komburkey: kombucha marinated turkey with couscous stuffing
Plain, unflavored kombucha pairs extremely well with poultry. So this season, I went all out by using kombucha in the brine, the stuffing and the roasting broth for this holiday centerpiece. This recipe calls for quite a bit of kombucha, so you may need to amp up production a week or two ahead of time. But it's oh so worth it! Enjoy!
- 1 whole turkey (10-15 lbs, giblets removed) For the brine:
- 1 1/2 – 2 gallons cold water
- 2 quarts strong kombucha
- 2 cups salt
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 3 sprigs fresh sage (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp whole black pepper
- 1 tbsp whole coriander
- 4-8 whole cloves For the stuffing:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 3 cups kombucha
- 2 cups whole wheat couscous
- 1/3 cup diced apple
- 1/3 cup raisins For roasting:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 quart kombucha
- prepared stuffing (optional)
- To brine the turkey: Mix brine ingredients in a pot large enough to fit the turkey. Submerge turkey in brine solution, top with a plate and place a weight on the plate to hold the turkey under the brine. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. (Note: Omit salt from stuffing and roasting recipe and avoid pre-brined turkeys to prevent over salting.)
- To prepare the stuffing: Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until softened-about 4-6 minutes. Add spices and cook 1 minute more. Add kombucha and salt and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in the couscous, apples, and raisins. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
- Roast in electric roaster (preferred): Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse gently with cold water and pat dry. Place the turkey breast side up on the roasting pan rack. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with butter and place 3-4 thin slices of butter under the breast skin, just above the muscle, on each side. Mix the spices and rub all over turkey. Pour kombucha in the roasting pan. Turn oven to high temperature (usually 450-500 degrees F). Roast until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F, usually 2-3 hours. Ensure stuffing also reaches 165 degrees F. Basting is generally not necessary in electric roasters. Resist the urge to ‘check the turkey’ frequently. Electric roasters lose much of their heat when opened.
- Roast in the oven (alternative): Follow instructions for electric roaster except set oven to 325 degrees F. Prior to placing turkey in oven, position a sheet of aluminum foil as a tent over the turkey. This will help maintain the moisture. Ensure that the edges of the foil tent drip back into the roasting pot. Cooking will generally require 4-5 hours in an oven, depending on the size of the turkey. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes.
- Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and let stand for 15-30 minutes before carving. Serve and enjoy.