It seems as if we were barely past Halloween, and now we are preparing to gather friends and family in celebration of Thanksgiving.
A dilemma for many holiday cooks during this busy time is what to prepare. Should you go for the traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings? Or are there other things that might make this year’s Thanksgiving dinner a bit different from in years past?
Besides some of the suggestions of cooking with tea that we’ve explored here on our blog in the past, we’ve gathered some new recipes to try that can turn your Thanksgiving into something extraordinary!
Tea Adds Dimension
Whether you choose to cook with loose or bagged green, black, or herbal teas, each can add a unique dimension of flavor to any dish.
- Infusions: For recipes that call for marinades, brining, steaming, or poaching, you can substitute some or all of the water called for in a recipe with tea.
- Rubs: Meat rubs can be a fantastic way to tenderize whatever type of meat you are serving. Use an herb grinder or mortar and pestle to grind your favorite tea into a fine powder. Then rub into the meat that you will be cooking. Tea is a natural meat tenderizer because of the tannins contained within the tea leaves. Even dry tea can help make meat tender and juicy.
The classic dish for many Thanksgiving tables is that of turkey. When brined properly, this taste of home can’t be beat.
If you’ve never done it before, brining it will help make your turkey moist and delicious. The following is a recipe for a 10-to-12-pound bird. The turkey should be thawed and allowed to sit in the brine in the refrigerator for 17 -24 hours.
¾ cup of salt
1 ½ gallons of water
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
4 or 5 Bags of Sir Jason Winters’ Classic Herbal Blend Tea with Sage, or if you prefer loose tea, use 2 tablespoons of loose Sir Jason Winters’ Classic Blend Herbal Tea with Sage in a muslin tea bag.
Combine the ingredients and bring to a boil for 2 – 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove the pot with the brine from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
Place the turkey into a large stockpot or container. Pour the cooled brine over the turkey until it is completely covered. If you do not have enough of the brine, add cold water. Place in the refrigerator and allow the bird to soak in the brine for 17-24 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine to remove the excess salt. Place in a large baking pan and allow the bird to sit for 1 hour to dry. The drying step will help give make the skin of the turkey crisp and golden brown.
Brush the outside of the bird with melted unsalted butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 425° F for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake for 2-3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey’s breast reads 170° F.
Remove from the oven and let rest 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Tea Rubbed Bison or Salmon
If you do not feel like going with a turkey this year, why not try a different main course, brought to us, courtesy of the Indigenous peoples of this country? Salmon and bison were both considered staple sources of protein that were both plentiful and delicious. After your holiday meal, you might even be tempted to have them more often.
Tea Rubbed Bison in Cranberry Sauce
Bison are enjoying a bit of a resurgence across the country. This naturally lean meat has a rich taste without being too gamey. Here is a recipe that is sure to be a hit even after the holidays!
To prepare the rub, combine
1 Tbsp. Sir Jason Winters’ Classic Blend Tea with Chaparral, ground fine.
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Mix the ingredients thoroughly, then liberally rub them into the bison steaks. Allow to marinate for 4 hours. If you have any extra rub leftover from this step, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Cook the bison steaks for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and cover.
To make the sauce, prepare a strong infusion for one cup of your favorite Sir Jason Winter’s tea. We recommend using Sir Jason Winters’ Raspberry Flavored Tea to emphasize the berry taste. To this add:
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste, or add a pinch of the leftover bison rub.
Bring the tea and cranberries to a simmer till reduced to half. Add the cream to bring the sauce to the desired consistency. Spoon over the steaks or serve on the side.
Garlic Juniper Berry & Green Tea Marinated Salmon
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. of Kosher or Pink Himalayan salt
1 cup of a strong infusion of Sir Jason Winters’ Green Herbal Tea (GHT)
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. juniper berries
2 Tbsp. of white wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay
Place the salmon into a container or plastic sealable bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Remove from the marinade and set aside. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25-30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Adding Tea to Holiday Side Dishes
You can also infuse tea bags directly into the water, heavy cream, or milk used to make gravies or used to whip up mashed potatoes. If your recipe calls for broth or stock, substitute a cup of your favorite Sir Jason Winters tea and watch the flavors of your side dishes pop!
You can even add tea to dessert dishes to give them a unique taste. Why not prepare your favorite gelatin by substituting the water with our Sir Jason Winters Peach Flavored Tea or Sir Jason Winters Raspberry Flavored tea instead? The possibilities of how you incorporate tea into your next holiday meal are almost endless.
“The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook” by Gloria Bley Miller, 1980, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY
“Marinades for the Rest of Us: Easy and Delicious Marinades” by Emily Gatrell, Relevant Daearen, 2021, Amazon Direct Publishing, Seattle, WA
“Cooking with Friends” by Nick Stellino, 2009 KCTS 9, Public Television,
“The Way of Tea” by Kam Chuyen Lam & Tin Yu Lam, 2002, Barrons Educational Series, Hauppauge, NY