Where is your happy place? What is the one thing in the world that can pick you up out of a slump and place you on solid ground? It’s important that you know yours and that you can summon it up on any given day when life is more than a little topsy turvy. There are too many moments that can throw you for a loop so please, if there is one take away from this post, research your happy place and know how to reach it at a moment’s notice. It is essential.
My happy place is my kitchen, especially in Fall. The sweltering summers here in So Cal. are almost unbearable and as September turns the corner into October, and there’s a bit of a breeze in the air and temps are ONLY in the 80′s, my happy place invites me in, gives me a hug, and seems to say, “It’s OK. You are welcome here and everything is going to be fine.” It also seems to shout, “Roast a turkey! Make some soup, mash those potatoes and then throw in a pumpkin bundt cake!”. I have some pretty weird self-talk. I am aware.
And when I’m in my happy place, my hand instinctively reaches for the knob on my oven and swishes it on to 350 (well in this case for the turkey, technically 325 folks), I step outside to snip some rosemary and pluck a fresh orange off the tree, and I inadvertently begin to sing the chorus lines from my favorite songs. I usually only know a couple of lines from any given song, but I belt them out anyway, unknown words be damned. Please don’t tell me I should turn on Pandora. I love Pandora. We’re good friends, but when I’m in my happy place, I sing. My Golden Retriever, Sadie, who sits dopily at my feet, with her sweet smile and her big brown eyes, likes my singing and would not be as warmed by Pandora. I know this for certain. I am a doggy mind reader. It’s one of my hidden talents.
You can now officially stop saving that delicious roasted turkey dinner for Thanksgiving alone. Roasting a half turkey breast is the easiest thing you’ll do in the kitchen and it’s extremely rewarding. This particular turkey breast turned out so golden and juicy that I would swipe little slices of it to snack on the next day. The herbs give the turkey so much savory flavor and the oranges add a hint of sweetness and help the turkey stay nice and juicy.
You can then use the turkey breast for dinner, lunches during the week or for the king of comfort foods at my house, Creamed Turkey. It’s what we always eat the day after Thanksgiving, gets requested by several family members for their prized birthday dinners, and it is creamy, warm and comforting. To me, any dinner that includes roasted turkey is like a big hug on a plate so consider this post a big hug from me to you.
How to Roast a Turkey Breast
Makes enough turkey slices for a family of four for dinner (small-medium eaters). If you need more, roast two turkey half breasts.
This is an S&C original recipe
1 half bone in turkey breast with skin, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (if using dry spices, use two teaspoons of each)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed juice from an orange
2 tablespoons good olive oil
one orange thinly sliced
2 whole sprigs of rosemary
4 large washed but unpeeled carrots
1-2 cups chicken broth or white wine
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
To make the turkey: Turn your oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat and get out either a small roasting pan or a glass rectangular casserole dish or other comparable dish. Rinse and pat dry your turkey (don’t leave it wet, the paste won’t adhere well). In a small bowl, make a paste, mixing together the chopped herbs, rosemary through sage, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice and drizzle in the olive oil. Mix together until it forms a paste. Rub the paste all over the meat and skin of the turkey and then also underneath the skin.
Thinly slice an orange and tuck in the oranges under the skin in a single layer as well as two sprigs of rosemary. Cut your butter into small pats and put single pats of butter over the skin and meat. See photo in post for butter and carrots. Place four carrots lined up in your roasting pan (use more carrots if they are small or your turkey is larger than the four carrots can support). Place the turkey on the carrots. Pour the wine or chicken broth into the roasting pan (don’t pour onto turkey), and drop in any remaining pieces of the orange. Place a meat thermometer in your turkey, place in the thickest portion of the breast, being careful not to touch the bone. Then tent the turkey with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes tented. Remove the tent and let roast another half hour or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. Smaller breasts (2-3 lbs may cook in a little over an hour whereas larger ones, 3-4 lbs, may take an hour and a half). It’s a good idea to see where your temperature is at an hour. A meat thermometer is imperative with cooking a turkey to properly cook it to the correct temperature for food safety.
Your turkey should turn out a nice golden brown from the butter. When you take out your turkey, tent it with fresh foil (do not use the foil which touched the raw turkey please). Let it rest for a good 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to spread through the turkey and be maintained in the turkey meat instead of on the cutting board. Cutting a turkey breast is not my forte….please consult Google for that.
Health and Safety Note: When working with any poultry, it is important to wash your hands every time you have touched the turkey. Then when you reach for salt shakers and the foil, you are not contaminating these items with raw turkey juices which could contain bacteria.