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Add extra flavour to poultry, pork or winter squash this Thanksgiving by brining! It’s an easy technique that uses flavoured liquids to bump up the moisture and juiciness of roasted foods. Here I have used our Sweet Apple Chai to create a brine (recipe follows) for roasted squash that adds incredible flavour to a winter favourite, but it’s equally delicious for roast turkey or pork. This brine concentrate can be made up to a week in advance or frozen for up to a month, so it’s ready and waiting when you need it.

 

Spiced Apple Chai Brine Concentrate Recipe

 

INGREDIENTS
*1 Package of Sweet Apple Chai
* 8 cups of fresh cold water
* 3/4 cup kosher salt (do not use iodized table salt)
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
* 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, sage and parsley
* Optional but recommended:
* 1/2 to 1 cup bourbon
• Strips of orange or lemon peel

FOR BRINING: Whole poultry, pork roast or large winter squash

INSTRUCTIONS
* Combine all the ingredients in a large pot (except herbs, peel, and spirits if using)
* Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar
* Turn off heat, add herbs and bourbon if using, cover and let sit for 2 hours
* Strain and refrigerate brine until needed

WHEN READY TO BRINE
* Pour brine concentrate into a large pot or brining bag
* Add large firm winter squash – halved, or whole turkey or chicken
* Fill with fresh ice-cold water (at least 12 additional cups or enough to cover squashes or poultry)

REFRIGERATE IN BRINE
* For 45 minutes to 1 hour for each pound of squash or meat
Example: 4-pound squash for 3-4 hours or 12-pound turkey for 8-12 hours
* Remove squash or turkey from brine (discard brine) and rinse well (or soak in fresh cold water for 15 minutes) to remove excess salt. Pat until very dry. Continue on with your normal recipe for roasting (with the exception of no extra salt.)

TIPS
* If you’re using squash, save the seeds before you brine and toss with a bit of sea salt and oil and roast at 350 until crisp. Great snack!
* Fill squash half with your favourite cranberry apple stuffing and roast at 375 until done. Finish with some cracked black pepper, toasted walnuts a drizzle with maple syrup. Delicious!

MORE TIPS
* If you enjoy smoked foods, save the strained damp chai mix and create a smoke pouch. Simply add a few dry wood chips, dry bay leaves or dry tea to the wet chai, wrap in a foil pouch, poke holes into the pouch with a fork and you have ready to go smoke pouch. Think smoked winter squash drizzled with honey and roasted walnuts. Or smoked turkey or pork if you’re a meat-eater.

 

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