Where has this year gone? I truly can’t believe that it’s time for me to talk turkey already. It seems like it was just yesterday that my mother and father in-law came to visit and I made this for them…but that was last year, before Thanksgiving. Since we weren’t going to be able to have Thanksgiving Day dinner with them, I made a mini-Thanksgiving for us and had this turkey breast for the first time. I’d never made a turkey breast before, always a whole turkey, and if I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting much.
I figured I wasn’t brining it, or stuffing it full of veggies and herbs, as I always do with a large turkey. It would certainly be a decent enough dinner for us, but probably wouldn’t be anything to write home about…because it honestly seemed too easy to be amazing. I didn’t even take pictures of it for the blog last year, and anyone who has eaten at my house in the past year knows that me not taking pictures as I cook is a rarity.
Boy, was I wrong. As soon as we sat down to dinner, my mother in-law said, “You’re going to put this on the blog, right?” Well, I couldn’t. Remember? No pictures! I promised myself that I’d make it again the following year and post it for all of you, because it’s that good. I don’t know how it works, but this simple little turkey recipe produces a perfect turkey breast. It’s so incredibly moist and flavorful, you’d swear that I’d brined it for 24 hours like I do my big bird. It’s simple enough that you can throw it together easily for a smaller Thanksgiving dinner or just for a regular Sunday dinner, as I did last night.
Thanksgiving turkey can be a pretty intimidating thing for some people. It really shouldn’t be. It’s a big bird, no doubt, but if you’re armed with a good recipe, an ovenproof thermometer, and some patience, you’re good to go.
I started with this little guy…
He’s not so pretty there, but give him some time.
To begin, all I did was put the turkey breast, skin side up, in a roasting pan and pop it in a 325* oven for an hour. No basting yet, no buttering or seasoning. Nothing.
A few minutes before my timer went off, I mixed together an amazing concoction of melted butter, a little white wine (you could substitute apple juice if need be), some fresh chopped rosemary, a bit of dried thyme, minced garlic, paprika, and salt.
Once my timer went off, I opened my oven and brushed half of the butter mixture over my turkey.
(I know, it still doesn’t look all that great. Just wait.)
I set my timer for 30 minutes and let it roast some more.
After the 30 minutes, I opened the oven back up and brushed the remaining butter mixture over the turkey.
Then, I closed the oven door and set my thermometer to the magical temperature of 165* F.
**A quick note on thermometers. If you’re going to roast a turkey, or even just a chicken, at any point in your life, I highly recommend getting a digital thermometer with a probe, like this one http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-1470-Digital-Cooking-Thermometer/dp/B00004XSC5/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352732030&sr=8-2&keywords=oven+thermometer+with+probe .
You can get them anywhere. I think I got mine, which is just like the one in the link, at Target. It’s a wonderful little device. You stick the probe in, set it to the temperature you want on the base that stays outside the oven, and it beeps to let you know when you’ve reached the temperature you desire. No more guessing, or opening up the oven constantly, to check the temperature.**
After about an hour more, my timer buzzed, telling me we had reached 165*. I brought my, now beautiful bird out of the oven, and moved him to a cutting board, where I let him sit for about 15 minutes as I got the gravy and sides together.
Letting the bird rest before slicing into it allows those juices to settle in, so they don’t run out of your bird once you slice into it. It will make for easier slicing too.
(See? I told you it would be pretty.)
The gravy was simple enough. I poured the drippings from the pan into a measuring cup, let the fat rise to the top, and I spooned off most of the fat. Then, I added enough chicken broth to get me to 2 cups of liquid. The drippings didn’t amount to much, maybe 1/2 cup, so make sure you have enough chicken broth on hand to make up for it.
I brought the drippings to a boil in a small saucepan on the stove, and then stirred in a mixture of some cornstarch and water, to help thicken it up. This gravy doesn’t end up being super thick and creamy. It does thicken up a bit, and is delicious because of all of the garlic, herbs, butter and wine, but isn’t a creamy gravy.
Look at how dark it is, though.
It’s that dark because it’s packed with rich flavor from that turkey. The chicken broth certainly didn’t darken it up!
We sat down to a wonderful Mini-Thanksgiving-Sunday dinner last night, and we were all pretty happy with how it turned out. Just as I’d remembered, the turkey was moist and deliciously flavorful, and the gravy was amazing. Avery, in true turkey eating form, promptly fell asleep on the couch after dinner, happily satisfied, and her belly full.
OVEN ROASTED TURKEY BREAST WITH HERBS AND WINE
Adapted from BettyCrocker.com
Oven Roasted Turkey Breast with Herbs and Wine
- 1 bone-in whole turkey breast (4 1/2 – 6 lbs.), thawed if frozen
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, or apple juice
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. cold water
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth
- Heat the oven to 325*.
- Place the turkey, skin side up, on a rack in a large, shallow roasting pan. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer so the tip is in the thickest part of the breast and does not touch the bone. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Mix together the melted butter, wine, thyme, rosemary, salt, paprika, and garlic in a small bowl.
- Brush the turkey with half of the butter mixture. Roast for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, brush with the remaining butter mixture. Roast for about an hour more, or until the thermometer comes to 165*F.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes for easier carving.
- Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the pan into a large measuring cup. Let the fat rise to the surface, and skim off most of the fat. Add enough chicken broth to the drippings to measure 2 cups of liquid.
- Heat the drippings and broth to boiling in a small saucepan. Mix the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water. Stir this into the drippings. Boil, and stir for 1-2 minutes, until gravy thickens slightly.
- Serve the gravy with the turkey.