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Ideas for Roasted Turkey Breast for T-Day?

Hi all,

This year instead of a 20+ pounder for Thanksgiving Day, I was thinking of a 10 or 12 lb turkey and a turkey breast... most of my family wants the white meat anyway.

Any tips, tricks, advice, interesting recipes for a roasted turkey breast? My family expects the usual turkey treatment for the whole bird (sage, thyme, parsley, pepper, salt only!), so it might be fun to do something a little different with the breast.

Might consider using the grill (weber-gas) if the weather here in chicagoland cooperates.

(no bread stuffing recipes, please, as I am gluten(wheat) intolerant)


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  1. My family does a Kahlua Glazed turkey.

    1/3 cup apricot jam
    1/3 cup Kahlua
    Strain jam or smooth in a blender or processor
    Add Kahlua and mix well
    Baste throughout roasting period.

    You may add seasoning to this mixture as well.
    If you line the botton of the pan with carrots and onions they will carmelize in the juices during roasting. And the leftover "gravy" is fantastic.

    2 Replies
    1. re: KitchenAid

      Would you say the coffee flavor can be identified, or does it all blend in to turkey gravy?

      1. re: blue room

        It blends. You taste a subtle sweetness, almost as if you used maple syrup, but deeper.

        My mom will glaze yams and cranberries as well sometimes.

    2. How about turkey mole, or chile verde?

      1. I like to put some thyme, garlic and pepper and salt mixed into butter under the skin. I then roast the breast on top of a bed of apple chunks, onion and garlic. When I make it for a dinner on its own, I usually toss in some yam and potato pieces to roast.

        1. If you do it, it's much better with the skin and on the bone.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Karl S

            Steven Raichlen has a fabulous recipe for Turkey Pastrami. It's in his original Barbecue Bible.

          2. Steven Raichlen has a fabulous recipe for Turkey Pastrami. It's in his original Barbecue Bible

            1. I cook just the breast, and have been doing so for years. Cooking just the turkey breast makes life much easier (no worrying about drying out the breast in order to fully cook the thighs). No brining necessary. I get a Diestel's organic breast from Whole foods -- it comes in its own jet net, saving a lot of hassle. (Note: do not remove breast from jet net, just clip away a few strands of the net to push in fruit stuffing, then "sew" up with kitchen twine.) These recipes are from a great restaurant in Austin, Texas, Hudson's on the Bend. I cook the bird on my Weber - works great. Also, while you don't have to smoke the breast, smoking it does produce great results. I don't know if you can eat cornbread, but if so, everyone always loves the stuffing listed below.

              Smoked Turkey Breast With Brandied Fruit Stuffing
              Fruit Stuffing:
              1 cup julienned yellow onions
              4 tablespoons butter
              2 tablespoons minced garlic
              1⁄2 cup dried apples, large dice
              1⁄2 cup dried apricots, julienned
              1⁄2 cup dried golden raisins
              1⁄2 cup dried cherries
              2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
              3⁄4 cup brown sugar
              1 cup raspberry vinegar
              salt and white pepper to taste
              1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans
              1⁄2 cup brandy
              1⁄2 pound applewood smoked bacon, cooked and minced
              1 tablespoon Pernod

              Caramelize onions and butter. Add garlic and saute briefly. Add fruit, jalapenos, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients. Cool.
              The Turkey:
              5-10 pound boneless turkey breast in Jet-Net
              Brandied Fruit Stuffing

              Snip away a few strands of Jet-Net where you can access the interior of the breast. Stuff the breast with as much Brandied Fruit Stuffing as possible. Don’t worry if it oozes out the sides a bit.
              Smoke the breast at roughly 300o for 11⁄2 to 2 hours; then roast in oven until internal temperature of meat is at least 145o (meat will continue cooking after it is removed from oven). Allow to sit at least 15 minutes before slicing.

              Harvest Cider Sauce:
              11⁄2 quarts turkey stock (see below)
              1 quart apple juice concentrate
              1⁄2 cup garlic, minced
              1⁄2 cup shallots, minced
              1⁄4 pound turkey livers and giblets
              1 cup bourbon
              1 tablespoon brown sugar
              salt and white pepper to taste
              6 tablespoons corn starch

              Combine the stock, concentrate, garlic and shallots and bring to a boil in large saucepan; then reduce to simmer. Add gizzards and livers and poach remove them and cool. Dice them finely.
              Return sauce to boil and skim any scum. Add bourbon, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, then thicken with cornstarch. Adjust seasonings and add diced livers and gizzards right before serving.
              Turkey Stock:
              6 turkey legs, roughly chopped
              1⁄2 cup white wine
              2 ounces oil
              4 ribs celery
              1 onion, quartered
              1 tablespoon peppercorns
              3 bulbs garlic
              3 bay leaves
              11⁄2 gallons water

              Heat a roasting pan in a 350o oven. Add oil and heat. Add turkey legs and roast, turning occasionally to brown on all sides, about 2 hours. Deglaze pan with white wine. Transfer legs and liquid to stock pot, and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 2 hours, down to about 3 quarts.

              Cornbread Stuffing With Liver Pate
              3 onions, diced
              1 bunch celery, diced
              4 tablespoons garlic, minced
              4 tablespoons rubbed sage
              1⁄2 pound butter
              2 red bell peppers, diced
              2 poblano peppers, diced
              2 jalapenos, diced
              3⁄4 cup liver pate, diced
              2 cups corn kernels
              16 cups cooked cornbread, crumbled
              salt and black pepper to taste
              1-2 cups turkey stock

              In butter, sauté onions, celery, garlic and sage. Add peppers, sauté briefly, and remove from heat. Add liver and corn. Fold mixture into cornbread, season with salt and pepper, moisten with turkey stock as desired, and turn into a well-buttered 12x18x2 inch pan.
              Bake at 350o until hot through and brown on top, about 45 minutes.

              Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir
              1 tablespoon vegetable oil
              2 cups cranberries (about 8 ounces)
              1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
              2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
              11⁄2 cups sugar
              3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
              1 teaspoon curry powder
              Large pinch of Chinese five-spice powder

              Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries and fresh ginger; stir until cranberries begin to burst, about 3 minutes. Add wine and sugar; boil until mixture is reduced to 21⁄2 cups, about 15 minutes. Add crystallized ginger, curry powder and five-spice powder. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.) Serve sauce cold or, if desired, rewarm over low heat, stirring often.
              Makes 21⁄2 cups.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dallas Alice

                Wow! Thanks Dallas Alice. This all looks wonderful!

              2. We often do just the breast for Thanksgiving, as the family has dwindled in size. A couple of years ago my Dad prepared it by first brining overnight, then smoking the turkey in his backyard smoker for several hours Thanksgiving Day. It was the most fantastic turkey I have ever had - so flavorful. I believe you could smoke the turkey breast using your grill and some wood chips - though you'll have to ask someone else how - when it comes to grilling and smoking, I am strictly the taste-tester!