Stuffed Turkey Breast

Reader Contribution by Brandy Ernzen
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For 10 weeks, I’ll make one recipe from each chapter in our Comfort Food Cookbook. We’re dubbing it “10 Weeks of Comfort Cooking.” Follow along for easy weeknight recipes, dishes worthy to share at the Thanksgiving table or as gifts for the holidays, and more. Want to win a copy of the Comfort Food Cookbook? Just make one of the recipes we share and post a photo of it in the comments section of this blog. (We’d love to know what you thought of it, too.) We’ll choose random winners throughout the 10 weeks. If you can’t wait to get your very own copy of the Comfort Food Cookbook, I don’t blame you. Simply see our shopping section.

Is this the year you’ll try your hand at roasting your family’s Thanksgiving turkey? Or, do you always have TONS of meat left over because you can’t find a reasonably sized bird?

Then a turkey breast might be up your alley. There’s no brining, trussing or poultry limb-wrangling of any kind. Plus, most turkey breasts weigh between 5 and 9 pounds – perfect for a smaller family. Another bonus: With this recipe, you cook the stuffing at the same time. Talk about multitasking!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a breast smaller than 7 1/2 pounds. (You may have better luck finding smaller breasts with locally raised, heritage-breed birds.) It took longer to thaw and cook, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it came out juicy and flavorful – and the stuffing wasn’t overcooked, either. I basted every 25 to 30 minutes, and turned up the heat to 350 F once I tented the bird. What can I say? We were h-u-n-g-r-y.

Because my bird was so well-endowed, I used all the stuffing on the bird. Confession time: I grew up in the era of prepackaged boneless, skinless chicken breasts, where there wasn’t anything to remind you that this was once a living, breathing bird. Since I’ve worked at Ogden, I’ve shaken off my old ways and gone with whole chickens and turkeys. However, I still leave the “hand-between-the-skin-and-meat” part of the job to my husband. Let’s face it: It’s a bit slimy. Not this time, though. I fought through the heebie-jeebies and did it, all by myself. Major milestone accomplished!

The result? A fabulous meal that all three of us enjoyed – so much so, that I didn’t get a photo until near the end of the meal. I had a few sweet potatoes, an acorn squash and a zucchini begging to be used, so I roasted those to accompany the turkey and stuffing.

We do have leftover turkey, but not an overwhelming amount. (Check out next week’s blog for an idea on how to use those leftovers!)

Photo: Fotolia/Mediablitz Images

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Yields 10 servings.

1  1/2 sticks of butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups dry cornbread stuffing mix
2 cups course, dry whole-wheat bread crumbs
5-pound turkey breast, thawed

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large skillet; add onion and celery. Saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Add milk and eggs, mix well. Gently toss in cornbread stuffing and bread crumbs.

Loosen the skin of the turkey breast by gently pushing your hand between the skin and flesh. Leave about 1 inch of skin attached around the edge to hold the stuffing in. Place stuffing between the flesh and skin; place remaining stuffing in a buttered casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes.

Place the stuffed turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan. Melt remaining butter and brush over the turkey. Bake, uncovered, for 3 to 3  1/2 hours, basting frequently with melted butter. When the turkey reaches the desired brownness, tent the roasting pan with foil to prevent further browning. When a meat thermometer, inserted in the thickest part of the muscle, reaches 170 F, it’s done; the center of the stuffing should be 165 F. Let the meat stand for 15 minutes before carving. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with steamed miniature squash and thyme, is desired.

Take this turkey breast recipe for a test drive. If you do, let us know what you think of it – and share a photo. (Just remember to snap it before everyone digs in!) You’ll be entered to win a copy of the Comfort Food Cookbook.

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