Thanksgiving recipe: Brined and oven roasted turkey breast

This is an easy roast for a smaller group when a larger whole turkey for Thanksgiving is a bit much. This also makes it easier to serve a separate different entree to guests at a holiday dinner.

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    For a small crowd for Thanksgiving, brine and roast a turkey breast in the oven for easy-to-serve portions.
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The brine in this recipe insures that the breast will stay as juicy as can be, provided it is not overcooked. The brining time is about 12 hours, and if it brines longer, it will get saltier, so if that happens you may want to give the bird a rinse after you drain the brine, before patting it dry.

This recipe is a variation of my Brined Mesquite Grilled Turkey Breast, which I love. I do prefer that one for the light smoky flavor it imparts, but if you are indoors due to weather or other reasons you cannot grill outside, this makes a great option. That particular recipe uses a bone-in breast for the recipe, but you can use bone-in or boneless, provided you bake according to the meat temp and not some arbitrary time.

For the turkey

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1 boneless turkey breast
soft butter or olive oil
salt and pepper

For the brine

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
4 -6 garlic cloves, sliced
4 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt

1. Mix together the ingredients for the brine until the salt is completely dissolved.

2. Pour brine over turkey breast inside an extra large ziplock bag or brining bag.

3. Brine turkey breast for 12 hours, then drain off brine and pat bird dry with paper toweling.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Rub the skin of the turkey with soft butter or olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a baking pan and roast, uncovered, until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the thickest part, about 40 minutes per pound. If skins browns excessively, tent with foil.

7. Allow roast to sit for 15-20 minutes before slicing to allow the meat temp to rise slightly more and to allow the juices to settle, before slicing and serving.

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