Many home chefs wonder how to cook a turkey breast that is truly delectable and will please even the most demanding palate whether it’s for a holiday dinner or simply for a great meal anytime of the year. A whole turkey takes more time, oven space and can be a pain even while serving, although a well browned, whole turkey is a beautiful work of culinary art. But a browned, seasoned, well presented turkey breast can rival the traditional turkey anytime of the year. It may seem simple enough to cook a delectable turkey breast, but you’d be surprise at the home cooks that have a difficult time in producing a good turkey breast at the dinner table that is not too dry and not too tough. Here are a few pointers about how to cook a turkey breast for any occasion of the year.
1. Choosing a Turkey Breast
Keep in mind that a good end product begins with the right selection of meat, so when you go to your butcher shop or corner grocery store, be sure to check the selling date, size of selection and packaging. If you are fortunate enough to buy a turkey breast from a butcher who has just cut the meat, then you are ahead of the cooking game.
If you are selecting a cut from the cooler case at the grocery delectrician store, check to see if the date is two or three days ahead of expiration. Sometimes it’s best not to purchase a cut where the date is out the day your purchase, even though cheaper. Also, big is not always better, so it’s best to choose a turkey breast that is medium in size if possible and that has the skin still intact which will help produce a moister selection after cooking.
2. Preparing the Meat Selection
When you get the cut home and are ready to prepare it, remove it from the wrap and wash it thoroughly with cool water. This will remove any bone and debris that may be trapped under the skin or in the crevices of the cut. Pat dry with a paper towel so that it does not drip when picked up. Also, be careful to clean wherever the meat has touched on the countertop or sink so as to prevent bacterial illness that can be spread from uncooked poultry.
3. Cooking Instructions
Preheat your oven at 350 degrees while you prepare the meat for cooking. After you have washed and patted dry the meat selection, lay it on a double layered, tin foil lined tray that is almost twice the selection’s size. Make sure to use twice as long sections of foil so you will have enough length to wrap the meat when it’s time to cook. After positioning the selection, salt and pepper the top side of the turkey breast as well. Keep in mind that you need enough seasoning to flavor the entire cut of meat. No need to season the underside.
Also, a great seasoning for turkey breasts is the addition of an ample amount of curry to the top side of the meat. If you prefer a brand of poultry seasoning, that will suffice as well, but curry adds a very flavorful taste to cooked turkey. Wrap the meat with the tin foil and crimp the edges so the steam does not escape.
Cook in your oven for approximately 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of the turkey breast. Moderate sized cuts will usually be done in 1 and 1/2 hours. Test the old fashioned way by plunging a fork into the meat. If the meat pulls apart easily, it is done. If it has some resistance, you may need to add another 30 minutes to your cook time. Of course, if you want to be sure it is done, do the taste test!
After you have cooked your turkey breast, you can drain off the poultry juice to use in a gravy or stuffing. Let cooked meat sit for about 30 minutes before cutting as this allows it to cool and firm up a little for easy carving. Learning how to cook a turkey breast is very easy and offers a simple way to serve up this favorite meat all year long.