When José Andrés commandeered an army of chefs and other kitchen pros to make Thanksgiving dinner for 40,000 in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, they served roasted brined turkey breasts. We've adapted the recipe used in Puerto Rico for this roast turkey and gravy.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2018


Recipe Summary

1 hr
12 hrs 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine allspice, juniper, coriander, cloves and star anise in a large stockpot or canning pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 20 cups water, sugar, salt, garlic heads, bay leaves, 1 bunch thyme and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, peel and juice oranges and lemons. Take the brine off the heat and add the citrus juices and peels and scallions; stir to combine. Add ice and stir until melted.

  • Remove giblets from turkey (reserve for stock, if desired). Place the turkey in a container large enough to hold it and the brine, such as a clean 5-gallon bucket, similar-size clean cooler or brining bag. Add the brine. Place a plate on top of the turkey, if necessary, to make sure the turkey is submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. (If it's cold enough--below 40 degrees F--you can leave it outdoors.)

  • Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F. Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan and coat with cooking spray.

  • Combine butter, rosemary and the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl. Thoroughly pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Place on the prepared rack and loosen the skin over the breast and legs. Spread the herb butter under the skin and rub the outside of the turkey with oil.

  • Roast the turkey until the skin starts to brown in spots, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast for 30 minutes more. Carefully place onion, carrots, celery and the remaining 4 cloves garlic in the bottom of the pan. Tent the breast with foil. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 160 degrees F, 30 minutes to 1 hour more.

  • Carefully tilt the turkey so the juices from the cavity flow into the pan. Transfer the turkey to a clean cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

  • To prepare gravy: Place the roasting pan over two burners on high heat. Add orange juice and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add stock (or broth) and bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch and the remaining 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Add to the pan, whisking constantly; cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve and serve with the turkey.


To make ahead: Brine turkey (Steps 1 to 3) up to 2 days ahead.

Equipment: 16-qt. or larger stockpot or canning pot

Nutrition Facts

3 ounces turkey and 2 tablespoons gravy
264 calories; protein 32.4g; carbohydrates 3.9g; dietary fiber 0.1g; sugars 1.9g; fat 12.3g; saturated fat 4.1g; cholesterol 126.9mg; vitamin a iu 124.8IU; vitamin c 5.1mg; folate 13.1mcg; calcium 20.6mg; iron 1.3mg; magnesium 35.5mg; potassium 312.8mg; sodium 485.7mg; added sugar 1g.

4 1/2 lean protein, 1 fat