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Every November I host “Friendsgiving,” which is basically a dry run of Thanksgiving with a good group of friends.  I make the turkey, gravy and pumpkin roll and my friends each bring a dish with them as well. This year folks brought green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, pecan pie cookies, bread and brussels sprouts au gratin. Add in generous amounts of wine and Cards Against Humanity and you’ve got a pretty excellent Friendsgiving.

However, I had one hitch in the turkey planning this year. Thanksgiving is pretty late in the month so the stores hadn’t stocked up yet on turkeys when I went to pick one up. To top that off, when I went to the store, they had just sold almost their entire inventory of whole turkeys to one buyer. Of what was left, an 11 pound turkey was the largest. I was expecting 10 people for Friendsgiving and, while we could have scraped by with the 11 pounder, I’m a big fan of leftover turkey sandwiches, so that just wasn’t going to cut it. To make up the difference, I decided to buy a turkey breast and cook it in my Sous Vide Supreme. This would make sure we had enough turkey for both Friendsgiving and leftovers, give me extra bones for making stock and wouldn’t take up precious oven space for more than a few minutes to brown the skin at the end.

This is also great recipe for enjoying turkey in smaller crowds that may not necessarily justify the roasting of an entire turkey…

As with a normal turkey, this is a process best started the day before Turkey day because the brine has to have time to cool down and then the turkey needs time to brine.

 

 

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Ingredients:

Brine:

12 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
4 C (32 oz) Chicken Stock, Vegetables Stock or some combination of the two
4 C (32 oz) Water
1 1/2 C Salt
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C White Sugar
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
3 Cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Bay Leaves

***

1 Turkey Breast, bone-in and split – (the entire breast of the bird, split into the two halves)

***

For the Sous Vide:

2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
Salt
Pepper

Butter or Oil for Browning the Skin

 

Instructions:

Turkey (2 of 18)

Make the brine by bringing all the brine ingredients (NOT including the turkey) to a boil in a large pot. Once the brine has reached a boil and all the salt and sugar has dissolved, remove the brine from the heat and chill.

 

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Once the bring has chilled, put the turkey breasts in an extra large plastic zip top bag and fill the bag with the brine, so that the breasts are covered. Transfer the bag to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours. I like the put the bag in a large bowl to help reduce the risk of waking up to a refrigerator flooded with raw turkey brine.

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About an hour before you want to start cooking the turkey, start preheating the Sous Vide to 148º F and pull the turkey out of the refrigerator.

Drain the brine and pat the turkey dry. Then pat each turkey breast with salt and pepper, before adding each breast to its own bag for vacuum sealing, along with 1 Tbsp of butter and 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence to each bag. Seal up the bags and let the turkey sit out until the sous vide water reaches 148º F.

Add the vacuum sealed turkey bags to the hot water and let them cook for 2 1/2 hours.

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When the turkey has finished cooking, you can hold it in the Sous Vide for a while if the rest of supper isn’t ready. When ready to eat, remove the breasts from their bags and pat dry. Reserve all that good liquid from the bags to make some excellent gravy.

Rub the breasts with oil or butter and either broil or sear in a hot pan for a minute or two to brown the skin.

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The skin probably won’t brown as evenly or nicely as an oven-roasted bird, but it should get some color. At this point you can cut the meat from the bone, slice and serve along with the oven-roasted turkey.

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Sous Vide Turkey Breast
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • Brine:
  • 12 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 4 C (32 oz) Chicken Stock, Vegetables Stock or some combination of the two
  • 4 C (32 oz) Water
  • 1½ C Salt
  • ½ C Brown Sugar
  • ½ C White Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Turkey:
  • 1 Turkey Breast, bone-in and split - (the entire breast of the bird, split into the two halves)
  • For the Sous Vide:
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter or Oil for Browning the Skin
Instructions
  1. Make the brine by bringing all the brine ingredients (NOT including the turkey) to a boil in a large pot. Once the brine has reached a boil and all the salt and sugar has dissolved, remove the brine from the heat and chill.
  2. Once the bring has chilled, put the turkey breasts in an extra large plastic zip top bag and fill the bag with the brine, so that the breasts are covered. Transfer the bag to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours. Putting the bag in a large bowl can help reduce the risk of the bag leaking in the refrigerator.
  3. About an hour before you want to start cooking the turkey, start preheating the Sous Vide to 148º F and pull the turkey out of the refrigerator.
  4. Drain the brine and pat the turkey dry. Then pat each turkey breast with salt and pepper, before adding each breast to its own bag for vacuum sealing, along with 1 Tbsp of butter and ½ tsp Herbs de Provence to each bag. Seal up the bags and let the turkey sit out until the sous vide water reaches 148º F.
  5. Add the vacuum sealed turkey bags to the hot water and let them cook for 2½ hours.
  6. When the turkey has finished cooking, you can hold it in the Sous Vide for a while if the rest of supper isn't ready. When ready to eat, remove the breasts from their bags and pat dry. Reserve all that good liquid from the bags to make some excellent gravy.
  7. Rub the breasts with oil or butter and either broil or sear in a hot pan for a minute or two to brown the skin.
  8. The skin probably won't brown as evenly or nicely as an oven-roasted bird, but it should get some color. At this point you can cut the meat from the bone, slice and serve along with the oven-roasted turkey.

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