingredients to a boil in a very large (16-qt.) pot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in 3/4 gallon (12 cups) cold water. Add turkey to brine and press down to submerge. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place turkey breast on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the remaining 1 cup of cider and 1 1/2 cups water in roasting pan. Scatter apples around. Brush turkey with butter.

Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test my turkey in several places and with two different thermometers, which might be overkill.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

Serve the pan juices and the apples alongside the turkey.

Roasted Squash with Mint and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from Bon Appetit
November 2011

1 medium acorn or butternut squash or small sugar pumpkin
2 tbsp evoo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F. 

Cut squash into 1 1/2"-thick wedges, leaving skin on. Scrape off seeds and strings with a large spoon and discard. Coat wedges with evoo and season with s&p. Lay wedges cut side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, carefully turning halfway through, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 minutes.

Transfer squash to a large platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle squash with torn mint leaves and pepitas.

Ginger and Apple Cranberry Sauce

14 oz fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup honey
3 tbsp brown sugar 
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
6 whole cloves
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer until berries burst and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves. Refrigerate sauce until cold.  

Serve cold or at room temperature.

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