Rachel Willen's Ras Al Hanout and Honey Glazed Turkey Brisket with Apricots, Figs and Plums
A Delicious Passover Dish
Rachel Willen is the founder of Food-fix.com
For the brine: (allow for 2-3 hours of brining prior to braising. This is not an overnight brine….overnight would be too long for a boneless turkey breast. This is a quick brine and should not be used for more thant 2-3 hours)
Dissolve sugar and salt 1 quart of warmed water. In a large pot or container that has a lid, place turkey breasts and remaining 3 quarts of room temperature or cold water. Add peppercorns and warmed sugar/salt water. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Remove breasts from brine solution, pat dry and hold aside at room temperature if you are going to prepare to cook right away…or refrigerate until about 45-60 minutes before cooking. Allow the meat to come to room temperature, if possible before cooking.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season turkey breasts with a good amount of salt and pepper and rub a generous amount of Ras al Hanout spice blend on all surfaces of the meat until it is completely coated. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, place one turkey breast in the pan and allow the surface to brown and sear without moving it for 2-3 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side and also brown any other larger surfaces by holding the breast with tongs and pressing surfaces to the hot pan. Remove breast to plate or roasting pan you plan to use for the braising and hold. (The pan should be big enough to accommodate the meat in one layer…not stacked.) Repeat browning steps with the other breast.
When breasts are browned, using the same pan with the browned bits from the searing process, add the Madeira wine and Sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom. Add the onions and cook them over medium heat until they are softened and the liquid in the pan is reduced by half the volume. Add the chicken stock, diluted honey, ½ teaspoon of Ras al Hanout, and the dried fruit and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the contents of the pan into the roasting pan with the turkey breasts, making sure to evenly distribute the solids in the liquid around the meat. The breasts should be ¾ of the way submerged in the liquid but not totally submerged. If the breasts are totally covered than you may want to use a larger roasting pan or remove some of the liquid so that they are only partially submerged. Conversely, if you find you don't have enough liquid to submerge the breasts by ¾, then transfer to a smaller roasting pan, or add additional stock or water until they are.
Cover the roasting pan tightly with tin foil or a well-fitting cover that will hold in moisture. Place in oven and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees F and cook for an additional 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the brisket from the oven. Uncover. Carefully supporting the brisket with two spatulas or large forks, one at a time, transfer to a cutting board and slice, against the grain of the meat, into ¾ inch or so slices (not to thin as to make them fall apart while cutting, but not too thick either.)
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain ¾ of the juices from the pan into a saucepan. Return the solids to the original roasting pan. Return the meat to the pan with the remaining juices and fruit/onion mixture. Reduce the pan juices in the saucepan at a high heat for 8-10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and season.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and ½ cup of cold water. Add half the mixture to the reduced pan juices and bring to a simmer, allowing it to thicken. It should thicken somewhat but not become too thick. You can add more of the cornstarch mixture if you want a thicker gravy, but add a little at a time so you can control the thickness. Once you've reached the desired consistency, remove the gravy from the heat. Add a tablespoon of margarine or butter to "finish" the sauce and give it a nice sheen. Pour the gravy over the sliced turkey. Serve, or hold in a warming oven (130 degrees F) until ready to serve. Can be made ahead, refrigerated at this point and reheated in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes before serving.
* Ras al Hanout can be found in the bottled spice section of most major chain grocery stores or middle eastern/morroccan specialty food stores, or online at www.zamourispices.com.