Christina Chaey recommends this one ingredient for a more flavorful turkey, interview

Kikkoman Brined Turkey recipe, photo provided by Kikkoman
Kikkoman Brined Turkey recipe, photo provided by Kikkoman /

Whether it is the first time or an annual event, ensuring that a more flavorful turkey arrives on the holiday table is important to any cook. Although there can be traditional family recipes or food hacks from various sources, the reality is the pantry holds a secret ingredient that will make the feast full of flavor. Instead of phoning a friend, take some advice from Christina Chaey.

As the former senior food editor at Bon Appétit and having honed her skills at Untitled in New York City, the talented chef and recipe creator appreciates that a well-stocked pantry can hold a bounty of possibilities. While the professional chef appreciates how umami can make any dish more enjoyable, that concept might not be front of mind for the home cook. When cooking a turkey, a punch of umami is even more important.

Recently, Christina Chaey spoke to FoodSided about her Soy Sauce Brined and Glazed Turkey. While many people grab that bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce for sushi or a variety of Asian inspired dishes, it can be the secret ingredient to a more flavorful turkey.

In this recipe, Christina recommends making a more robust wet brine by adding some soy sauce. Although she mentioned that is not too much, the impact that the ingredient has is abundant.

First, she said that the Kikkoman “does a really wonderful job of flavor enhancing the turkey.” She went on to explain that “it makes it a little more umami than usual.”

The second part is that the soy sauce “helps with the browning process.” Christina explained that “the Kikkoman soy sauce has that kind of the traditional, reddish brown color. It does a long way toward getting that beautiful color on the roast turkey.”

Also, Christina recommended making a little extra brine and turn it into a glaze. She said to combine some Kikkoman soy sauce, maple syrup, sherry vinegar, butter and some spices like cinnamon, and a little orange peel. After the mixture reduces, use that glaze to brush onto the turkey during the last hour of cooking. It will not only add more color, but it also creates a delicious final seasoning layer.

And, using that soy sauce is not just limited to the turkey. Christina suggested complementing those flavors in other side dishes, like the gravy. A little soy sauce in a gravy can be a delightful flavor booster. Even that store bought gravy can get a simple upgrade with this food hack.

In the end, Kikkoman soy sauce might be the secret to a more flavorful turkey this holiday season. While sharing is caring, no one has to know this new secret ingredient. It could be the special recipe that has people raving for years to come.

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