Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins
This is my own version of roast turkey. It's simple and basic. My daughter begged me to post it for her friends. My family doesn’t like dark meat, so I make whole bone-in breasts. You can use this recipe for a whole turkey. If you do, resist the urge to stuff the cavity with anything other than additional carrots, celery and onion. It’s much safer to make your stuffing in a casserole dish and the turkey cooks much quicker.
- 2 onions, cut into 8ths (4 pieces, then half crosswise)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 4ths (halved lengthwise and crosswise)
- 3 celery ribs, cut into 4ths (same as above)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 whole turkey breast, figure on 1 . 25 lb. per person to be sure you have leftovers (buy several similar size breasts if necessary and increase all ingredients accordingly)
Basting Butter (for 1 turkey breast)
- 1⁄4 cup butter, room temperature (NOT margarine)
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt (Lawry's is named due to a quirk of Food.com, I use store brand)
- Heat oven to 400°F You will reduce it later.
- Dump the vegetables into the bottom of a roaster. Add the chicken broth. You want about ½” of broth covering the bottom of the roaster so the vegetables don’t burn.
- Rinse the turkey breast under cool water and dry with paper towels. Cut off any large wads of fat and discard. Set aside the gravy packet for later. Stir the butter, poultry seasoning and seasoned salt together.
- Gently insert your fingers under the skin to loosen the skin over the breast, leaving it attached at breastbone and sides. Smear the butter under the skin. Pat the top of the skin to distribute the butter evenly over the meat. Spray the skin generously with non-stick cooking spray or rub with some vegetable oil. Butter or margarine aren’t used as they contain water which will make the skin rubbery and the browning blotchy.
- Place the turkey breast on top of the vegetables. They act as a rack but won’t leave dents in the bird.
- If you have a meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the breast and make sure it isn’t touching bone.
- IMPORTANT: REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 325F when you put the turkey into the oven. Roast according to the chart on the turkey wrapping. It should take between 2 and 2 ½ hours. Multiple breasts will take about the same amount of time, because you go by individual weight, not cumulative weight. You can put more than one breast in a roaster, but if they are touching each other they won't brown where they touch.
- RESIST the temptation to baste. Every time you open the oven, heat escapes, resulting in uneven cooking and pale, spongy skin.
- Feel free to open the oven to put in side dishes, but have them ready to slide in before you open the oven.
- Occasionally, turn on the oven light and check for browning. If the skin is getting too brown, remove the turkey, close the oven, tent the turkey with foil and slide it back into the oven. Also check the liquid in the bottom of the roaster. Add broth or water as needed.
- 30 minutes before minimum time, check the temperature. Take the turkey out when it reads 155°F There will be some carry over cooking and the temperature will go up to 165F within 15-20 minutes. Never rely on a pop-up timer in the bird, they are notoriously unreliable.
- Remove turkey from the roaster and place on a cutting board. Save the vegetables to make broth with the carcass tomorrow. They are overcooked and not good for eating as is.
- Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and set aside to rest at least 15 minutes; it will stay piping hot for a long time. Allowing meat to rest allows the juices to be reabsorbed, so the meat will be juicy.
- Pour the pan juices through a strainer into a large measuring cup. Add chicken broth to measure the amount of liquid called for on the gravy packet and follow directions on packet.
- When you are ready to serve the meat, cut down the side of the breast bone, following the ribs, cut off the entire breast half. Do the same on the other side.
- Slice the meat crosswise into serving slices. Cutting the meat this way gives it a more tender mouth feel. It won’t be chewy or stringy.