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~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d0c3b764970cWhen a recipe has the word "perfect" in its title, one had better be certain it is exactly that.  In my kitchen, in order for any recipe to make it onto my blog, it must make it through my kitchen three times without glitches.  Yes, unlike plenty of other cooking blogs, my recipes are not only tested, they are tested three times before I place them in your capable hands.  I take testing very seriously, and, once is not enough.  In the case of roasting poulty and meat, many times, three times is not enough.  For example, I tested this recipe eight times, purchasing a different size turkey breast each time, to insure you get a foolproof "timing to weight" chart too.

6a0120a8551282970b014e8a7342fa970dI've been working on roasting charts for almost as many years as I've been cooking!

IMG_9888Once I'm wed to my method, I meticulously record time, temperature and weight.  It is no accident that people constantly ask, "why do your roasts always come out so perfectly cooked?"  Answer:  I follow my own charts.  For me, this hasn't meant extra work. I roast a lot of meat and poultry -- once, sometimes twice a week.  I do it to avoid the deli-counter.  In Melanie's Kitchen you will always find a piece of freshly-roasted beef, ham, chicken or turkey in the deli-drawer ready for sandwich making. Sandwiches are my favorite food.

There's more:  If you're a person who likes turkey but avoids preparing it for Thanksgiving (or any other time of the year) because you do not enjoy or are simply intimidated by the pomp and circumstance surrounding this big, cumbersome bird, this recipe is simply perfect for you.

Before getting started:  This recipe is very versatile.  It comes complete with instructions for making optional gravy too (I love open-faced turkey sandwiches).  You can prepare it using a whole fresh turkey breast, or, a turkey breast half, but, be sure it is bone-in skin-on, NOT, boneless skinless.    Because my method for roasting a turkey breast is different from roasting an entire turkey, the end result is visually a bit different.  Because I roast a turkey breast covered (to keep it from drying out), while the skin will be golden brown, it will not be the crispy edible type.

6a0120a8551282970b0133f5b7fea6970b~ Step 1.  Place the turkey breast, upside down (meat side down) on a rack that has been inserted in the bottom of a roasting pan.  If you intend to make gravy, add 1, 14 1/2-ounce can of chicken stock to the bottom of the pan.  If you are not making gravy, add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan.

~ Step 2.  Add aromatics to the empty breast cavity.  I use:  2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 small celery ribs, 1/2 of small yellow onion, and, 1/2 of an apple.

Note:  Aromatics impart flavor and moisture into the meat.  If you are roasting a turkey breast half, chop and add them to the chicken stock or water in the bottom of the pan.

6a0120a8551282970b013488dc8bb8970cIf you are cooking for a crowd and want to roast two large whole turkey breasts at the same time, no problem.  Just make sure they are as close in size as possible (so they cook evenly in the same amount of time) and place them side by side in a larger pan, increase the stock or water in the bottom to 2 cans or 4 cups.  Add the aromatics and proceed exactly as if you were cooking one.  Change no timing.

~ Step 3.  Flip the breast over (it's easy to do).  Place thin pats of salted butter, about 2 tablespoons, over the surface followed by a liberal grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend.

6a0120a8551282970b014e880bb9ff970d~ Step 4.  Using an appropriately-sized piece of aluminum foil, tent and tightly-seal the roasting pan (as airtight as possible), being careful to prevent any rips or tears in the foil which will allow steam to escape during the roasting process.

Note:  If you do rip or tear the foil, start over with a new piece of foil.

On lowest rack of preheated 450 degree oven, roast:

1 hour, 30 minutes (for a 3-3 1/2-pound split, turkey breast half)

1 hour, 45 minutes (for a 4-4 1/2-pound split, turkey breast half)

2 hours (for a 5-6-pound whole turkey breast)

2 hours, 15 minutes (for a 6-7-pound whole turkey breast)

2 hours, 30 minutes (for a 7-8-pound whole turkey breast)

2 hours, 45 minutes (for an 8-9-pound whole turkey breast)

3 hours (for a 9-10-pound whole turkey breast)

IMG_1366~ Step 5.  Remove roasting pan from oven and allow to rest about 15 minutes.  Slowly and carefully remove the foil -- hot steam is going to escape which can burn you.

Note:  I just lift up one corner of the foil and allow it all to escape at once before uncovering completely.

~ Step 6.  Place the same foil, "wet" side up on the counter, transfer the turkey to the foil, seal, and allow to rest about 30-45-60 minutes prior to slicing and serving hot, warm, room temperature or cold the next day.

If it's gravy you want, it's a gravy recipe you're gonna get:

IMG_1369~ Step 7.  While the turkey breast is resting, pour the pan drippings into a fat lean separator.  You will have about 3 cups of fat-free drippings.  

Note:  If you roasted two breasts in a larger pan, you will have about 6 cups of fat-free drippings.  If you follow my recipe, you can count on about the same amount of pan drippings each and every time you roast a turkey breast.  No room for error = moist turkey & lots of gravy.

6a0120a8551282970b013488dd1b26970c~ Step 8.  For every 3 cups of drippings, in a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, over medium heat, melt:

3  tablespoons salted butter (1 tablespoon per 1 cup of drippings)

For every 3 cups of drippings, whisk in, until smooth:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

6a0120a8551282970b0133f5bd1c8b970b~ Step 9.  Whisk in all of the fat-free pan drippings and discard the fat.  

Increase heat to medium-high. Adjust heat to a simmer, whisking constantly, until gravy has thickened to your liking and coats the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes.  The longer you simmer, the thicker it will get.  Got too thick? Add some additional stock.

Note:  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Because my method produces seasoned pan-drippings, it is rare that I find myself adding anything more than a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of pepper.

IMG_1377 IMG_1381 IMG_1388~ Step 10.  Remove each breast half from the breast bone on both sides.  With the aid of a sharp paring knife, these will pull away 6a0120a8551282970b01538f730c9b970bfrom the bones cleanly, easily, and, in one piece.  Remove and discard the skin (this too will pull off easily with your fingertips).

Slice and serve hot with a drizzle of gravy and your favorite side dishes, or, slice and stir chunks of turkey into the gravy to make superb hot open-faced sandwiches. Or:

Slice and serve warm, at room temperature or cold in a salad or on your favorite sandwich, sub, or panini combination.

No matter how or when you slice it (thick, thin, hot or cold)...

IMG_1411... store-bought deli-meat cannot compete with this!

IMG_5466Mel's Perfectly Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast:  Depending upon how much you want to serve each person and what size turkey breast you purchased, count on approximatley 3-4 hearty servings from each breast half, and, 4-6 sandwiches from each breast half.  Depending on whether you roasted 1 or 2 breasts, you will have 4-6 cups of gravy.

Special Equipment List:  13" x 9" x 4" or 20" x 12" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pan;  cooling rack; cutting board; chef's knife; aluminum foil; fat-lean separator; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides; whisk

6a0120a8551282970b017d40586b89970cCook's Note:  When I serve my perfectly roasted turkey breast with gravy, I love it served with my recipe for ~ Tettie's Baked-Mashed-Potato Suffing Casserole ~, which you can find by clicking into Categories 4 or 18.  Big yum.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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