Turkey Breast with Fresh Orange-Cranberry Relish

Turkey breast

Ask Chef Phyllis:

My family loves turkey. I make it for Thanksgiving and sometimes for Christmas dinner, and we happily feast on the leftovers for days. I often say that I’ll make it again soon. Sadly, I don’t, probably because the family doesn’t want a Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner—they think it’s just for the holidays. But I love turkey and I think it’s a great choice for sandwiches. I buy sliced turkey in the deli section of the supermarket for weekend lunches.

So, I’ve had a turkey breast in the freezer for 3 months now that I don’t know what to do with other than roast in the oven. Any suggestions for a change?

What a sweet dilemma—but I know what you mean. Serving turkey out of season throws off our sense of tradition. This turkey breast is simmered for hours in a slow cooker, and it will erase any doubts your family has. It’s a misconception that you can only dry roast a turkey in the oven. Slow cooking in a small amount of liquid keeps the meat moist and juicy, which is often hard to achieve with turkey breast. This recipe will provide a succulent main entree, plus turkey sandwiches with a new twist.


  • 6–8 lbs. turkey breast, skin and rib meat completely defrosted
  • 2 organic oranges, sliced into ½-inch segments
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each sage, thyme, summer savory, sea salt, coarse black pepper, and paprika
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Special equipment: 6-quart slow cooker

For the glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½-cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper


  1. Wash turkey and pat dry. Set aside. Turn slow cooker to high. Place orange slices in the bottom and cover the pot.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with the olive oil. Add spices, orange zest, and honey. Rub mixture all over the turkey breast and under the skin.
  3. Place the prepared turkey breast in the slow cooker breast side down. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Turn the slow cooker to low. Flip the turkey breast right side up so the skin is now on top. Cook for an additional 2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, mix honey and orange juice, then add black pepper. Pour over turkey skin. Cover and cook for 1 more hour.
  5. Test for doneness (190°F on a meat thermometer). Remove turkey and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Fresh Orange-Cranberry Relish


  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1 large, organic orange, quartered (skin and all)
  • 1 large green apple, cored but not peeled
  • ½-cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons (or less, according to taste) rapadura sugar, raw honey, or Grand Marnier (optional)
  • ¼-cup orange juice if needed


In the bowl of a large food processor, add all ingredients in the order given. Add the extra orange juice as needed to achieve desired consistency. Pulse the mixture until well-blended. Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is a tasty alternative to traditional jellied cranberry sauce. Serve it with the main entrée or as a relish for sandwiches.
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To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:

  • chemical- and hormone-free meat
  • wild-caught fish
  • pasture-raised, organic eggs
  • whole, unrefined grains
  • virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
  • whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
  • pure, clean, spring water
  • sea salt
  • raw and/or cultured milk and cream products

Creative Commons photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin

Phyllis Quinn

Phyllis Quinn is a chef, food writer, and founder of Udderly Cultured, a class that teaches how to make homemade fresh mozzarella, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cultured products. Private lessons are available. For a reservation, call Phyllis at 970-221-5556 or email her at phyllisquinn2@gmail.com. Rediscover nearly lost cooking methods and get one-of-a-kind recipes in her books The Slow Cook Gourmet and Udderly Cultured: The Art of Milk Fermentation.

Products by Phyllis Quinn

Related Topics

healthy recipes | whole food nutrition | whole food recipes

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