‘Roasted Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges and Apples & Savory Turkey Gravy’ are the 4th and 5th in a series of 6 ‘make ahead’ recipes, all of which can be prepared – or prepped – a day or two ahead, which will help to make your busy life a bit easier! By preparing a few dishes each night for two nights, all you’ll need to do the day of The Big Feast is roast the turkey, make the gravy and cook the green beans.
I chose to roast the turkey breast ‘ahead of time’ (earlier in the day) simply because I needed to take photos… and that’s very hard to do when hungry guests are waiting to eat. I invited several people over to ‘taste test’ the food for me and, for once, my kitchen wasn’t a disaster area. And I actually had time to visit with my friends before the meal.
I was so pleased to see how much everyone enjoyed my new recipes. It seems that everyone had their favorites and many commented how moist the turkey was although I had roasted it several hours before! Serving this meal was so easy.
Two nights before I prepared the ‘Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon’ and the ‘Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms’.
One night before I prepared the ‘Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives’ and prepped the green beans for my ‘Green Beans with Sesame Seeds’.
I have a small refrigerator in my cellar, so I was able to place all the ‘made-ahead’ dishes there. You can always use a large cooler or two – just be sure to keep the temperature good and cold.
Everything was very casual the night of the ‘taste testing’.
- Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives
- Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon
- Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Celery and Onions
- Green Beans with Browned Butter and Sesame Seeds
- Turkey Breast (or Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges & + Savory Turkey Gravy
- Bonus Recipe – Homemade Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce with Apple and a Hint of Cinnamon
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The first time I ever roasted a turkey we lived in Villanova, PA and my boys were in high school. Previously we’d eaten two Thanksgiving dinners each year; one with husband’s family and one at my parent’s home. (Lucky me…. I got to wash dishes twice…) That year we decided to stay home and we invited some of our friends to share Thanksgiving with us. In fact, our dear friend from Pakistan was staying with us for the weekend. Just picture this… he, who didn’t cook or usually even eat turkey, and I standing in the kitchen in our pjs in the early morning… reading the turkey label for instructions. It was then I learned that roasting a turkey is no harder than roasting a chicken… turkey just needs a bit more time in the oven!!
INGREDIENTS & METHOD
- turkey breast or whole turkey, thawed if frozen – – liver etc. removed from inside
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 orange, peel and pith removed – quartered
- 1/2 red onion, skin removed – quartered
- 1 apple, quartered
- 1 Tbs. paprika
- 2 tsp. Garlic Salt with Herbs
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/3 – 3/4 cup water
+ + Begin roasting turkey in a 400F oven. After 20 minutes, lower heat to 350F ++
Rinse turkey breast (or turkey) with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a rack in a low sided roasting pan. ++ If you don’t have a rack, crunch up some aluminum foil into balls and place the turkey breast on those.
Place some of the apple in the rear cavity. Place the rest of the apple, plus the orange and onion, into the breast cavity. Carefully separate the breast skin from the meat using your fingers to form a ‘pocket’.
Allow turkey to air dry 5 – 10 minutes, which helps the oil cling to the skin better.
Rub turkey skin with 1 Tbs. olive oil. In a small bowl mix 1 Tbs. paprika, 2 tsp. Garlic Salt with Herbs, 1 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Rub inside of turkey breast with about 2 tsp. of the spice mixture, rub about 2 tsp. under the skin and use the rest to rub on the skin. Try to cover the entire turkey breast (turkey) with spice rub. ++ If you feel you need a bit more spice rub, just mix up a little paprika and thyme. Don’t add any more salt or your gravy will be too salty.
Pour 1/2 cup white wine and 1/3 – 3/4 cup water into the pan. ++ All the delicious juices and flavors are going to go into the Savory Turkey Gravy – yummy!
++ Place roasting pan on the lower rack of your oven.
++ Start roasting turkey in a 400F oven. After 20 minutes, lower heat to 350F.
Follow directions on turkey wrapper for roasting times. Most store-bought turkey breasts or turkeys have those ‘pop-up thingies’ which tell you when the turkey is fully cooked, which is pretty darn helpful. (I have noticed, though, for the most part, the turkey ends up being fully cooked before the estimated time.)
- For turkey breast, meat thermometer should read 165F in the thickest part of the breast.
- For whole turkey, meat thermometer should read 175F in the thickest part of the leg.
- ++ TIP Baste the turkey a few times towards the end of the cooking time. This gives the skin a nice sheen!
Once the turkey is fully cooked place it on a platter and cover VERY LOOSELY with foil. Allow turkey to ‘rest’ for about 30 minutes while you make your gravy etc.. ++ Allowing meat to ‘rest’ makes the meat juicer. Plus it’s often easier to carve – which means … no shredded turkey.
If you’ve prepared my make-ahead “Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives”, “Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a Dash of Bourbon” or “Herb Stuffing with Baby Bella Mushrooms” place those in the oven to reheat at 360F. Keep the mashed potatoes and the stuffing covered – but uncover the sweet potatoes. Reheat for about 45 minutes – or until each dish is fully heated. ++ If you chose, all three recipes mentioned above can be reheated in the microwave.
CONTINUE SCROLLING DOWN FOR DIRECTIONS FOR DE-BONING AND REFRIGERATING THE TURKEY BREAST, IF YOU CHOSE TO ROAST IT EARLIER IN THE DAY.
Savory Gravy…. it’s Easy-Peasey!
Just like Prego spaghetti sauce – all the spices you need are ‘in there’ from the turkey juices.
- 4 cups chicken stock – divided into 3 cup & 1 cup portions
- 5 Tbs. flour
- 1/2 tsp. Gravy Master – or another type of ‘browning liquid’
Add 3 cups chicken stock to roasting pan. Scrape ‘bits’ from the bottom of the pan. Pour into a large skillet and begin warming on medium-high heat.
In a small measuring cup, mix 1 cup chicken stock with 5 Tbs. flour, making sure there’s no lumps. Pour stock/flour mixture slowly into the stock in the skillet, mixing with a whisk as you pour. You’re less likely to have lumps if stock isn’t too hot yet. Add 1/2 tsp. Gravy Master browning liquid, although it’s not really necessary. It’s just that I like a nice rich colored gravy!
Bring to a boil. Lower heat a bit and continue at a ‘high simmer’ until gravy thickens. ++ If you’d like your gravy a bit thicker, mix about 1/4 cup water with 1 Tbs. of flour and whisk it into your gravy a little at a time. ++ I poured my finished gravy through a sieve to remove the ‘bits’. If you don’t have a sieve… no worries.
HOW TO DE-BONE AND PLATE TURKEY BREAST EARLIER IN THE DAY
Using a sharp knife, remove skin from both sides of turkey breast. Set skin aside. Beginning on the outside of the breast, slice meat into uniformly thick slices. Place meat into casserole and cover with turkey skin. Pour any juices over the meat, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate.
About 30 minutes before reheating, place covered casserole on counter to allow it to warm up a bit.
Reheat – COVERED – at 360F for about 40 minutes. ++ As I mentioned at the top of this post, the turkey breast was very moist and very tender, even though it had been prepared earlier in the day.
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I wanted to share these two wonderful recipes. (You can add them to your ‘Make Ahead File’.) You know, sometimes it’s as if food bloggers read each others minds. I’d been thinking recently, “Wouldn’t it be great to find a new type of green bean casserole and a new way to make cranberry sauce – and Carolyn and Mike came through!!
The first recipe is from J.J. Begonia. Carolyn calls her recipe ‘Stovetop Green Bean Casserole – Served 3 Ways’. She told me, “You can definitely prepare the gravy (sauce) ahead of time, refrigerate it and reheat in a pan. Then just add the beans and cook through ~ done in under 10 minutes!”
Green Bean Casserole – Three Ways – – ‘J.J. Begonia’
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An excellent recipe for cranberry sauce was recently posted by Mike of ‘Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide’. Greg says, “Here’s a flavorful cranberry sauce that calls for just a few ingredients. If you don’t have a tangerine, substitute the zest from half an orange.”
Gingered Cranberry Sauce – – ‘Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide’
Happy Holidays to All – Enjoy !
10 thoughts on ““Make Ahead Turkey Dinner” – Recipes No. 4 & 5 – Roasted Turkey Breast (or Whole Turkey) with White Wine, Oranges and Apples & Savory Turkey Gravy”
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I’m glad to know that your friend cooks & slices her turkey(s) the day before – and that the meat is still delicious. As you know, I roasted & sliced my turkey breast the afternoon of the ‘taste testing’ but I’m thinking of preparing chicken and stuffing the ‘French Canadian Way’ for December 20th when my twin sons & their families (plus my own twin brother and his family) will be here for what we call our Roy Christmas’. (We have ‘Roy Christmas’ a bit before Dec. 25th so we can all be together!).
My mother-in-law, who was born in Quebec, used to roasted her turkey early in the day – or the day before – in a large covered enamel pan. She’d remove the meat, which was always succulent and tender, pour the juices from the pan over it and reheat it not too long before serving time. I also plan to make a French Canadian meat stuffing, which my own sons have never had. The recipe is from my husband’s uncle and I love, love, love it! And, IF I’m organized enough.. I’d like to post both recipes here on My Yellow Farmhouse. Oh – and, of course, I’ll be serving French Canadian Meat Pie for ‘Roy Christmas’ as well !
I would have loved to have been one of your taste testers…your whole meal sounds great. We go to a friend’s home each Thanksgiving and she cooks two turkeys…one the day ahead and slices it like you do. It definitely makes her life easier.
It all looks so good! I’m glad you have people to eat Thanksgiving dinner with. Daughter 1 has to be with her husband’s side of the family, especially great great grandma, and daughter 2 just moved to NYC and it job hunting. I might make pizza!
I find the holidays aren’t ‘what they used to be’ when both my husband’s and my parents were alive – the grandchildren were all small and it was just so much fun! But now there’s a new set of Little Ones – which makes my heart happy. In fact, one of my granddaughters is here with me right now as I type this. She felt sick at school, so I was called to go get her. Now that she’s here with me – she seems to be fine and we’re having a great time!!
That’s really nice. I’m glad she lives close by.
Ha ha it sure is hard to be hopping around trying to take photos when guests are drooling and wondering how much longer they have to wait. I love moist roast. You should consider inviting me as a taste tester next time!
I like the idea of crunching up some aluminium foil. I shall remember that for a long time to come. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!
Aren’t you sweet! Thanks so much for comments. My friend Richard and his wife enjoyed the evening so much they joked a few days after, asking when I was going to have another dinner party. I told them I already had some spaghetti sauce with meat in the freezer and had been thinking about making a lasagna.. which I haven’t made in quite a while! So – we’re on for this coming Thursday. And – since I’m cooking to be making the lasagna, I might as well post the recipe. So – that’ll be next! (And this time I only want to have a few guests… less ‘washing up’ after!)
What a beautiful serving platter … surrounded by grapes and oranges, any family would be happy to see this appear on the Thanksgiving table.
Thanks Ms. Boleyn – I do take special care when taking photos for the blog because I want my photos to catch people’s eye and, hopefully, make them want to prepare my recipe!!