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Oct 5, 2013 08:39 AM

Question about ATK braised turkey recipe

The entire thing is here: I only bought a turkey breast--no drumsticks and thighs--and am wondering if I should use all the veggies/other ingredients the recipe calls for or perhaps cut them down by one third.

The veggies are entirely discarded after braising, so I suppose it wouldn't hurt to use the entire amount called for? Will I just get more gravy than I can use for the amount of turkey? Or will the breast not give me enough juices for that amount of veggies?

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  1. While the dark meat pieces will contribute juices to the dish, the recipe calls for a variable amount of broth:

    'Pour the broth and wine around the turkey pieces (it should come about three-quarters of the way up the legs and thighs).'

    If your breast barely fits the pot, or the space between turkey and pot is filled with vegetables, you will need less broth.

    The proportion of meat to vegetables is not critical. Also you don't have to drain and toss the vegetables. In fact when I braise meat, I rarely do that. Chopped fine enough, and cooked long, they 'melt' into the broth, giving it body. If I want a smoother gravy I might remove the meat, and blend the vegetables. In effect, I have a vegetable thickened gravy instead of a roux thickened one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Thanks--I hated the idea of tossing the vegetables.

      1. re: Thanks4Food

        Me too. I always 'stick blend' the veg used in a braise. Then I strain it and use it in something or as a sauce. Those veg shouldn't go to waste IMO.

    2. It couldn't hurt to use them all...turkey breast needs all the help it can get in terms of flavor.

      I would just worry about the breast meat getting tough and dry in a braise. I know that sounds weird, but chicken breast seems to do just that if the braise is too long (even that sounds weird!)

      I haven't seen the long to they specify for the braise?

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Professor

        They roast it at 500 for 20 minutes then braise at 325 for 1.75-2.25 hrs.

        1. re: Thanks4Food

          With just breast meat, I'd use a thermometer, just as in roasting.

      2. One more question: I have a big roasting pan that will fit everything with room to spare, but would it be better to more snugly fit the breast in my oval Le Creuset? Not as much room for the entire amount of veggies--but then again, if they're chopped up, maybe they'll fit.

        1. This recipe is so pointless if you are doing breast only. Breast shouldn't give you juices, you want the juice to stay in the meat. Veggies don't impart much flavor to meat, but they will flavor the broth. Braising a large of meat in 5 cups of liquid will mean that the half that is in the liquid will cook faster than the half that is sticking out of the liquid.

          5 Replies
          1. re: jaykayen

            I don't know--the CI article says it works with breast only. (I have the CI article that has more information; I just used the link above because it seemed to cover most anyone would need to know.) I'll let you know if it doesn't work.

            1. re: Thanks4Food

              It will work. It just isn't very ideal, IMO.

              A simple tweak to this recipe would be to do it in a roasting pan but put your meat on a rack. Any juices that escape your meat will fall into the veggies/broth below and not evaporate.

              Pull from the oven at 145 degrees instead of the 160 that is noted in the blog.

              1. re: jaykayen

                I'm just a babe in the woods as far as roasting/braising--but wouldn't putting it on a rack defeat the whole purpose of the braise?

                1. re: Thanks4Food

                  Yep. It will also reduce that problem where the portion of the meat that sits in hot liquid cooks faster than the portion that doesn't.

                  I'm looking at the intro to this recipe now. It says "simmering the meat in a covered pot is an inherently gentle cooking method which helps ensure the delicate breast meat won't dry out." Wrong. Simmering is not as gentle as low temperature baking, you wouldn't want to stick your hand into simmering water. You'll want to pull it anywhere from 140-150, 160 is way too high.

                  1. re: jaykayen

                    Yikes--I set the timer for 1.5 hours (after the initial searing) and just checked it after one hour--and it's already around 150. Can it be done that soon? I sure don't want to dry it out, but this seems too soon.

          2. Just FYI: the turkey came out perfect--but I"m glad jaykayen suggested taking it out early. I seared it at 500 for 30 min. instead of the 20 suggested because the skin didn't look brown enough to me (the whole breast had tilted so only one side got brown). Then it only took about 1 hour at 325.

            I ended up tossing all the veggies and having 6 cups of stock with which to make gravy. I can't tell if the gravy worked or not--been having some trouble with my taste buds not operating properly. To me it doesn't taste right (not turkey-ish enough), but my husband thinks it's okay.

            If I try this recipe again, I think I"ll be sure to get the leg pieces and see if those would make the gravy better.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Thanks4Food

              Gravy made from this braising liquid will be different from one made with roasting pan drippings. The drippings will be more caramelized, and probably a higher proportion of fat. Gravy taste is also highly sensitive to salt levels.