Help with 4 pound boneless turkey breast
I bought a pastured boneless turkey breast at the farmers market today. It weighs approx. 4 pounds. It is still in the packaging, but does not appear to have any skin on it. It was expensive, so I don't want to mess it up. I bought it not with dinner in mind, but to slice for sandwiches/salads for lunch this week. Should I brine it? What temp to cook it on? Any suggestions would be great!
Well, this is right up my alley since I completely botched the first pastured raised turkey I cooked: who knew it cooked in half the time? So, I've been working on new plans for both it and chickens since. A pastured turkey farmer recommended 425F as the cooking temp. Gives you incredibly juicy turkey and beautifully browned, crispy skin. That should work well for the breast (boneless or not). Now, if you're roasting the whole turkey or chicken, what that temp results in is perfectly cooked breast meat and uncooked things and part of the legs. So, you can disassemble the bird and cook the breast whole while the dark meat is cooked separately OR cut the bird so the legs are splayed out from the breast (all the bird is still attached, but the legs are laid out sort of like a dog resting on the ground). My solution for Thanksgiving is to get 2 pastured turkeys. We'll eat the 2 breasts for dinner and I've been cooking some of the legs, wings, and thighs each day for the dog (and me). Big advantage: Because I had all those bones from the dog's meals each day, I now have a whole pot of turkey stock ready before I cook Thanksgiving dinner (need some for the stuffing).
As to what the other postings said about seasoning, I'm going to say NONE for pastured birds. I've tried every combo of seasoning on chicken and turkey (including herbs de Provence--my absolute favorite seasoning). But, pastured meat is SO good on its own, you almost ruin it with any seasoning. Maybe a butter rubbed on the skin and lots of salt. I'd even skip the pepper. The most important thing is getting the turkey into your mouth and not letting it sit around on the table for too long: it is at its absolute best when it is still hot and juicy from the oven. No 5 star restaurant can pull that off!
The posters above are spot on for flavors. I made Pete's Rubbed and Almost Fried Turkey after Thanksgiving when Turkey was beyond cheep. The recipe is about 1/3 down at : http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gu...
Instead of cooking in the oil I lazied it and baked it at 350 for the 12 min per pound, let cool and chilled overnight before unwrapping and slicing. So very good and the sandwich w/the mayo was fantastic. I also liked how thinly I could slice it with just a knife.
Brining is something a lot of people swear by, but I think if you cook low and slow, that is the way to make sure it comes out juicy. Since it has no skin, be sure to cover with foil for most of the cooking time, and remove the foil at the end for some color so that it won't dry out. Wrap the foil around the breast and literally replace the skin with foil.
I would follow the smtucker's advice and try dried thyme, butter, salt and pepper. I also like poultry seasoning or fresh or dried sage on turkey breast although I usually cook on the bone. Keep your oven at no more that 325, and don't overcook it. Let is stand once the thermometer hits 170 degrees, as carryover cooking wil finish it off when you let it stand out of the oven.
Another great seasoning combo, especially if you are slicing for cold sandwiches, is Herbs de Provence with a touch of garlic (rub roasted garlic over skin with butter). Provence roasted turkey breast sells for a lot of money at my specialty market. It is delicious.
Brining is certainly an option.
You can also rub with salt and pepper plus some dried thyme. Without the skin, I think I would rub with some butter, or at least some olive oil. Cook at 400º and use a thermometer to track the internal temperature. If you don't have a thermometer, I would guess 45-50 minutes [but it has been a long time since I cooked by time so I could be off.]