Recipe: Soy-brined turkey

Recipe: Soy-brined turkey
A MEAL TO LINGER OVER: Soy-brined turkey is the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving dinner, served alongside sausage-cornbread stuffing. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Time: 6 hours, plus 24 hours brining

Servings: 12 (with leftovers)

Note: To make gravy, remove the turkey and set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into 2 cups of cold water; whisk into pan drippings until thick. Add water if too thick, more slurry if too watery.

1 cup kosher salt

3/4cup tamari or soy sauce

1/2cup sugar

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon whole allspice

2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

1 (16- to 18-pound) fresh turkey, neck and giblets removed

Stuffing (recipe follows)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Salt, pepper

1. Combine the kosher salt, tamari, sugar, thyme, allspice, pepper flakes, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns in a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey. Add 2 gallons cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and cool completely. Add the garlic and ginger.

2. Rinse the turkey inside and out. Lay it breast-side down into the cold brine. Refrigerate 12 hours, then turn the turkey so that the legs are immersed in the brine. Refrigerate 12 more hours.

3. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove the turkey from the brine and drain well, then wipe clean; pat dry. Discard the brine.

4. Loosely fill with stuffing. Lay on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub with soft butter. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes.

5. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast, basting every 30 minutes with pan drippings, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of the breast registers 180 degrees, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

6. Remove the turkey from the oven and spoon the stuffing into a heatproof dish. Cover the turkey with a tent of foil and let it sit 30 minutes before carving.

Each serving: 529 calories; 78 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 22 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 304 mg. cholesterol; 983 mg. sodium.

Sausage-cornbread stuffing

Time: About 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooling time and 30 minutes to bake extra stuffing as pudding.

Note: The cornbread is best made a day in advance. This recipe makes more stuffing than the average turkey can take, but the extra can be made into a cornbread pudding as indicated below, or just drizzled with a cup of chicken stock and baked.

1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal

1/2cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for pan

4 large eggs, divided

1 large onion, finely diced

3 stalks celery with green leaves, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 medium red pepper, cored, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)

1/3cup chopped fresh sage

1/2cup chopped fresh parsley

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

3 1/2 cups stemmed, diced shiitake mushrooms ( 1/2 pound)

3 1/2 cups diced andouille sausage or fresh chorizo (1 pound)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup whole milk

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and toss with a fork to blend. Combine the buttermilk, oil and 2 of the eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed but still lumpy. Oil a 9-inch-square baking dish and heat it in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and firm. Cool completely before proceeding.

3. Cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, celery, red pepper, sage and parsley.

4. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes, then add the shiitakes. Cook until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the garlic-mushroom mixture to the bowl with the cornbread.

5. Melt the remaining butter in the saute pan and brown the sausage. Add it to the cornbread mixture. Toss until the ingredients are well blended, then season lavishly with salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely.

6. Fill the neck and body cavities of the turkey with the stuffing.

7. Beat the remaining eggs with the milk and mix with the remaining stuffing. Transfer the pudding mixture to a shallow nonstick baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until set, about 30 minutes.

Each serving: 310 calories; 11 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 22 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 96 mg. cholesterol; 577 mg. sodium.