Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Monday, November 21, 2011

365 in 365 - #121, #122 & 123 - Southwestern Inspired Brine, Roast Turkey and Roast Pork Loin

OK....I have read several recipes for brining liquid and I liked elements of each, but didn't have one the particularly struck me, so here is my version of a southwestern brine for turkey and pork loin, both of which are currently tucked away in my fridge in this wonderful liquid.  My kitchen smells amazing!!!

For the recipe below, I had enough brine to cover one 12 pound turkey and one 3 pound pork loin
This would also work well for 2 to 3 large chickens for those who don't eat pork.

For the brine:

Warning - this will be spicy.  If you like something a bit more mild, use a milder version of adobo and 1 tablespoon of peppercorns.

2 brining bags, available at Sur la Table (www.surlatable.com)

6 quarts water
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup honey
6 small bay leaves, broken into pieces
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons adobo seasoning mix.  I use the spicy one from Baked Spice (www.bakedspice.com)
1 tablespoon peppercorns

Place all the ingredients except for the water, into a very large pitcher
Heat 2 quarts of water until warm and pour over the other ingredients
Stir until the salt is dissolved
Add the remaining water and let it cool

Prepare the turkey by removing the "pop-up" thermometer, the giblets and the neck and rinse well, place in a large brining bag and place the bag with the meat in a very large container (pot or bowl that will fit the meat and liquid).

Once cool, pour the liquid over your meat of choice, covering it with the liquid.  Seal the bag very well and marinate for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

Remove from the liquid, rinse and pat the meat dry.

Next, you will need 4 to 5 sticks of butter......yes, that many sticks of butter at room temperature.  This is a special occasion and there is no need to be frugal on taste.  Place in a mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons adobo and 1 bunch of chopped fresh cilantro and mix well.  If you don't like cilantro, though I can't imagine anyone not liking cilantro, you can substitute flat leaf parsley.  I sometimes use olive oil and make a rosemary, lemon zest and garlic paste for under the skin and on the meat......which is amazing!!!!

For the turkey use approximately 3 1/2 sticks and for the pork use approximately 1 1/2 sticks of butter.

Run your hand under the turkey skin to separate the meat from the skin and slather in the butter mixture being sure to get it all over the breast meat, down to the thighs and to the wings.  Take more butter and slather all over the top of the turkey skin.  At this point, Chef Ann Burrell suggests placing the turkey uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out.  This will make the skin brown amazingly well.  I really liked this tip, so I am going to use it.

The next day, stuff the turkey cavity with 3 heads of garlic, cut roughly...no need to peel the garlic.  Tie the turkey legs together to help the turkey hold it's shape.  Place your turkey in a preheated oven (425 ` F) in a roasting pan with a rack.  The turkey should be placed on the lowest shelf in the oven.  To the bottom of the pan, add 4 cups chicken stock, 4 large diced carrots, 2 ribs of diced celery and 1 large onion, diced.  After the first 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 350` F and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the  turkey breast reads 165` F.  Baste the turkey about every 30 minutes.  If the turkey starts to get too brown, place a tin foil tent over the turkey and continue cooking until the proper temperature is reached.

Remove from the oven, tent loosely with tin foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

To prep the pork loin, take a paring knife and cut several slits in the meat, about 2 inches apart and 1 inch deep.  Peel enough garlic cloves to stuff into the holes and follow with a bit of the butter mixture
Then with the remaining butter mixture, slather it all over the pork, including the ends.  Place the pork in a roasting pan on a bed of roughly chopped carrots, onions and celery with 2 cups of chicken stock and bake at 350 until a thermometer reads 165` F.

Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board, loosely covered with tin foil and let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

For either meat preparation, you can make a great pan sauce from the veggies and drippings or you can serve with gravy of your choice or a lovely Mexican Mole`.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you!!!

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