Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Turkey breast in a slow cooker
You don't have to wait for the holidays to enjoy roast turkey. If you have a slow cooker, you don't even have to wait for the weekend.
I happened upon frozen turkey breasts for 49 cents a pound recently and couldn't resist picking up one. This recipe is so good, and so easy, that I regret not buying more than one.
You'll notice that I didn't add any liquid to the slow cooker. The resulting drippings were deeply flavored and made great gravy. In keeping with the easy-does-it theme of this recipe, I used cornstarch to thicken the gravy.
I rubbed poultry seasoning into the turkey, but you can use your choice of herbs and spices. Most supermarket turkeys have been injected with saline, so I advise skipping the salt.
You can also substitute your favorite vegetables and fruits or add them to what I used. Use lemon instead of apple, for instance, or add carrots or even parsnips.
SLOW-COOKED TURKEY BREAST
Yield: About 8 servings
1 turkey breast (about 7 pounds), thawed if frozen
Vegetable oil, optional
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
2 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
1 small apple, cut into quarters
About 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Cut any large pieces of fat off the turkey and discard. Rub seasoning under the skin and in the turkey cavity. If desired, brown the turkey skin in a small amount of hot oil. (My slow cooker's insert goes directly on the stove, so I used that.)
Place onion, celery and apple in an oval 6-quart slow cooker. Place turkey into the cooker, positioning it upright or on one side. Cover and cook on low until done, about 5 to 7 hours.
Transfer turkey to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard the solids left in the strainer. Let liquid sit until the fat rises to the top, then skim off the fat and discard it.
Taste the cooking liquid. If the flavor is too concentrated, stir in a bit of water or chicken stock. Measure the liquid. You will need 1 tablespoon cornstarch for each cup of cooking liquid. In a small cup, stir together equal amounts of cornstarch and cooking liquid. Pour the rest of the cooking liquid into a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid returns to a simmer, thickens and becomes glossy. Keep gravy warm while you slice the turkey.