Our local grocery store has these beautiful, meaty turkey breasts on sale this week, so I thought I'd cook one today and use it for several meals this week. The turkey breast I bought is 4.5 lbs.
What you need:
Meat rack (optional)
Salt, pepper, poultry seasoning (or Sage)
Whole white onion
Olive oil or butter/margarine
Pam Spray (optional but it will make clean-up easier. You can also line your pan with alumininum foil for easier cleanup)
Preset oven to 325 degrees.Wash your hands before touching the food.
Here's what the turkey breast looks like once I take the plastic wrapping off. The white plastic bag is filled with gizzards. Some keep them to make gravy. Some cook them for pets. Today, I'm throwing mine out.
Just grab the bag, pull it out, and dispose of it. (If you put it in your kitchen trash, it will quickly start to smell, so get it out of the house as soon as you can.)
Next, I wash off the turkey breast in cold water. It's been sitting in it's own liquids in the store, and I want those out. So I gently rinse it and shake any water out.
I place the turkey breast hole-side up in the roasting pan. I have mine sitting on a meat rack, but that's optional. First I sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper in the "cavity", then place a whole, peeled onion (ends removed) in the cavity.
Holding the onion with my hand, I then flip the breast over to sit on the rack.If you don't have a meat rack, use veggies - celery, carrots, whole onions - on the side of the bird to hold it upright! You can lay it on it's side, but if you do, make sure the pan is Pam-sprayed or oiled well, and come back half way through cooking to turn it to it's other side.
Now I rub the outside of the bird with olive oil. You can use soft butter/margarine or even Canola Oil, but I use Olive Oil because it's less saturated fat. Rub the oil all over the outside of the bird. This will help brown/crisp the skin.
Once oiled, sprinkle with Poultry Seasoning or Sage and a bit of black pepper.
Put your meat thermometer in so it goes into the "meatiest" part of the breast. You can see here where I put mine.
Almost done! Put the turkey breast in the middle rack of the oven (that's important!), with the thermometer turned so you can read it easily. Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan (not on the turkey). For my 4.5 lbs., the package says to cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, so I set my timer for 2.5 hours. At the end of 2.5 hours, I will look and see what the thermometer says. Proper cooking temperature for turkey is 165 degrees. Keep the turkey in the oven until your thermometer reads 165.
About one hour into your cooking time, and every hour after that, pull your turkey out and baste it. Just use a turkey baster or a large spoon and pick up the juices at the bottom of the pan and pour over the top of the turkey. Do this several times to baste the entire turkey.
Once the thermometer reaches 165, take the turkey out of the oven and cover it loosely with alum. foil, and let it "rest" for 10 minutes. This allows all the good juices to settle down and stay in the bird. If you slice it (or pick at it!) before it's allowed to rest,, those juices will run out and you'll have a very dry turkey.
That's it! You've now cooked a turkey breast. Cooking a whole turkey is exactly the same, except you will cook the bird for much longer.