Procrastinator? No problem. Join Matt Powell, Bwog’s resident chef, for a last minute lesson in Thanksgiving entrées.

Disclaimer: Yours might not look like this.

Tomorrow is the biggest food holiday of the year—a day devoted completely to feasting and drinking and being merry! It’s the only day that almost everyone forgoes any restrictions and pigs out, to the brink of explosion.

As a college student still on campus, I won’t be cooking for a large crowd, just a few close friends. We’re chickening-out (quite literally). Yes, we have forsaken the sacred Thanksgiving turkey for the more manageable chicken. But that doesn’t mean that you have to! Most turkeys come in 10 pounds and up, quite too large for a small group. However, creating a seasonal turkey feast is not out of reach!

Cider-Brined Turkey Breast

This is the method that my friends and I are using for our chicken. Inspired by a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine, I created this recipe.

Serves 4-6


  • 2 boneless turkey breasts, 3-4 lbs. each
  • 1/2 qt. of warm water
  • 3/4 C kosher salt
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 qt. of apple cider
  • 1 handful of peppercorns
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 slices of ginger root
  • 6 smashed garlic cloves
  • 6 green onions, chopped, white and light green parts only
  • Butter (about 2 tbsp.)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 C dry white wine


1. In a very large bowl, stir together the water, salt, and brown sugar until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add in remaining ingredients and allow the brining mixture to cool. Add in turkey breasts and submerge. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. The following day, remove turkey breasts from brine and pat dry. Rub the breasts with the butter and season with a little salt and pepper on the outside. Allow the breasts to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy skillet or cast iron, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Brown the turkey breasts on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Pour white wine into a roasting pan and place turkey breasts on a rack in the roasting pan. Roast the turkey breasts until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees, about 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. If breasts are browning too quickly, cover with foil. Allow turkey to rest for 15 minutes after removing from oven.

Maple-Glazed Turkey Legs:

As you can tell, I’m a fan of brining poultry—I simply don’t think that it is flavorful enough without the brine.

Serves 4


  • 1 qt. warm water
  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ C kosher salt
  • 4 turkey legs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 C white wine
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ½ C maple syrup
  • ¼ C molasses
  • ¼ C balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried sage


1. Stir the warm water, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl until sugar and salt dissolves. Allow the brine to cool. Add in turkey legs and cover. Brine overnight in the fridge.

2. The following day, in a large heavy saucepan, bring wine, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and vinegar to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to reduce by half. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove turkey legs from the brine. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Heat the 2 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet or cast iron over medium heat. Brown the legs on all sides. Place the skillet with turkey legs into the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove turkey legs and flip over. Baste liberally with the maple sauce and season with sage. Place back in the oven and roast another 30-40 minutes. Remove once more, flip, and baste/season again. Roast for an additional 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 15 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Turkey via Wikimedia Commons