Note: For step-by-step photographic instructions, check out the slideshow here. For best results, dry-brine your turkey by following the instructions here. If dry-brining, omit any additional salt in herb butter.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.
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Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast And Stuffing (Thanksgiving For a Small Crowd)
About This Recipe
|Yield:||serves 6 to 8|
|Active time:||45 minutes|
|Total time:||2 hours|
|Special equipment:||9- by 13-inch casserole dish|
|This recipe appears in:||The Definitive Guide to Buying, Prepping, Cooking, and Carving Your Thanksgiving Turkey From the Archives: Roast Turkey Breast for a Small Gathering The Food Lab: Roast Turkey Breast For A Small Gathering|
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds sage sausage, removed from casing
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 4 large stalks celery, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated on microplane, divided
- 1/4 cup minced fresh sage leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves)
- 32 ounces (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, preferably homemade
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 1/2 pounds (about 2 loaves) high quality sandwich bread or soft Italian or French bread, stale or dried in the oven
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole bone-in, skin-on turkey breast (about 4 to 5 pounds), patted dry
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. In large Dutch oven, melt 5 tablespoons butter over medium high heat until foaming subsides (don't allow butter to brown), about 2 minutes. Add sausage and mash with stiff whisk or potato masher to break up into fine pieces (largest pieces should be no greater than 1/4-inch). Cook, stirring frequently until only a few bits of pink remain, about 8 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic, and sage and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add half of chicken stock.
Whisk remaining chicken stock, eggs, and 3 tablespoons parsley in medium bowl until homogeneous. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, slowly pour egg mixture into sausage mixture. Add bread cubes and fold gently until evenly mixed.
Using poultry shears, cut off and remove any back portion that may be attached to the turkey (there may not be any). Fill cavity under turkey breast and under flap of fat around neck with stuffing. Transfer remaining stuffing to a buttered 9- by 13-inch casserole dish and place turkey on top.
Using your hands, carefully separate the turkey skin from the meat by inserting at the bottom of the breast, being careful not to tear it. In a small bowl, combine remaining butter with remaining parsley and oregano. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir with a fork until homogenous. Rub mixture evenly over and under turkey skin.
Transfer to oven and roast until stuffing starts to brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer turkey to a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, and return turkey to oven. Continue roasting until turkey is golden brown and crisp, and thickest part near bone registers 145 to 150°F on an instant read thermometer, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven, transfer to a plate, and let rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour exuded juices back over stuffing. Return stuffing to oven and cook until it's golden brown and registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer, about 15 minutes. Carve turkey, spread over stuffing, and serve.