Since I’m not a huge fan of turkey, the past few years I’ve been focusing more on just the turkey breast when we do Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. My daughters are not huge fans of the bird either but it’s part of their Canadian culture, so rather than doing an entire bird and having too much leftovers to know what to do with.. we usually make a single turkey breast. After posting pics of this on Instagram, I was flooded with requests from people who are in the same situation.
– turkey breast – 5-7 lbs
– 3-4 cups water
– 5 sprigs thyme
– 2-3 tablespoon chopped parsley
– 7-10 black peppercorns
– 5-10 allspice berries
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 large carrot
– 2 stalks celery
– 1 head garlic
– 1/2 large onion
– 1 cup water (or chicken stock)
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
– 2 sprigs thyme
To ensure we have a tender and moist turkey breast after roasting in the oven, we need to make a quick brine and have the turkey sit in it over-night for best results (or at least a couple hours). In a large bowl place 1 cup of lukewarm water (to help the sugar and salt dissolve) then add the sugar, salt, garlic (smashed), peppercorns, allspice berries, thyme and parsley and whisk (try to be a bit rough to bruise the herbs so they release their flavors). Then add 3 cups of cold water and mix well. be sure to have the water chilled as we don’t want to add the turkey to a warm brine.
You can now place the turkey breast in a larger zipper bag (or container with a lid) and pour the brine onto it. Seal and place the fridge over-night. I usually place the bag with the turkey on a bowl in case the bag leaks in the fridge. Try to massage the turkey breast in the brine a couple times to make sure it’s brined evenly.
Remove the turkey from the brine, give it a rise under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. As your oven preheats to 375 F, line your roasting tray (I used an oven-proof dish) with the rough chopped celery and carrots. Cut the head of garlic in half and 1/4 the onion and place on the the baking dish as well. Now place the turkey breast on top of the vegetable bed and drizzle on the olive oil to coat the skin and finish off with the black pepper. Finally tuck the sprigs of thyme under the turkey breast and pour in the water (or chicken stock). The final step before going into the middle rack in the oven is to cover with foil.
Roast (covered) for 2 hours, then remove the foil and crank-up the heat to 425 F to develop that lovely golden color. It may take between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the size of the breast you use. You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt except for the brine (no need really), but you’re free to sprinkle a little on top of the breast when you add the black pepper before it went into the oven.
Simple and the fact that you’re not stuck with a ton of turkey (as if you did an entire bird), this is definitely a recipe I highly recommend (super juicy too). If you wanted to add a bit of chopped scotch bonnet to the brine for a slightly spicy roasted turkey, you can certainly do so. Remember to allow it to rest a bit before slicing though. Yes, you discard the brine after.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2