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Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey is very high in protein and low in both total fat and saturated fat. Roasting a turkey breast is much easier than roasting the whole bird. It also lets you cook the white meat perfectly, rather than have it dry out while waiting for the dark meat to finish cooking. The breast is easy to turn, allowing it to self-baste as it roasts. Always buy a fresh turkey breast to ensure the most succulent result. Roasted turkey breast is versatile, perfect for hot or cold slices or for sandwiches and salads.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, halved 
  • 2 large carrots 
  • 2 large celery stalks 
  • 1 large parsnip  
  • 1 garlic clove (optional) 
  • 1 bone-in whole turkey breast, 6 to 8 lb. 
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature  
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt  
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 3 to 4 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth  

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F.

Place the 2 onion halves next to each other in the center of a roasting pan. Line up the carrots, celery and parsnip on either side. If using the garlic, tuck it in among the other vegetables.

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Working your hand carefully under the skin of the turkey to avoid tearing it, separate the skin from the meat on both sides of the breast, but do not detach it. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Rub butter over the meat under the skin on each side of the breast. Season with the salt and pepper. Pull the skin down to cover the meat. If necessary, stick toothpicks through the skin and the ribs to secure the skin. Set the breast, skin side down, on top of the vegetables. Pour in 3 cups of the broth. Roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Turn the breast to rest on one side and baste with the liquid in the pan. Roast for another 30 minutes. Turn the breast to rest on the opposite side and baste again with the pan liquid. Roast for another 30 minutes. Turn the breast skin side up and baste again. If the liquid has begun to evaporate, add the remaining 1 cup broth to the pan. Roast for another 30 minutes, baste and then continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part away from the bone registers 165°F, 2 to 2 1/2 hours total at 20 minutes per pound. If the top of the breast begins to overbrown, tent loosely with aluminum foil.

Remove the turkey breast from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let it rest for 20 minutes. (The internal temperature of the meat will rise to 170°F during the first 10 minutes of resting, and the juices will settle.) Carve into slices and serve immediately. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).