So by now you may have heard about our small time Thanksgiving tradition of having Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf instead of a whole turkey. It’s a much more practical approach when you’re only feeding a few people, but beyond that, it’s absolutely delicious. I actually prefer it to a traditional turkey, and now I look forward to eating turkey meatloaf every year.
But maybe you’re not quite ready to be so untraditional. Maybe you can’t imagine Thanksgiving without white meat covered in gravy. Maybe you want a beautiful centerpiece of a gorgeously roasted bird on your Thanksgiving table. Maybe you’re looking for a turkey recipe that makes just the right amount for a small family of four to six people that’s perfectly seasoned and never dry. A turkey recipe that’s pretty much foolproof that makes plenty of flavorful gravy. This is that.
This brined and roasted turkey breast with herb gravy is super simple. Since you’re only cooking the breast of the turkey, it usually cooks in less than three hours. Mine was two kilos, and it was done in two hours and 20 minutes. If you eat later in the day, you could even brine it in the morning. And in case you were thinking of skipping the brine, I strongly urge you to avoid that notion. Brining is absolutely key to ensuring a moist and well-seasoned turkey breast.
The gravy comes together quickly and easily as well. The trick is to smash the flour and butter together into a paste so you won’t have any lumps. The fresh herbs will make your gravy seem all sophisticated and junk. Your family’s gonna love it.
I made this recipe for the first ever Thanksgiving dinner I made myself. I was so nervous, but it came out beautiful, and has done every time since. I hope it works as well for you.
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup salt, plus a few pinches for seasoning
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 medium turkey crown (breast)
- 4 ounces butter, melted
- Ground black pepper
- 1 shallot, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peels
- Leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, minced
- Leaves of 1 sprig of thyme, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1.5 ounces butter
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or turkey stock
- To make your brine, add the water, salt, and brown sugar to a large pot. Choose something that will allow your turkey breast to be completely submerged. Heat the water and stir until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to come back to room temperature. Putting a cold turkey in hot brine is like creating a bacteria factory.
- Completely submerge your turkey in the brine, clamp a lid on, and refrigerate the whole thing for 4 to 8 hours.
- When your ready to roast, remove your turkey from the brine, and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with a few paper towels.
- Preheat your oven to 325.
- Situate your turkey breast in your roasting pan. Brush your melted butter all over your turkey and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast your turkey for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 170. My turkey breast's packaging conveniently had a suggested cooking time that turned out to be perfect, so check your package.
- Once your turkey is cooked through, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board. I used a couple of pairs of tongs for this. Cover loosely in foil. Let it rest while you make the gravy.
- Pour the liquid from the pan into a bowl or measuring jug. Allow it to sit while you prep the rest f your gravy ingredients so that the fat and liquid start to separate.
- Get everything for your gravy ready before you put anything on the heat so that you can move easily from step to step. Put your shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay salt, and pepper into a small dish together. In another dish, use a fork to smash your butter and flour together into a paste.
- Add two tablespoons of the fat that's risen to the top of your separated pan drippings back into your roasting pan. Pour or spoon off the rest of the fat so that you can add the flavorful liquid to the stock later.
- Situate the roasting pan over two burners, and turn them both to medium. Add your shallot and herb mixture to the roasting pan and sautee for about three minutes to soften the shallot.
- Add the stock and any remaining turkey juices back into the roasting pan. Scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring the stock to a boil.
- Whisk in your butter and flour mixture. Boil until the sauce thickens about 5 minutes.
- Give it a taste and adjust your seasoning if need be. Pull out the bay leaf and garlic cloves before serving.