Introduction: HERB ROASTED BRANDY-WINE TURKEY BREAST
This recipe produced one of the most delicious turkey breasts I have ever tasted. It was moist and tender and filled with flavor.
Step 1: INGREDIENTS:
- 1 whole bone-in, skin-on, raw THAWED turkey breast (about 7 lbs)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature (soft), divided
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon whole Juniper berries (to be crushed)
- 1 TBS chopped fresh Rosemary leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh Sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Thyme leaves, divided
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Basil leaves, divided
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Salt Sense (or Kosher salt)
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 large onion (red, white, yellow - it really doesn't matter)
- *1 cup good quality dry white wine (you may need more) - I used Barefoot's California Sauvignon Blanc
- *1/3 cup Apricot Brandy (you may need a little more) - I used Jacquin's Apricot Flavored Brandy
- *1 cup more or less unsalted chicken broth or stock
The wine and brandy are poured into the bottom of the roasting pan and become a part of the pan juices that you will eventually use to baste the breast of turkey. The pan that I used was large enough to hold a whole turkey and the wine and brandy began to evaporate before the turkey was done (IE.,I should probably have used a smaller roasting pan), so I had to add more (another 1/2 to 2/3's of a cup of wine and another 1/3 cup of brandy (didn't measure here; just poured the spirits directly into the roasting pan. I also added about 1 cup of chicken stock to the pan; you want enough pan juice to baste the turkey and have enough left over to make gravy.).
Step 2: PREPARATION, PART #1
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the oven is heating, remove the turkey breast from its wrapping (extract and discard or refrigerate any packaged giblets and gravy mixes that may be stuffed inside the breast cavity). Thoroughly rinse the breast inside and out with cold running water (tap water); then pat it dry with paper towels.
- Place a stick of butter on the counter, or in a glass container on the back of the stove so that it can soften, or begin to melt.
- Let the turkey breast rest on the counter (let it come to room temperature) for about an hour. During this time, you can prepare the dry rub.
- Crush the Juniper Berries in a mortar or small glass or non-porous bowl.
- Chop or mince the garlic and add it to the mixing bowl.
- Add the ground mustard, smoked paprika, ground nutmeg (I grind a nutmeg directly over the bowl), and S&P to the mixing bowl.
- Remove the stems from the basil, rosemary, thyme and sage and finely chop the leaves (reserving about half of the chopped thyme and basil for use in the brandy-wine mixture).
- Add about 1/2 of the softened or melted butter to the bowl and mix all of the dry rub ingredients together until well blended.
(As you may note, I tried doing this with an immersible blender (my first attempt), and I failed miserably! Instead of achieving a nice, smooth, paste (my goal), I ended up with a buttery clump of herbs and spices - not pretty, but it did work rather well. Fortunately the heat of the oven eventually broke down the mixture allowing the flavor to spread over the roasting breast).
Step 3: PREPARATION, PART #2
- Spray a roasting pan and rack with cooking spray.
- Peel the onion, split it in half (or thirds), and place the slices on the bottom of the roasting pan, under the rack.
- Place the breast of turkey onto the rack, skin side up.
- Carefully insert your fingers (a couple of fingers) under the edge of skin on either side of breast, and work it loose while trying not to completely detach it from the meat.
- Spread about half of the mixture (hopefully, it will be a paste and not clumpy like what is pictured here) under the skin and over the meat.
- Smooth the skin back over the breast and spread the remaining rub over the skin and let the breast rest in the pan (on the counter) briefly while you make the brandy-wine.
- Pour 1 cup of dry white wine into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup of Apricot Brandy to the bowl (I see no reason why you can't use your favorite brandy; plain, peach, apple, orange, as a substitute).
- Add the remaining chopped basil and thyme to the bowl (about 1/2 TBS each) and blend. (Once again, I tried doing this with my new submersible blender. Unfortunately no one told me that you must keep the blender blade completely submerged into the liquid (it's not in the instructions either). When I attempted to move the blade "up and down" I spalttered brandy-wine all over the kitchen counter, in the toaster, up and down the side of my refrigerator)!!!
- Pour the blended brandy-wine mixture directly into the bottom of the roasting pan (if you have any left)! I also had too much softened butter, so I also added that to the liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Place the roasting pan in the preheated 325 F oven and roast it for about *2-1/2 to 3 hours (depending on the size of your turkey breast). Begin basting the turkey with the pan juices after it has cooked for about 45 minutes; then every 30 minutes or so until it is a golden, rusty, brown - and until the internal temperature reaches 160 - 165 degrees F. Then remove it from the oven; cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for about 30 minutes (it will continue to cook a little during this period of time, and the internal temperature should rise to about 170 - 175 degrees F)
Slice and serve.
- If the pan juices begin to evaporate before the breast of turkey is fully cooked, you can add another cup of brandy wine (at a ratio of one cup of wine to 1/3 cup of brandy; start by using just half of this amount, then add more if needed - or you can add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken broth or stock, or even water. If you use the chicken stock, you can sip any leftover brandy-wine !).
- If the skin of the breast reaches the desired color (golden, rusty brown) before the turkey is fully cooked, you can tent it with aluminum foil and allow to continue roasting).
- I used a 7.1 lb bone-in turkey breast. It is my understanding that this will serve about 5 people since the bone, and the shrinkage that occurs during the cooking process, will produce a little over 5 lbs of cooked meat.
Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .
Ahhh, so good. Moist and tender slices of turkey crusted with strips of crispy golden brown skin, served with garlic and parsley flavored mashed potatoes, a side of cranberry sauce, and a glass of chilled white wine.
I used the pan juices to make a really great gravy. (It was my intention to use the packet of giblets that I found in the neck of the raw turkey to make giblet gravy. Sadly, that packet did not contain giblets; just a gravy mix, so I discarded that packet and made my own gravy. So I modified one of the Pioneer Woman's great gravy recipes (since I did not have giblets) and mashed up the roasted slices of red onion and blended them (without getting a bath this time) into a delicious turkey brandy-wine onion gravy which I drizzled over the turkey and mashed potatoes that covered my dinner plate.
((I usually end my recipe posts by including a step on Nutrition, but I had difficulty in figuring out the nutritional value of one serving of this recipe. Every time I tried to calculate it, I kept getting results that would make one think I ate the whole 7 lbs (or even 5 lbs of breast meat) drenched in butter and brandy and wine! So I am not including it this time. IT WAS GOOD and that is all I need to know right now)!