"Friendsgiving" Turkey Breasts
Yes, I know that Thanksgiving has past, but many people celebrate a second round with a "Friendsgiving," a meal with their friends and those outside their family circle. Buying a whole turkey seems excessive after Thanksgiving, particularly if you don't have many people to feed. Also, cooking a whole turkey while you're at work or after work doesn't seem like such a great idea. So why not opt for quicker cooking turkey breasts? I found split breasts at my local market (on sale!), but you could certainly buy a whole breast (fresh or thawed) and split it yourself with a large knife or kitchen shears. The split breasts cook in about an hour and, seasoned with plenty of herbs, yield tasty, moist meat, no special brine required. You can cook the turkey breasts the day or evening of your "Friendsgiving" or cook them in advance, then carve, and reheat the meat (gently with a little stock or gravy over top to avoid drying the meat). If you opt for the "cook them in advance" route, you can use the turkey bones to make stock for dressing or soup, if you'd like.
Split Turkey Breasts -- Serves 4-6+
2 split turkey breasts (4-6 pounds total)
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped (or use 1 tablespoon of dried)
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped (or use 1/2 teaspoon of dried)
8-10 fresh sage leaves (or use 1 teaspoon of dried rubbed sage)
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line the sheet with foil and coat the foil with spray. Place the turkey breasts, meaty side up, on the sheet. In a small bowl or cup, mix the rosemary, oregano, thyme, lemon pepper, salt, and olive oil together to form a pasty mixture. With your fingers or a knife, separate the skin from the turkey breasts, lifting, but not removing the skin. Rub half of the herb mixture on each of the split the turkey breasts, under the skin and on the underside of the breast. Tuck half of the sage leaves on top of the herb mixture, distributing them at even intervals under the skin and on the underside of the breasts. Let the turkey breasts sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the breasts for about an hour, checking the breasts with a meat thermometer after about 45 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees. Let the cooked turkey breasts rest, loosely covered with foil, for at least 20 minutes before you slice them.