This year we’re all going to celebrate Thanksgiving as scheduled, but the size of our gathering is most likely much smaller. Scaling down recipes so that you don’t have to eat the leftovers until Christmastime, is what most of us are aiming for this year. Even though the next day, we all like to nosh on a spoonful or two of our favorite casserole, possibly enjoy another slice of pie, and use up the sliced turkey in our annual day-after Thanksgiving sandwich, smaller serving sizes is something we’re shooting for this holiday.
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 love the dark meat, but for most, the white meat wins. Dry brining the breast first 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 it together with softened butter, and begin rubbing it both under 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 the end.
The results are divine – a crackling skin on top with tender turkey meat 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 family members for a fabulous meal.
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!