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Funky Bird (a.k.a. Southwestern Turkey Breast)

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • Brine
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 oranges, cut in half
  • 2 jalapeÒos, minced (with their seeds)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • One 6 1/2-pound whole turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
  • Poblano Chocolate Mole, optional


  • To make the brining liquid, combine all the ingredients with 1 gallon water in a large nonreactive container and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Put the turkey in a large colander and rinse under cold running water. Add the turkey breast to the brine, cover, and refrigerate, turning the breast occasionally, for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours. (If you donít have a large nonreactive container, put the turkey breast in a large heavy-duty plastic garbage bag. Make the marinade in a large bowl and pour the marinade into the bag. Put the bag inside a large container or roasting pan in case it should leak or drip.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375?F.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine (discard the brine) and put it breast side up in a large heavy roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub the turkey with the vegetable oil, and sprinkle on both sides with the Essence.
  • Roast until deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 180?F, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with the mole if desired.