Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy (that almost makes itself!)

There are only eight days until the aroma of roasting turkeys are wafting from our ovens.  My family could happily eat turkey year-round. Give me two pieces of whole wheat breads, a small schmear of mayo and some cranberry sauce... it's my favorite brown bag lunch to bring to work.

It always seems that leftover turkey breast (my favorite) is the first to disappear. I find myself longing for more turkey.  Then, there are some fine folks whose families are all grown, and maybe moved far away. Or, sometimes, people choose to go out for dinner, or are dinner guests? There are not leftovers!

Well, American's Test Kitchen has a recipe in a cookbook I've been using a lot, as of late. It's called "America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution".   I love the idea of slow cooker turkey!

I picked up a fresh Turkey Half Breast at Trader Joe's, and decided to test their recipe for a slow cooker turkey breast, that makes it's own gravy.  ATK's recipe is written for a 6-7 pound turkey breast.

However, I decided that a 2 1/2 pound turkey breast would be a great way to test drive this recipe.  Season with salt & pepper.

The prep work didn't take long. I coarsely chopped one carrot, one medium onion and a stalk of celery, garlic cloves, and added it to a skillet with melted butter.  They were cooked until lightly browned, then flour is added and cooked until golden brown.

Next, add chicken broth, water and some white wine (which is totally optional, but I love the flavor white wine imparts to turkey gravy).  For aromatics, I added Bay leaves,  and a couple springs of thyme.  Add the liquid to the slow cooker, and nestle the turkey (skin side up) into the slow cooker.  For a 2-1/2 pound turkey breast, I cooked this on low for just under 3 hours...until an instant read thermometer registered 165F.  Remove the turkey breast and tent with foil.

I strained the braising liquid, and let it settle for five minutes-- that way, I could skim off any excess fat. Then, I let the liquid simmer for about 15 minutes. The gravy was a bit thin, and I tasted it for seasoning...since I used low-sodium chicken broth, I added a bit more salt and pepper.

I added a little gravy over the sliced turkey, covered it with foil and set it inside a warm oven.  I decided to make a slurry of cornstarch (about 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 3-4 tablespoons water), whisked until there are no lumps...then slowly drizzled it into the gravy.  It thickened up to the consistency my men prefer (so they can slather it over mashed potatoes).

TASTING NOTES:  The turkey breast was really moist, and that's something any cook hopes will be the end result.  We loved it, and this is how I'll prepare my turkey breasts from now on. It's so easy!

Because there aren't any turkey drippings, the gravy is not going to have that beautiful dark color and deep flavor like my famous "Make Ahead Turkey Gravy".

Since the turkey breast is braised in liquid, you won't get that glorious golden brown skin, like we get with our Grilled Turkey (which is also a great way to free up a single oven).

What you will get is a no-fuss way of making turkey, that your family will go back for seconds. Guaranteed.

There are a couple of side notes:  When buying a turkey breast, read the label carefully. There is a well-known brand that brines their turkey breasts in a saline solution, along with other ingredients I cannot pronounce.  Watch your salt seasoning, carefully!  That's why I use low-salt chicken broth, and I will only buy a turkey breast that has not been brined or pre-seasoned.

I've heard that if your turkey breast is too big for the slow cooker lid to fit, you can wrap the slow cooker with aluminum foil-- across and the in the other direction, and tuck it underneath.  I've read comments that this has been successful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's the printable recipe card:

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Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your turkey looks moist and tender and your gravy scrumptious. Love meals like this. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Debby.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

LOVE this idea, Debby. Sometimes I get so hungry for turkey and don't want to roast a whole one. This will be perfect for just me. I could eat a turkey sandwich every day until the turkey is gone. thanks for sharing this. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

TKW said...

I don't like turkey EXCEPT in a sandwich, and nothing beats the real thing! Definitely trying this!

Roz Corieri Paige said...

You've totally got me in the mood for Thanksgiving with this delicious recipe! Nice to hear that you are doing better (from your FB posts), and wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Debby!!

Big Dude said...

Sure looks like an easy way to serve up some turkey breast. We're using your make ahead gravy recipe again this year.

Kate @ Framed Cooks said...

Well, I love my slow cooker AND turkey with equal amounts of love, and it's so great to see this match made in heaven! Maybe this will be the thing that gets me to make turkey more than once a year, because I do love it!

naleśniki said...

I bet this is so good! These flavors are perfection!

Jennifer Hart said...

This is out of this world easy! My new favorite way to cook turkey pieces! Hands down yum factor!