Pomegranate-brined turkey

The tart flavor of pomegranate has become a hot food trend. Packed with antioxidants, this ruby red fruit combats not only heart disease, but also breast, prostate and skin cancer. It is also thought to ease menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.

Pomegranate, which can be used in just about any recipe that calls for fruit, adds an exotic and healthful component to your holiday turkey.

Pomegranate-brined turkey

Time to table: 14 hours (1 hour preparation plus 8 to 10 hours brining, 2 1/2 to 3 hours roasting)
Makes: 10 to 12 servings

juice from 8—12 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 4 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
16 cups water
1 cup coarse kosher salt
15 black peppercorns,
slightly crushed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon sage

1 12- to 15-lb. turkey, thawed if purchased frozen
2 teaspoons each sage, rosemary, thyme, poultry seasonings, and crushed black peppercorns that have been mixed together
1 1/2 cups celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions

juice from 6—9 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 3 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1/2 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate
black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth

1. Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*

2 Line a pot or tub large enough to hold the brine and turkey with a food-safe plastic bag. Combine all brine ingredients in bag, making sure all the salt has been fully dissolved.

3. Place the turkey breast-side down in the brine; refrigerate or surround the pot with ice packs in an insulated cooler for about 8 to 10 hours or overnight.

4. Score 1 fresh pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)

5. After brining turkey, rinse and pat dry.

6. Coat outside skin with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

7. Rub the turkey inside and outside with herb mixture.

8. Place chopped vegetables in a shallow roasting pan.

9. Place turkey on top of vegetables.

10. Roast at 325°F for 12 to 14 minutes per pound (internal temperature should read 160°F when a meat thermometer is inserted in thigh area).

11. In a saucepan, reduce 3 cups pomegranate juice by half to make glaze. Mix with black pepper and arils.

12. Cover turkey with pomegranate glaze and allow to rest covered with foil for 20 minutes before carving. Prepare gravy while turkey is resting.

1. Remove turkey from the pan.

2. Place vegetables in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

3 Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the pan drippings in the roasting pan.

4. Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium heat. Cook drippings and flour for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate flour with drippings. Add processed vegetables and 3 cups of chicken broth.

5. Cook until desired consistency. Gravy can be thinned by adding more chicken broth.

* For 7 cups of juice, cut 14—21 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

Nutrients per serving (4 oz.): 554 calories, 55g protein, 39g carbohydrate, 20g total fat (6g saturated), 159mg cholesterol, 1297mg sodium, 0g dietary fiber, 3mcg vitamin A RE, 3mg vitamin C.

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