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
- Wash turkey and pat dry. Set aside. Turn slow cooker to high. Place orange slices in the bottom and cover the pot.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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