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8.11.16

Thanksgiving PCOS Friendly Baked Turkey with Brussels Sprouts

Baked Turkey with Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Pomegranate Relish

Hi Loves!

I'm not a professional chef, I just enjoy cooking so therefore I've based this blog post off my experience. Cooking is fun for me and I've learned how to cook from my mom and my grandma. My mom always looks forward to having me cook for the holidays. Even though we live across the country from each other, it is always a way for us to come together and share our recipes.

Since it is coming up on us, I just wanted to make an early Thanksgiving meal that was friendly for us ladies with PCOS. Most of the time Thanksgiving meals are rich in dairy and gluten which sometimes makes us feel sick so the goal of this recipe is to try and avoid that feeling while enjoying wonderful flavors.

I love a moist slice of turkey with anything so this blog post mostly focuses on the turkey and how to keep it nice and moist but I will share the recipes for everything else on my plate in additional posts moving forward. If you've had Turkey before, you know it can be dry so you wanna do everything to preserve the moisture. Over the years of cooking whole Turkey or just Turkey Breasts, I've learned that it's all about marinading it ahead of time and covering the Turkey while cooking to preserve as much of the juiciness of the meat as possible.

If I'm cooking an entire turkey, I will brine it for a whole day, either in a salt water solution or I use buttermilk. I usually heavily marinate mine as well because, in addition to being notoriously easily dried, turkey doesn't carry much flavor for me. In this case, I just soaked half of a split Turkey breast (since it was just for my husband and me and a whole bird would be pointless) in a salt water solution for around 8-9 hours. By the time my husband got home from work, the turkey was ready to be removed from the brine and rinsed. I ran the turkey breast under some cold water to get the excess salt off of it and then patted it dry with some paper towels. Make sure you dry the meat, this will ensure that the marinade clings better to the meat.

For the marinade, I love a good garlic and ginger mash which I use to rub the protein down. I know some people don't particularly like ginger flavor so you can always marinade with flavors you enjoy, like butter and sage or Italian herbs and olive oil. Ginger is typically associated with Asian flavor but I personally just enjoy that little bit of warm zing. I also always recommend using fresh garlic over granulated or dried; the flavor is so much better in my opinion and we aren't in a big hurry today.

Let's get started,

Ingredient list:

Turkey - I used one half of a split breast
Garlic - 4 Cloves, mashed/minced
Ginger - 1 Tablespoon, mashed/minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2 Tablespoons
Freshly Ground Black Pepper - 1 Teaspoon
Butter - 1 Tablespoon
Salt to taste

Ain't she a beauty!

The first step is to get the turkey breast ready. As I mentioned above, in this recipe, I brined the turkey breast in a salt water solution for roughly 8-9 hours. If you are cooking a whole bird, I suggest brining for around 24 hours. Once the breast has brined, take and rinse it under cold water for a few minutes to get the excess salt off. Pat the breast down with paper towels until it is dry. Go ahead and lay the dried breast in a oven-safe dish or roasting pan of your choice, just make sure the turkey is neither lost in a huge pan or cramped and hanging over the sides.

The next step is for the rub/marinade. This is my typical mash of garlic and ginger that I love using on most of my poultry. You will take the garlic and ginger and either mash it up in a mortar and pestle or mince both of them up well. The goal is to open up the garlic and ginger and get those flavors exposed. Once you are finished, generously rub the turkey with it. Again, with a whole turkey you will probably triple the amount of rub you use. If the skin of your turkey is intact, then I suggest chopping up the butter into smaller pats and planting the butter bits under the skin. This will help to keep the turkey moist but also crisp up the skin slightly. Finish up by drizzling the olive oil over the turkey and sprinkling the salt and pepper over it.

Once the prep work for the turkey is complete, get the oven preheated to 350 degrees. I covered the tray with aluminum foil, enough to completely cover the turkey and seal it in really tight because trust me that's what you want, you want moisture to stay inside the tray and keep that turkey really moist.

For me, this size Turkey breast took about 90 minutes. Try to avoid continuously opening your oven because you'll lose heat and you want everything to stay good and even throughout the cooking process. I pulled the turkey out once and cut into the end of the breast to see if it was cooked through. I would usually say that this is a big NO-NO but our meat thermometer was broken and we had no other way to check. For me, I was pleased to find that it was done (and I wouldn't need to cut into it anymore, YAY!) so I went ahead and pulled off the foil, cranked the oven broil and stuck the turkey breast back in to get the skin nice and crispy. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE TURKEY! This is very important. It shouldn't take more than about 5 minutes to crisp up nicely. Any longer and the skin will burn and the meat will start to dry.

If you did everything right, 5 minutes later, Viola! Perfect Turkey! Your turkey should be juicy and flavorful all by itself. For my husband and me, I went ahead and made a quick Sage Brown Butter to spoon over the top and make it that much better. I will share this simple recipe in another post.

Now, let's work on one of the sides.

I'm not a huge fan of vegetables unless I make them because I like to season them to my taste. I absolutely HATE vegetables that are just steamed and slightly salted. The child in me will not eat bland steamed vegetables. It's just one of those things I'm picky about.

For this meal, I used some fresh Brussels Sprouts. The way I make them, you will never want to just steam them with butter and salt again!

Ingredient List:

Brussels Sprouts - 2 Cups, Sliced into halves
Garlic - 2 Cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 Tablespoons
Freshly Ground Pepper - 1/3 Teaspoon
Salt to taste

If your favorite veggies are steamed, please give these a try and let me convert you!

The first step in making these delicious nuggets is to rinse them under some cold water to get off whatever bit of dust or particulate is still attached. When that's done, you will chop them in half and let them dry in a colander for a few minutes. Once the sprouts are dry, put them in a bowl and toss in the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then toss the sprouts so that they are all coated evenly with the mixture. You want the oil and garlic to seep into the nooks and crannies of the Brussels Sprouts so they hold on to the flavors.

Next, set your oven to 350 degrees. If you are working on the turkey as well, you can cook these at the same time.

Then, lay down some parchment paper on a shallow pan, large enough to give the sprouts plenty of room to cook. Dump out the sprouts onto the pan and move them around so that they are in an even layer. You will put the pan in the warm oven and let the Brussels Sprouts cook for 25-30 minutes or until the outer leaves and miscellaneous garlic bits JUST start turning golden brown. When you are confident that your Brussels Sprouts are cooked well, pull them out of the oven and let them cool slightly before serving with the delightful turkey breast that we prepared earlier.

That's it! I did a slightly impromptu Cranberry and Pomegranate relish that pairs wonderfully with the Turkey and Brussels Sprouts. It certainly brightened up the dish in an amazing way as you can see in the pictures below. I'm going to tweak the recipe for that and I will post it as soon as I can. If you simply can't wait to try it, and who would blame you, leave me a comment and I'll send you what I've prepared so far for that recipe.

I hope y'all enjoy this delicious, simple recipe. Please Comment and let me know how you like it! Share this post and lets help out everyone that's struggling with PCOS! Thank you!


The Finished Product: Coming soon to a Thanksgiving meal near you!
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