The fact that tea wasn’t served at the first Thanksgiving won’t stop us from incorporating it into as many aspects of our modern day Thanksgiving dinner as possible. The folks over at Bon Appetite have the right idea. See: tea-brined turkey with tea and lemon gravy. The tannin in tea – Black Tea specifically – acts as a natural meat tenderizer.
Be sure to wash your turkey down with a delicious glass of Grossmutters Punsch or Grandmother’s Punch, a spiced rum and tea punch usually enjoyed warm at midnight on Christmas Eve. And what would Thanksgiving dinner be without a batch of earl grey tea cookies?
Even if you aren’t buying this whole “tea brining” bit, we could all use a cup of tea to decompress during the hectic holiday season. It’ll also help grandpa (and everyone else) digest that overwhelming Thanksgiving dinner – this way, instead of passing out on the couch, you’ll all make it to that pumpkin pie.
If, after all that food, the thought of pumpkin pie makes you queasy, indulge in a cup of Art of Tea’s pumpkin pie dessert tea, a select herbal blend of holiday spices like exotic cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and honeybush.
As Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season (peace, goodwill towards men etc.) let’s not forget the peacemaking aspect of tea. With everyone’s nerves on edge, altercations are sure to transpire –
Just Remember… The next time you needlessly snap at a friend or family member, reach for a pot of tea. Remember, even Nixon was given tea as part of a peace offering with China.
Grilled Tea-Brined Turkey with Tea-and-Lemon Gravy
from Bon Appetit : November 2004 http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Tea-Brined-Turkey-with-Tea-and-Lemon-Gravy-231086
• 5 lemons, divided
• 18 Earl Grey tea bags
• 11 4-inch-long rosemary sprigs, divided
• 2 cups coarse kosher salt
• 1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 12 cups ice cubes
• 2 turkey-size oven-roasting bags
• 1 22-pound turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for gravy
• 1 12 3/4x9x2-inch disposable aluminum pan
• 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
• 1 medium onion, quartered
• 1/4 cup olive oil
Bring 6 1/2 quarts water to boil in large pot. Remove from heat. Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from 3 lemons (yellow part only). Add peel, tea bags, and 6 rosemary sprigs to water; steep 20 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add salt and sugar; stir to dissolve. Stir in lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm. Add ice to reduce temperature to below 45°F.
Place 1 roasting bag inside the second, forming 2 layers. Place inside large pot. Place turkey in roasting bags, breast side down. Pour brine over turkey. Tie bags tightly, eliminating any air pockets. Refrigerate 36 to 48 hours. Or, place bags into large cooler, pour brine over turkey, and tie bags securely. Pour ice over and around turkey in bags. Place lid securely on cooler. Check twice a day to ensure that turkey is covered with ice (some ice will melt). Remove top rack from grill. Place disposable aluminum baking pan in center of barbecue (if using 2-burner gas grill, place pan on 1 side of grill; if using 3-burner grill, place pan over center burner).
Prepare barbecue (medium-low heat). If using charcoal grill, arrange coals on each side of aluminum baking pan, dividing equally. (You will need to add about 6 briquettes to each side of aluminum pan every 30 minutes to maintain temperature while cooking turkey.) If using 3-burner gas grill, light burner(s) on left and right, leaving center burner(s) off. If using 2-burner gas grill, light burner on side opposite disposable pan. Insert instant-read thermometer into top vent of grill. Maintain temperature at around 350°F.
Drain turkey; discard brine. Pat turkey dry. Pierce 2 lemons all over with fork. Stuff turkey with lemons, 5 sprigs rosemary, celery, and onion. Tie legs together. Brush turkey all over with oil.
Place turkey directly on grill above aluminum pan. Close grill. Adjust temperature to maintain 350°F. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 3 hours. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent with foil. Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Serve with gravy.
• 8 cups low-salt chicken broth
• 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
• 1 medium onion, halved
• 1 fresh rosemary sprig
• Neck, heart, and gizzard, reserved from 22-pound turkey
• 1 lemon
• 1 Earl Grey tea bag
• 5 tablespoons butter
• 5 tablespoons flour
• 1/2 cup whipping cream
• 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
Combine first 6 ingredients in large saucepan. Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from lemon (yellow part only). Add peel to broth mixture. Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat and simmer until neck and gizzard are tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove neck, heart, and gizzard from broth; finely chop heart and gizzard. Pull meat from neck and chop. Strain broth. Return broth to pan; boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add tea bag. Cover; steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bag.
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook until light brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Whisk in broth and cream. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened and smooth, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Stir in grated peel and neck, heart, and gizzard pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
Spiced Rum and Tea Punch
This German drink, called Grossmutters Punsch (Grandmother’s Punch), is usually enjoyed warm at midnight on Christmas Eve. It can also be served as a refreshing chilled drink. For a festive touch, add a cinnamon stick to each glass.
Makes 6 servings
from Bon Appetit : December 1996 http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/drink/views/Spiced-Rum-and-Tea-Punch-200566
• 2 1/4 cups water
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
• 16 whole cloves
• 16 whole allspice
• 1 vanilla bean, chopped
• 1 tea bag (preferably Earl Grey)
• 1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
• 1/4 cup dark rum
• Crushed ice (if serving punch chilled)
• Combine water, honey, sugar, ginger, cloves, allspice and vanilla bean in heavy large saucepan. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until honey and sugar dissolve. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bag; let steep 5 minutes. Strain syrup into bowl. Add wine and rum. If serving cold, refrigerate until chilled. Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
• If serving cold, fill 6 glasses with crushed ice. Ladle punch into glasses. If serving hot, bring to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour punch into cups.
Earl Grey Tea Cookies
From Real Simple : May 2005 http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/earl-grey-tea-cookies-10000001046907/
32 min | 20 min prep | Serves 72
• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tablespoons earl grey tea leaves, from approximately 6 tea bags
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon water
• 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized.
3. Add vanilla, water, and butter; pulse together until a dough is formed.
4. Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a sheet of plastic wrap.
5. Roll each half into a 12-inch log.
6. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
7. Slice each log into 1/3 inch thick pieces.
8. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil, 2 inches apart.
9. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes.
10. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.