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Turkey Brine

Stock up now – it takes four quarts of kefir to brine a whole turkey, and it’s the best investment you’ll make this holiday season! For the second day of Thanksgiving Recipe Week we made a turkey brine with plain kefir, which makes the meat extra juicy and gives it mouthwatering flavor. Brining is a 2-day process of soaking a turkey in a salt-based solution to tenderize the meat. As the turkey soaks it absorbs the extra moisture and the salt breaks down the protein. Basically, the turkey is taking a luxurious salt bath. Isn’t our turkey sodium cute?! TIP: brined turkeys cook faster than a turkey that hasn’t been brined, so make sure to regularly check the internal temperature as it cooks in the oven.

Marinade Meat

Marinating your choice of protein in kefir is a great way to turn tough, bland cuts into tender, juicy masterpieces. This is thanks to two things: lactic acid and the live and live and active probiotic cultures found in kefir. Both work to break down the proteins in meat, making it softer and easier to digest. Because lactic acid is only mildly acidic, it works more slowly than other acidic marinades, meaning you’re generally ok letting the meat rest overnight or throughout the day.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, wix together all ingredients, except the orange. Place your turkey breast (or turkey) in the bowl, covering the whole turkey with a turkey baster. Let sit for 24-36 hours
  2. Preheat the oven 425 degrees
  3. Place the turkey that has been marinating into a roasting pan, pour remaining marinade overtop of the turkey until covered and there is some settled at the bottom of the pan and place orange slices on and around the turkey. Roast the turkey until an instant read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast, without touching bone, registers 150 degrees (about 40 minutes for boneless breast or 50 minutes for a bone-in-breast. For a 25lb turkey unstuffed, cook for 4-5 hours and with a stuffed turkey 4-6 hours). You may want to tent the breast with aluminum foil if it’s darkening too quickly.
  4. Transfer turkey to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.