Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was fairly quiet and I indulged in a lot of simple things I don’t normally get to–the better part of a day dedicated to cooking, watching a movie (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, very intense!!), naps, knitting. Lest you think it’s all roses around here though, the top picture is evidence that even I have my share of kitchen disasters. Yesterday, those included a shattered bowl, a cut, a burnt doormat, and a near ruined cookie sheet.
I recovered nicely though and after much cursing and vacuuming was able to sit down to a very large, very tasty meal. The meal included a delicious apple cider brined turkey breast (recipe follows), spiced cranberries, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, parker house rolls, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, and roasted brussels sprouts. Several hours of digestion later, I enjoyed a slice of pumpkin pie. My fridge is disturbingly full of leftovers now, a sign of a truly successful Thanksgiving in my opinion. I don’t think I want to make a habit of it but I genuinely enjoyed my first solo Thanksgiving. It was really nice just staying home, loafing around in PJs, cooking all day, not worrying about guests/family/friends/etc., and doing things at my own pace.
Apple Cider Brined Turkey Breast
Adapted from a Pepperknit recipe
2 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into discs
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
Peel from one orange (orange part only, no white pith)
1 cup cold water + 3 ice cubes
3-4 lb. turkey breast
1. In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, put the salt, sugar, ginger, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf and orange peel. Add 2 cups of apple cider and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Boil for three minutes, then remove from the heat. Add 1 cup of ice-cold water, stir, and set aside to cool.
2. Pour cooled brine into one-gallon freezer bag. Add turkey breast and seal. Place sealed bag into bowl (in case the bag springs a leak!) and then place in refrigerator to brine for 12 hours. (If you remember, move the turkey around every few hours to make sure it brines evenly.) Just before roasting, remove from brine, rinse under cold water for several minutes, and pat dry.
3. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 375 F. Brush turkey with a few tablespoons of melted butter. Bake for approximately 2 hours, until exterior is golden brown and interior temperature is 170 F. (While baking, baste periodically with pan juices.)