Food & Wine
Author: Clayton Rollison
It’s November, which means it time to cook turkeys. A million magazines will tell you how to roast this silly bird. I’m going to give you the first step to add flavor to the turkey, which is to let it sit in brine. Brining your turkey will help the lean breast meat stay moist while the legs continue to cook. An added bonus to brining is that you can introduce new flavors to your turkey.
Following is a simple recipe I use, but you must plan ahead. It will take a total of five days to execute a proper brine with a thawed bird: one day to make the brine, two-three days to brine it and one day to air-dry the bird. You are also going to need a container to hold the bird in the fridge while it brines. If the container is really large, you will need to increase the amount of brine. I’m giving you a base water amount that should cover up to a 20-pound bird.
HOW TO BRINE A TURKEY
Yields 16 quarts
26 ounces fine sea salt
12 quarts water
4 quarts apple juice
1 bunch thyme (or one package from the grocery store)
1 bunch sage (or one package from the grocery store)
10 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup black peppercorns
1/2 cup mustard seeds
1/4 cup fennel seeds
Fold all the spices and herbs into a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a sachet. (A sachet is a fancy term for what looks like a beggar’s purse.) Gently beat it with the back of your knife to release some of the oils from the herbs. Add the sachet and half of the liquid with all of the salt to a pot and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the cold liquid. Let the brine cool down and then place in the fridge overnight. Once the brine is cool, add the turkey. The bird must be completely submerged in the brine. If it is trying to float, you can push it down with a couple of plates resting on top of the turkey. Let the turkey brine for 2-3 days. Remove turkey from brine and let it air-dry in the fridge overnight before roasting. A dry bird cooks better than a wet one.
Clayton Rollison is the chef/owner of Lucky Rooster Restaurant in South Island Square.
Recipe compliments of ELA’s Blu Water Grille
1/2 cup butter
3 cups diced celery
1/2 cup chopped sage
3 cups cornbread crumbs
3 cups soft bread crumbs
4 large eggs slightly beaten
7 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add celery and onions, and sautee for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in sage, and sautee for 1 minute.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift cornbread crumbs and bread crumbs together. Stir in eggs, chicken broth, pepper, and celery/onion/sage mixture until well blended.
3). Divide cornbread mixture between 1 lightly greased 13×9” baking dish and 1 lightly greased 8” square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until set and golden brown.
You can also add chorizo or bacon for flavor.
NEW KID IN TOWN
Welcome to The Bluffton Room, a new restaurant with a simple premise: to make guests feel as if they are joining an intimate dinner party. The classic American menu includes familiar favorites such as Caesar salad, local oysters, bone-in rib-eyes, fresh seafood and organic chicken, prepared in a way to highlight their natural flavors. Gas lighting, antique brick and hand-carved wood lend an inviting feel to the dining room, while tableside preparations add a touch of class. Stop in for craft cocktails or wine at the indoor/outdoor bar or experience a special evening out. The Bluffton Room looks forward to being your host.
The Bluffton Room is located at 15 Promenade Street, Bluffton; open Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m. (5-11 p.m. on weekends). For more information, visit theblufftonroom.com; call (843) 757-3525 for reservations or book online at Open Table.