Roasting a half turkey breast is not only simple, but it’s the perfect size for a party of six or less guests with leftovers for another meal, or two. The turkey breast is usually the most popular section of the bird, even though I prefer dark meat, but for most, the white meat wins. Dry brining the breast in a salt, sugar and bay leaf rub for a few hours is how I prefer to begin, to insure my turkey stays nice and juicy. Before roasting, I chop up some fresh herbs and mash them together with softened butter, and rub it both under the skin, and over the entire breast. Then, I pop it into a hot oven for a few minutes, before I crank down the dial for a slow roast until mealtime.
This recipe turns ordinary turkey into one magical meal with crackling skin on top, and tender meat on the inside. It’s easy to slice and serve after it rests a bit, so the juices don’t escape. Then, it’s off to the table to join the other guests for a fabulous meal. It’s a great option for smaller groups and gatherings that don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. The entire bird, or shall I say, half bird, is done in almost an hour, just enough time to mash up some potatoes, and stir-fry some Brussels sprouts.
4 1/2 – 5 pound bone-in turkey breast with skin
2 heaping tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter
1 sprig rosemary
sprig sage leaves
2 stems of fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
- Remove turkey from any packaging and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and bay leaf. Using a fork, mash bay leaf into salt and sugar until combined. Rub salt mixture all over turkey breast on all sides. Place on a rack inside a roasting pan uncovered, and put in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 12 hours.
- Remove turkey from refrigerator. Using paper towels, brush off any excess salt, and wipe pan clean underneath turkey. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a small bowl, add butter. Chop herbs leaves until fine and add to butter, along with black pepper. Stir together until combined. Using your fingertips, work them under breast skin to loosen, and rub with butter. Apply remaining butter all over top and sides of breast.
- Roast turkey for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and add broth to bottom of pan. Continue to roast turkey for 1 hour 45-55 minutes, or until temperature reads 158 degrees (could take slightly longer, if breast weighs more).
- Remove turkey from oven and place on a cutting board. Cover with foil for at least 20 minutes, up to 1 hour. Slice and serve on platter with more fresh herbs and sliced citrus, if desired. Enjoy!