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Oolong Brined Turkey - Recipe

from Culinary Tea

Culinary Tea cookbook by Cynthia Gold and Lisë Stern

Add a little more spice to your next turkey dinner with this recipe that combines oolong tea, ginger and black peppercorn flavors.


2 quarts water 1/4 cup/10 grams loose-leaf oolong tea leaves
1/2 cup/85 grams kosher salt
1/2 cup/100 grams (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole Szechuan peppercorns or black peppercorns
1 (2-inch/5- centimeter) piece fresh ginger, sliced
8 whole cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1/4 cup/ 40 grams dried cranberries (optional)
1 (4- to 6- pound/1.8- to 2.7-kilogram) boneless turkey breast
2 tablespoons canola oil


1. In a large saucepan, heat water to steaming but not quite boiling. Add the tea, salt, and brown sugar and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the peppercorns, ginger, cloves, bay leaves, coriander seeds, and cranberries, if using. Let the brine cool to room temperature.

2. Rinse the turkey breast. Place a gallon-size (3.8 liters) oven-roasting bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place the bags inside a large stockpot. Place the turkey inside the bag and pour in the tea mixture. Secure the bag with twist ties. The bag keeps the brine around the turkey breast so that it is fully “submerged” during the brining period. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

3. When ready to roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Have ready a roasting pan with a rack.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Place the breast, skin-side down, in the oil and sear until golden-brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the turkey from the pan and place it on the rack in the roasting pan. Bake at 350°F/180°C/gas 4 until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F/70°C on an instant-read thermometer. The time required for this will depend on the weight of the breast, roughly 15 minutes per pound/455 grams, or 60 to 90 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Note: The turkey needs to brine 12 to 14 hours, so plan accordingly. The same amount of brine can be used for a 4-pound/1.8-kilogram or a 6-pound/2.7-kilogram turkey breast.

Serves 8 to 12

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