Unofficially, but officially, it's Thanksgiving Recipe Week on the blog. I have lots of good food for your consideration for next week's holiday. Which, by the way, is just days away. Yikes.
This was my second turkey roasting, and like last year, I slightly under-baked the turkey, bringing it to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit and then let it sit out, covered tightly in foil, for almost a whole hour before we cut into it. By that time, it was moist and juicy and oh-so-flavorful. You won't believe how few ingredients are needed to get this thing to be mouth-watering good (note: depending on your oven, your turkey may require a shorter or longer cooking time; cooking times always seem to vary for me in our beach rental, which is why a meat thermometer is key).
My favorite shortcut that complemented this turkey so well: really good store-bought gravy. I don't mean the kind from a jar. I mean gravy from a trusted, good deli, where they make it from scratch, as you would. Except this eliminates anyone from having to stand over the bird drippings, frantically whisking away while the rest of your food gets cold and hungry people get hungrier.
Our favorite place for delicious store-bought gravy is the Manhattan Market in Downtown Manhattan Beach and/or Bristol Farms. Both are so good and so worth it.
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
From The Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?, page 127
Serves 6 (8 for small bellies)
1 whole bone-in turkey breast (about 6.5-7 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place turkey breast, skin side up, on a roasting pan.
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients from the garlic to the lemon juice into a paste. Digging a bit with your fingers, loosen the skin from the meat to create some pockets, and smear half of the mixture into the pockets and directly on the meat. Spread the other half all over the skin (watch this BC video for a quick demo, if you like). Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit with an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the skin. If the skin is over-browning, you can cover it gently with foil. When the meat is done, remove from oven and cover tightly with foil for at least 15 minutes.
Turkey veterans can weigh in here, but I recommend checking the temp after about one hour, and then again at 1 hour, 30 minutes. I tested in several places with each temp check, and after cooking for nearly two hours, got the meat to 150-155 degrees. I removed it from the oven and covered it tightly with foil for almost an hour before serving, allowing it to continue cooking itself. When it was meal time, it was juicy and still very hot when sliced and served.
Up tomorrow: stuffing. Are you hungry? I am.
Serveware: cranberry and gravy served up in Arte Italica cream and sugar - perfectly sized vessels for a small gathering.