Turkey Breast en Cocotte With Pan Gravy
Serves 4 with leftovers. Recipe is courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen and is from its latest cookbook, “The Make Ahead Cook.” “Why This Recipe Works: Around Thanksgiving, recipes using moist, tender leftover turkey abound — then quickly disappear until the next holiday, because roasting a whole turkey is impractical unless you’re feeding a crowd. But a whole turkey breast is a great alternative; it’s easy to cook and provides enough leftovers for a creative second-day meal. To ensure that our turkey breast would be super moist and tender (a must when using leftovers for another meal), we turned to a French technique called cooking en cocotte where the bird is cooked with aromatics at very low heat with no added liquid. This method traps all the steam released by the meat during cooking, essentially braising it in its own juices. It gave us perfectly cooked turkey, plus the flavorful liquid left in the pot made a delicious and easy pan gravy. Avoid ‘hotel-style’” turkey breasts if possible; they still have the wings and rib cage attached. If this is the only type of breast you can find, remove the wings and cut away the rib cage with kitchen shears before proceeding with the recipe. You will need at least a 7-quart Dutch oven for this recipe. Don’t buy a turkey breast larger than 7 pounds; it won’t fit in the pot.
1 (6- to 7-pound) whole bone-in turkey breast, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbls. all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 F. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown turkey on all sides, about 12 minutes; transfer to large plate.
2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, return turkey, breast side up, to pot along with any accumulated juices.
3. Fit large piece of aluminum foil over pot, pressing to seal, then cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until turkey registers 160 F, about 2 hours.
4. Carefully remove pot from oven. Transfer turkey to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest while making gravy.
5. Being careful of hot pot handles, bring remaining juices and vegetables to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until nearly all liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly to smooth out any lumps. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring often, until gravy is thickened and measures about 11/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain gravy through fine-mesh strainer and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Set aside 1 pound boneless, skinless turkey. Carve remaining turkey and serve, passing gravy separately.
Note: Reserved 1 pound turkey can be used to make Turkey and Green Chili Enchiladas. Refrigerate reserved turkey for up to 2 days.