Since I didn’t want to be drowning in turkey leftovers for months I nixed the idea of cooking a whole turkey & just cooked the breast for our small humble crowd. I found this prepackaged, cut & ready to go in my neighborhood market, it couldn’t have been easier! In my searching for the perfect recipe for my turkey whom I affectionately named Tommy, I came across oodles and oodles of brined turkey recipes. I heard Martha Stewart on her show say quote “This is the year of the brined turkey, last year it was the deep fried turkey, this year it’s brined.” So in going with the flow, a brined turkey it is! Brining is basically soaking the meat in a mixture of salt, herbs, sugar and a bunch of other goodies to enhance the juiciness of the meat. If you wanna know the science behind it all (or bored one Saturday night as I was) read this article, it’s really interesting…

the brine…


Roasted Brined Turkey Breast with Herb Butter and gravy
adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup coarse salt
  • 1 medium onion, unpeeled and chopped
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed
  • 16 whole peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 (7-pound) turkey breast, skin-on, ribs and backbone intact (thawed if frozen)

Herb Butter

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, minced
  • 2 T fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 T fresh thyme, minced
  • 4 T fresh parsley, minced

In an 8-quart stockpot or other nonreactive container, combine 16 cups water with sugar, salt, unpeeled onion, unpeeled garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Squeeze juice from both lemon halves into water and add lemon halves. Place stockpot on stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Add turkey breast to cooled liquid and refrigerate for 8 hours or up to overnight (I marinated mine for about 24 hours). Remove turkey from liquid, rinse, and pat dry. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together, butter, sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley until combined. Using your hands rub the whole turkey with herb butter; under & on top of skin. Place breast on a roasting pan, add about 1/4 inch of chicken stock (if you are making gravy). Roast for 30 minutes, turning the pan once.
Turn down oven to 325 and roast an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Add a little more stock if necessary. I roast to 165 degree internal temperature. Let it rest for about 20 minutes. Slice turkey against the grain.


While the turkey is resting, prepare gravy. Strain liquid from roasting pan and discard solids. Place roasting pan over medium heat. Whisk in 1 T butter and add 1 teaspoon at a time, and simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and stir in fresh chopped parsley.


Images: sammyw