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Thanksgiving Recipe: Chef Gina’s Roast Turkey Breast with Lemon Zest and Rosemary Butter

November 26th, 2015


For those of you celebrating a simpler or smaller Thanksgiving gathering, this recipe is a perfect alternative to a giant bird.  Enjoy these complex, autumnal flavors with a quick way to make your holiday dinner one to remember.

Easy Turkey Breast Recipe

Turkey Breast with Lemon Zest and Rosemary Butter

by San Diego Private Chef Gina
Contact the Chef!

1 small (golf-ball sized) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lemon, scrubbed clean
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup, from 12 stems)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
6 fresh bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds each)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brandy
2 to 3 cups apple cider
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.

Put the onion into the bowl of a mini food processor. Using a vegetable
peeler, peel the zest from the lemon in thin strips, being careful not to
cut into the bitter white pith. Add the lemon zest to the food processor
and reserve the whole lemon for another use. Chop the onion and lemon zest
until fine. Add the rosemary, parsley, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and
pulse until it forms a coarse paste.

Put 2 of the bay leaves and the butter into a small pan and heat over
medium-low heat until the butter is bubbling. Remove from the heat and set

Put the turkey breasts on a work surface. Carefully run your fingers
between the skin and the flesh from 1 end, being careful not to pull it
completely off, creating a pocket. Season the turkey breasts generously
with salt and pepper. Stuff half of the herb paste under the skin of each
breast, and spread it evenly under the skin. Transfer the breasts to the
roasting pan, and slide 2 bay leaves underneath each one. (The heat of the
pan will release the bay leaf oils and flavor the breast.) Using a pastry
brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay butter. Place the turkey in
the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F. After
20 minutes, baste the turkey breasts with the remaining butter, and roast
for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through, and a
thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 170
degrees F.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10
minutes before carving while you make the gravy.

Put the roasting pan over the burner on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour
over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the
brandy, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom.

Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then, while stirring, pour in
the apple cider. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with
salt and pepper.

Slice the turkey breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy

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