It’s that time of year! The Halloween decorations are coming down and Thanksgiving recipes are coming out of the woodwork! We roasted up this whole turkey breast last week and it turned out delicious. If you’re planning a smaller Thanksgiving this year or you just really like turkey, consider picking up a whole breast. They cook up just like a turkey, but much quicker and you don’t have to worry about uneven cooking. The Piggery in Ithaca will cut your turkey to order, just stop their shop in downtown Ithaca or give them a call at 607-272-2276.
Our turkey recipe is a tried and true easy method – an herbed dry rub with butter under the skin. Thaw the turkey breast and apply the dry rub the night before cooking. We start the oven temperature high to brown the skin and then lower it to finish cooking. Stuffing the butter under the skin keeps the meat really juicy – exactly what you want when you’re roasting turkey.
You can purchase a whole, bone-in turkey breast like we have here, or just one breast at your local butcher. The cooking time will vary depending on the size, plan on 15 minutes per pound turkey, and check the temperature often. I like to roast the turkey breast in a regular roasting pan right in the rack. If you don’t have one you can also use an ovenproof skillet, just place the turkey over a bed of root vegetables and onions. Another great roasting option is a cast iron skillet with a meat trivet – like this one. The meat trivet is inexpensive and easy store. You can even make gravy from the pan drippings.
Roasted Turkey Breast
1 whole turkey breast, skin-on, bone-in
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of kosher salt per 5 lbs turkey
handful of fresh herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
The night before: Mince the herbs, and combine the salt, herbs and pepper in a small bowl. Coat the turkey breast all over with the the herb mixture. Let the turkey sit uncovered, overnight in your refrigerator.
One hour before roasting: Take the turkey out and transfer to a roasting rack. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use your hands to separate the skin from the breast and stuff the butter under the skin, half on each side. Let the turkey rest on the counter for an hour, to bring it to room temperature.
Roast the turkey at 450°F for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F. Cooking time should be 10 – 15 minutes per pound, check the temperature in the thickest part about halfway through expected cooking time. When the turkey reaches 160°F, take it out and let it rest for 20 – 30 minutes before slicing. It will come up to 165°F while it rests.