Turkey Done Right Can Be Magical

Turkey Dinner

I’m not trying to brag, but I make a mean roast turkey. For some reason, I can’t always get chicken just right but my turkey, oh, it’s magically, melt-in-your-mouth flavorlicious. Not to sound cheesey, but the special ingredient here may just be the love.

And boy do I love good turkey. I go to Bulls games just to get what I consider to be the best and most over-priced turkey sandwich ever – the one sold at the north end of the United Center. The turkey is sliced to order and is served warm on whole-grain bread with cranberry-mayonnaise and roasted root vegetable chips. I always get the hiccups from eating it too fast. Mmmm, I miss that sandwich…

Anyways, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to make a turkey this year (either for the family Thanksgiving or for any of my various culinary jobs) and, to be completely honest, I was also bit disappointed in the one I ate for Thanksgiving. After the holiday I thought about buying a discounted whole turkey but what would I do with it? Certainly I couldn’t eat a whole bird myself and I didn’t have the freezer space to store it for future company. Even the whole turkey breasts were too much. So I passed, thinking this year I’d have to do without.

Turkey and Potatoes in Oven

Then, on a random stop at Trader Joe’s this afternoon to buy dark chocolate covered raisins (usually the only thing I buy there), I came across an affordable half turkey breast on the bone. I did what any other rational person would do: bought it. I also happened to stumble across a bag of multi-colored small potatoes and added them to the basket, thus making this the most I’ve ever bought at that store in one purchase.


At home I found a bit of fresh sage, a bag of cranberries (I’d bought them right after Thanksgiving knowing they stay fresh for a long time) and some baby spinach. I minced the sage (about 2 teaspoons) and mixed it with 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter and a pinch of salt and garlic powder, which I then rubbed all over the seasoned turkey including under the skin. I roasted it in the oven until the internal temperature reached 160F (the temperature increased while resting due to carry-over), about an hour and 10 minutes, basting with the butter blend every 20 minutes. I  added the potatoes and five cloves unpeeled garlic to the pan after 20 minutes. Once the turkey was done cooking, I transferred it to a cutting board to rest and placed the potatoes on a plate. Then I made the jus by discarding the extra fat in the pan, placing the pan over medium-high heat and deglazing with chicken stock which I reduced by half.

Sliced Turkey

I made the cranberry sauce on the stovetop while the turkey was roasting by mixing about half the bag of cranberries (about 6 oz) with enough water to cover and a few tablespoons sugar. I gently simmered it until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickened to a jelly-like consistency. The spinach was simply steamed with a pinch of salt.


Finally, I served myself dinner and then called my mom to brag about the delicious meal she was missing (okay, I had to brag somewhere). And I ate the dark chocolate raisins for dessert.

  • pamlcohen posted: 12 Dec at 3:14 pm

    Looks delicious. I buy those turkey breasts at Trader Joes (I think I have one in the freezer right now) and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it. I will try it and let you know how it turns out!

  • ARose posted: 12 Dec at 9:54 pm

    Trader Joes happens to be one of my favorite stores. I have never left only purchasing things that would fit in a basket (always a cart) anyway, just wondering where our invite was. I can say that the United Centers Turkey Sand. are the best by far and now that Kevin knows about them he as to have them we he is there. Next time we would like an invite to dine with Jackie and eat your amazing foods.

+ 1 = four

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