Orange, Tea, Bourbon-Brined Paprika Turkey

Turkey Breast

Brine a turkey breast for hours in a savoury, flavorful combination of spices, black tea, and bourbon. The breast is seasoned with a spiced margarine and roasted until golden brown and tender.

Ingredients:

1 (8 pound) whole turkey breast

Brine:
2 quarts water
5 oranges – juiced and zest cut off in large strips
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
12 black tea bags
4 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
12 whole black peppercorns
1 cup bourbon whisky (or other strong alcohol of choice)
4 quarts cold water, or as needed

Seasoned Margarine:
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
6 tablespoons margarine, softened

Directions:

Pour 2 quarts of water into a very large soup pot and stir in orange juice and zest, kosher salt, sugar, black tea bags, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and bourbon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix 4 quarts cold water into brine and let cool. Submerge turkey breast in brine, adding more water if needed to cover. Refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set oven rack to the lowest position in the oven. Remove turkey from marinade; discard marinade. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix coriander seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, and garlic into softened butter in a bowl. Loosen the skin over turkey breast with your fingers and spread ¼ cup of the seasoned margarine beneath the skin. Rub remaining margarine over the turkey breast. Place turkey breast onto a roasting rack and set rack into a roasting pan.

Roast in the preheated oven until skin is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F, about 2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let turkey breast rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Now while I don’t know any Jewish wedding that this amount of soup would fit the bill for, you can feed about 8-10 people with it as a nice starter. Think of it as an Italian chicken soup, but with meatballs instead of matzo balls! Not that the edition of matzo balls would be a bad idea… hmm…

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup coarsely chopped onion
⅓ cup coarsely chopped carrot
⅓ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 ½ quarts chicken broth
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt to taste
1 cup seashell pasta (or other small-shaped noodle)
2 cups spinach – packed, rinsed* and thinly sliced

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined, but do not over mix. Shape the meat into ¾ inch balls, and set aside. In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until the onion becomes slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, and let cook a few minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the broth, bay leaf and peppercorns and any salt that is desired, bringing the broth to a boil. You may wish to put the bay leaf and peppercorns in a little cheesecloth bundle, to make for easy removal later, but you can skip this step, and simply fish them out later. Once boiling, slowly drop in the meatballs and pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. At the last minute add the spinach and wilt it into the soup. Serve hot with crusty bread and enjoy!

* click here to check out how to clean spinach properly.

Easy Refridgerator Pickled Green Tomatoes

Dill Tomatoes

This recipe will make 1 quart jar of tomatoes, but you can always (and should) make more!

Ingredients:

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 ¼ cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt (If you use table salt you must to cut the quantity in half)
1 pound firm green tomatoes (about 5 plum tomatoes)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
4 tablespoons dill seeds
½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns

About the tomatoes. They can be any kind, but they must be all green, no orange allowed, and they must be cut in half or quarters. I have done this with cherry tomatoes, but for some reason they are not as good as Romas or other pear shaped tomatoes. They must be close to full size meaning those little green pellets that have not begun to form seeds will not work.

Directions:

Make sure you have a really clean bottle and lid. The lid must have a good rubber seal. The best thing to do is buy canning jars and lids, which are available in a lot of hardware and grocery stores. Sterilize them by submersing them in a boiling water bath. Add the garlic, dill seeds, and peppercorns to the jar. Thoroughly wash the tomatoes and slice them in halves or quarters. Cut out all bad spots and the stem ends. Cram them in the jar leaving about ½” – ¾” of space at the top. Make the brine by combining the vinegar, water, and salt in a non-reactive sauce pan or pot. Bring to a boil, and stir until all the salt is dissolved. Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes to within ¼” of the top. Wipe the jar top, put the lid on and tighten. Age for at least 1 week in the refrigerator. Beware. The brine will taste very salty at first, but don’t panic. The juices from the tomatoes will dilute the concentration of salt in a week or two.