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drama free holiday

Turkey-Day is only 4days away!!! Complete Thanksgiving Planning Guide and Timeline.

Honestly, our Thanksgivings are drama-free. But we’ve all heard those stories of families that just let it fly on that special day. When you have a small group, let’s say just four people for dinner, those problems probably won’t arise.  Another thing that is different about Thanksgiving without the crowd is the “turkey-situation”. Unless everyone is a huge fan of leftovers, a big turkey may seem like too much, so instead, how about opting for turkey breast?  It’s most everyone’s favorite part of the bird anyhow, and takes much less time to roast. Or, maybe you have just a few too many people for one turkey and don’t have the room to roast another. The addition of a breast or two is the answer!

I am going to skip my usual two birds and do just that, one bird and 1 extra breast half for our crew this year. My dilemma was how do I show you how to do the breast without having to do one ahead of time for this post? I worked it out by stuffing and roasting a boneless chicken breast instead.

To be clear, the recipe is for turkey breasts, the photos are of chicken breasts. Follow the recipe and you’ll be fine.

Stuffed Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
4 cups dry bread cubes
(I prefer Challah)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on ( about 2 1/2 pounds each)
Turkey Prep and Roasting
1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
12 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
1 teaspoon salt
6 fresh bay leaves
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Calvados or brandy
2 to 3 cups apple cider

Stuffing: In large skillet, melt the butter, add celery and onion and sauté until tender. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour celery mixture over ingredients in bowl. Toss gently with two spoons to coat. Add chicken broth and toss to lightly moistened.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.

Using a sharp paring or boning knife, cut a horizontal pocket in the middle of each breast half, taking extra care to not cut the entire thing wide open.

Place some of the stuffing in each pocket; do not pack it in. Place the remaining stuffing in a casserole dish, cover with foil, and refrigerate until the last 45 minutes of the roasting the turkey, add to the oven and bake, uncovered during that last 45 minutes.

Turkey Prep: Put the onion and lemon zest into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the sage, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pulse until mixture forms a coarse paste.

Put 2 of the bay leaves and the butter into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is just beginning to bubble. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the turkey breasts on a work surface. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from 1 end, being careful not to pull off the skin completely, creating a pocket. Stuff half of the herb paste under the skin of each breast, and spread it evenly under the skin. Place the skin back in place and season the turkey generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer the breasts to the oiled roasting pan, and slide 2 bay leaves underneath each one. (The heat of the pan will release the natural oils in the bay leaves and flavor the breast.) Using a pastry brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay-butter.

Place the turkey in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees. After 20 minutes, baste the turkey breasts with the remaining butter, and roast for an additional 45 minutes, until cooked through, and a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers between 160 to 165 degrees.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing while you make the gravy.

Gravy: Remove the bay leaves and place the roasting pan over a stovetop burner on medium heat.  Sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the Calvados and scrape the pan to lift the browned bits that are stuck to the bottom. Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then, while stirring, pour in the apple cider. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the turkey breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy and stuffing.

Serves 8

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 11.22.10 at 10:19 AM }

This was so yummy with chicken, I’m sure it’ll be even better with turkey!

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