Thursday, September 1, 2011

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Why wait until November to enjoy a turkey dinner? That's what my Thursday clients must have been thinking when they requested a roasted turkey breast, stuffing and cranberry sauce as one of their four meals this week.

I recently made a vow to make dinnertime less stressful at my house*, so I decided to roast a second turkey breast while I was at my client's, to serve my family this evening. When 6:15 pm rolled around, I felt like I had my own Personal Chef - all I had to do was heat and serve, which made everyone happy, most especially me (the chief dish washer was pretty pleased, too).

I adapted my recipe from this one. We're not a gravy-loving family, which is fine because this breast is so moist, it really doesn't need a sauce.

*this is kind of a funny story, involving Hurricane Irene, our 38-hour power shortage, and my very honest child - let me know if you want to hear the rest

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Serves 8 (two breasts)

1 very small onion (or 1/2 large onion) -- peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, zested
6 fresh sage leaves
1 large handful fresh flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons butter
two 2 lb. - 2 1/2-lb. turkey breast -- skin on, boneless or bone-in
(you can prepare one breast; this recipe makes enough herb rub for 2 breasts)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil. Place a rack in it. Spray with nonstick spray.

Put the onion and lemon zest into the bowl of mini food processor; process until fine. Add the sage, parsley and olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pulse until it forms a coarse paste (my paste comes out a little different every time - it's OK).

Put bay leaves and butter in microwave-safe bowl. Nuke 1 minute to melt butter. Remove from heat and set aside.

Put turkey breast(s) on a work surface. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from one end, being careful not to pull it completely off, creating a pocket. Season the turkey breasts generously with salt and pepper and spread the herb paste under the skin of breasts. Transfer the breasts to the roasting pan. Baste the breasts with half of the bay butter. Place turkey into the oven. After 30 minutes, baste the turkey with remaining butter and roast for an additional 30 minutes. At this point, take the temperature of the breast. It will probably be around 110 degrees. Cover with foil if the skin is getting really dark and roast about 20 minutes more, or until the internal temperature of the turkey is 165 degrees.

Remove the pan from oven, transfer the breasts to a platter, cover, and let rest at least for 10 minutes before slicing. (Can also be prepared hours ahead, cooled, placed in fridge and heated in a covered pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and heat 5 - 10 more minutes, or until skin crisps up and turkey is heated through.)

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