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Roasted, Brined Turkey Breast with Maple-Worcestershire Gravy and Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf


For the turkey:

  • 1 jumbo-size plastic food bag, such as Hefty brand (3-5 gallons)

  • 1 gallon spring water

  • 1 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar

  • 6 fresh bay leaves

  • 2 large shallots, quartered lengthwise

  • A palmful of coriander seeds

  • A palmful of black peppercorns

  • A palmful of paprika

  • A palmful of poultry seasoning

  • 1/2 palmful allspice berries

  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped or sliced

  • 1 full turkey breast (6-7 pounds)

For the Maple-Worcestershire Gravy:

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/3 cup dark amber maple syrup

  • Lots of coarsely ground black pepper

For the Fruit and Nut Pilaf:

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 cup thin spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 1/2 cups rice

  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped

  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped

  • 4 scallions, whites and greens, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 1 small navel orange, supremed or sectioned and chopped

  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes

  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Open the jumbo plastic food storage bag in the sink and add the water, salt, sugar, bay leaves, shallots, seasonings and garlic and swish around to combine. Add the turkey breast and seal the bag. Put it into the refrigerator and let it brine for 24 hours in advance of your cooking day.

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.

Pat the turkey breast dry, season with salt and pepper and put it in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven at 400ºF for 30 minutes. Baste, reduce the temperature to 325ºF and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 170ºF, about 40 minutes. Remove the turkey breast from the oven to a cutting board. Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve the breast and arrange it on a serving platter. Serve with pan juices.

Reserve 1 pound of meat for another menu. Cool, wrap and refrigerate the reserved meat.

To make the Maple-Worcestershire Gravy, add the butter to a medium size saucepot and melt it over medium to medium-high heat. Add the shallots and thyme and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, Worcestershire and maple syrup. Season with black pepper, to taste, and reduce the mixture until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10-12 minutes.

Next, make the pilaf: Melt the butter in a medium size pot over medium heat. Add the spaghetti and toast until deeply golden in color. Add the rice, carrot, celery, scallions and orange zest, then stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook until the rice is tender, about 16-18 minutes. Fluff the rice with fork and add the oranges, grapes, nuts, parsley and salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl.