Cider-Brined Turkey Breast with Star Anise and Cinnamon

Cider-Brined Turkey Breast with Star Anise and Cinnamon

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1 quarts plus 1 cup apple cider 
1/2 cup kosher salt plus more 
1/2 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar 
8 whole black peppercorns 
4 whole star anise pods
3 garlic cloves, smashed 
3 scallions, white parts only, trimmed, split lengthwise 
3 1/4”-thick slices unpeeled ginger 
3 dried shitake mushrooms 
2 3”-4” cinnamon sticks
2 sprigs cilantro 
1 5-6 lb. skin-on, whole turkey breast
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into sixths 
Melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (for basting)


Bring 1 quart cider, 1/2 cup salt, and the next 10 ingredients to a boil in a very large (16-qt.) pot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in 3/4 gallon (12 cups) cold water. Add turkey to brine and press down to submerge. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place turkey breast on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the remaining 1 cup of cider and 1 1/2 cups water in roasting pan. Scatter apples around. Brush turkey with butter.
Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test my turkey in several places and with two different thermometers, which might be overkill.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
Serve the pan juices and the apples alongside the turkey.