Brisket Braised in Tea with Root Vegetables

Braised BrisketDisclaimer! I got today’s recipe from “Cooking with Tea” by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen. When you borrow, you MUST give credit, it’s only right!

This dish is great for entertaining. It is best made the day before serving for two reasons: First, any fat that rises to the top of the braising liquid may be skimmed off easily when cold, and second, the flavour of the tea and the vegetable components settle in and marry overnight, producing a mellow, multilayered taste profile.


2 ¼ pounds lean brisket of beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil, enough to coat the pan for searing
½ bunch celery, washed well and cut into ½ inch diagonal slices
1 ½ cups thinly slices yellow onions
4 carrots, washed and cut into ½ inch chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
4 cloves garlic smashed then finely chopped
4 tablespoons Keemun tea leaves, or another type of black Asian tea
4 tablespoons additional Keemun tea leaves for sauce
2 litres water
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup ketchup


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Salt and pepper the brisket and sear in hot olive oil in a heavy skillet until the surface is browned. Turn only once, after about 5 minutes. Place the brisket in a heavy roasting pan and scatter the vegetables over the meat.

Brew the 4 tablespoons of tea in cool (170 F) water for 30 minutes. Sieve out and discard leaves. Combine the brewed tea, brown sugar and ketchup in a bowl to dissolve all the ingredients thoroughly, then pour over the brisket. Cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 2 ½ hours, or until tender. Cool, then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, skim off any fat that collects on the surface of the braising liquid. Pour the de-fatted liquid into a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat until it is reduced by half. Add 4 tablespoons of keemun tea leaves and return liquid to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve to remove leaves. Adjust seasonings in the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

With a sharp carving knife, slice meat across the grain into thin slices. Place decoratively on the plate along with vegetables. Drizzle sauce over each portion.

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.


1 (8 pound) whole turkey breast

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


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.

Tea Please

Tea PleaseI had planned on having this week being all about Indian food, but after spending the end of last week AND the weekend sick with what I’m sure was the plague, I’ve been drinking vats and vats of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee, and Indian food too, but when you’re sick, you just want tea. Gone are the days of just having a simple Orange Pekoe as well! No no my friend, today’s tea world is a complex trip through different types of teas, flavours and attributes.

Today’s tea consumer no longer just chooses between cream and sugar or honey and lemon. There is first the type of tea leaf that you want, each with their own benefits. The main ones are white, green, oolong, black, pu’erh, mate, rooibos and herbal. White Tea is made from baby tea leaves and is harvested by hand only a few days each spring, and is the rarest and least processed of all tea varietals.

Green Tea comes from leaves that are withered until the leaf becomes flaccid and then immediately steamed or fired to halt the active leaf enzymes that would otherwise react with oxygen.  Oolong Tea leaves are are semi-oxidized and express characteristics in-between green and black teas. Black Tea comes from leaves that are fully oxidized. Classic teas like English Breakfast and Earl Grey fall within this category. Pu’erh Tea is made from tea production style in which the black tea leaves undergo microbial fermentation and oxidation after they are dried and rolled.

The remaining three teas: Mate, Rooibos and Herbal teas as we know them are not what some would consider “true” teas. Yes, there are such things as “Tea snobs” out there. They are not “true” because they do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Mate is South American in origin and comes from the ground up leaf and stem of the Ilex paraguariensis tree. Rooibos is South African in origin and comes from the Aspalathus linearis bush. Herbal teas as we know them are a wide variety of different blends of flowers, herbs and other edibles brewed together, and often contain no actual “tea” itself.

So there you go, everything you ever wanted to know about the types of tea… but did you know it’s also used for more than drinking? Today’s recipe calls for it in a brine to marinate a turkey breast! Enjoy and keep on sipping!