DO IT THE CHEZ PANISSE WAY AND BRINE YOUR TURKEY
I posted this Nov. 17, 2010 and it’s worth repeating.
Ryon Carey got this recipe from his friend Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse. Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant known as the birthplace of California cuisine, a style credited to its co-founder, Alice Waters.
The restaurant is located in the north Berkeley neighborhood known locally as the “Gourmet ghetto”. Chez Panisse has been listed by Restaurant magazine from 2006 to 2008 as one of the top fifty restaurants in the world. In 2006 and 2007, Michelin awarded the restaurant a one-star rating in its guide to San Francisco Bay Area dining.
The best turkeys I’ve ever eaten were ones that I’ve soaked in brine as they are exceptionally moist and juicy. My recipe is much simpler than this and even though it produces a similar product, it lacks the full flavor of this recipe. If you’ve never brined a turkey before baking it, you might want to give it a try. You need to keep it cold while it is in the brine.
For brining, start with a fresh turkey or a completely thawed turkey that is not basted or self-basted. If you can find a homegrown, free-range, fresh heritage turkey, so much the better.
Turkey Brine from Chez Panisse
2 1/2 gal. water
2 cups Kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 whole head of garlic, separated and peeled
5 whole allspice berries, crushed
4 juniper berries, smashed
1 bunch fresh sage
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch parsley
8 shallots, peeled
Place water in non-reactive container, add all ingredients and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Put turkey in brine for 24 hours, completely submerged. Remove bird, rinse well and drain. Pat dry. Roast bird for 20 minutes per lb. or until juices run clear and turkey is tender.
You can place a frozen turkey in the cold brine and let it thaw. Don’t brine the giblets. A fresh turkey will keep for 28 days in a refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower (which is much colder than most household refrigerators). The trick is to find out how many days it was refrigerated before you bought it. Remove the packaging from a fresh turkey, remove giblets, then re-wrap and freeze the turkey. Place turkey in brine to thaw for 24 hours before the big day.
You’ll experience the best turkey you ever had.