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Roasted Turkey Breast

The in house roasted turkey breast at Russo’s is pretty good. It tastes like actual turkey that may have been leftovers from T-day, as opposed to most deli turkey that is devoid of flavor. That said, it’s also pretty pricey at $9 a pound.

So I picked up a kosher half turkey breast on the bone and roasted it myself. I used Cook’s Illustrated easy roast turkey breast recipe, and it came out pretty well. The skin was crispy and the meat was juicy, not dried out the way white meat can get. I got nice large piece of breast meat, which I sliced up and is ready for sandwiches. I should have weighed it to know exactly how much meat I got, because the breast cost $8.35. When you add in the 75 minutes in the oven and my time and energy, is it cost effective, especially when Russo’s turkey is quite good?

This recipe works equally well with any type of turkey breast. We recommend brining (see procedure below) if using a natural turkey breast (no salt added). Using a kosher turkey breast (soaked in salt water during processing) or self- basting turkey breast (injected with salt and water) eliminates the need for brining. The ingredient list on the turkey breast's package will say whether it's been treated with salt. If brining the turkey, omit the salt from the recipe. If the breast has a pop-up timer, do not remove it. Just ignore it (they pop too late) and follow the times and temperatures in the recipe. A turkey breast doesn't yield much in the way of drippings, so a classic pan gravy recipe is not an option. Instead, try our All-Purpose Gravy. For the gravy and our oven-baked holiday stuffing recipes, see related recipes.

Ingredients

4

tablespoons unsalted butter , softened

3/4

teaspoon table salt

1/4

teaspoon ground black pepper

1

whole turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds), bone-in and skin-on, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels (see note above)

1

cup water

Instructions

1.      1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix butter, salt, and pepper in medium bowl with rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Following illustration 1 below, carefully separate turkey skin from meat over breast; avoid breaking skin.

2.      2. Following illustrations 2 and 3, work butter mixture under skin on both sides of breast and rub skin of turkey to evenly distribute butter over breast. Spray V-rack with nonstick cooking spray and set inside large roasting pan. Place turkey in rack with skin side facing up; pour water into roasting pan.

3.      3. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue to roast turkey until thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour longer. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve (see illustrations below) and serve.

How to Brine a Turkey Breast:
Dissolve 1/2 cup of table salt (or 3/4 cup of kosher salt) in 4 quarts of cold water in a large container; submerge the turkey breast in brine, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for three to six hours. (Do not brine the turkey breast any longer, or it will be too salty.) Rinse the turkey breast under cold water and dry it thoroughly with paper towels.
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