Roasting a whole turkey didn’t make sense for our Neudeck Thanksgiving. I didn’t want a bird taking up precious oven space for hours and hours. After all, I still had sides to heat up. Instead, I cooked turkey breasts and found it to be a super easy (and delicious) solution. Sorry dark meat lovers.
I cooked up 4 half breasts of turkey – that should feed about 12 people. They’re often sold as half breasts instead of full breasts because this ain’t chicken. These birds a big girls. If you do find it as a full breast, simply cut it in half around the bone. To prepare, most recipes will tell you to use a roasting pan, which elevates the meat on a rack. I don’t have a roasting pan so I stumbled onto a new way of cooking it that I highly recommend. Layer a Pyrex baking dish with thickly sliced onions. (I used 3 onions and two Pyrex dishes for the 4 half breasts.) This basically creates the rack (aka elevation) that you’d have if using a roasting pan…except with flavor. Cover the onions with white wine (1/3 to 1/2 bottle – Chardonnay works well). Place your turkey on the bed of wine-y onions and pull the skin so it covers as much as possible. Melt a stick of butter and pour over the turkey. Finally, sprinkle herbs de Provence over the whole thing.
While you’re prepping the whole thing, crank the heat way up on the oven – to 450 degrees. Once it’s done preheating, stick the turkey in there and immediately reduce the heat to 350. Cook for an hour (it should be 165-185 on a meat thermometer). Take it out and let it rest for 15-20 min. Then carve it up, salt it, and plate it with the onions. Pour the wine sauce into a bowl to use as a gravy. If you’d like, you could thicken it up and turn it into a true gravy by whisking it in a saucepan with some flour. I was happy with it as a bright sauce, but to each their own.
Having that pool of wine in the bottom of the dish basically creates a steam oven. That keeps your turkey soooooo tender and moist AND does so with so much yummy wine flavor. The skin doesn’t get too crispy in this homemade steam oven (though you could leave it in the oven a bit longer to keep browning), but it’s worth it to get the meat so juicy. The more you pull the skin before cooking, the thinner it will he and the better chance of it getting brown and crispy – so stretch that skin!
The whole thing, including prep and resting time took an hour and a half. That’s significantly less time than roasting a whole turkey. I actually recommend this for any Thanksgiving (especially if paired with a spiral ham), but it seems like it would work particularly well for a Friendsgiving fest. I was sooo intimidated by turkey, but not only was it easy, it was yummers. The proof: two people we cooked for ended up not showing up and yet we still had almost no leftovers.