Roasted Turkey Breast with Molasses
Brining the turkey breast guarantees moist meat, and roasting it with plenty of stuffing, herbs, and molasses ensures great flavor.
1 large boned-out turkey breast, skin on
½ cup and 2 tablespoons coarse salt
½ cup brown sugar
1½ cups Classic Bread Stuffing (before it’s baked)
1 teaspoon each finely minced fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage, mixed together
2 tablespoons butter, softened
freshly ground pepper
¼ cup molasses
1. Rub the turkey with about 2 tablespoons of coarse salt and rinse under cold water.
2. Combine ½ cup salt, ½ cup brown sugar, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the salt and sugar are totally dissolved.
3. Pour this mixture into a container large enough to hold the turkey breast, but something it won’t totally swim in (a spaghetti pot works well).
4. Add about 2 quarts cold water to the salt-and-sugar mixture and put the turkey inside the container. Add more water if necessary, enough to just cover the turkey. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
5. When you’re ready to cook the turkey, preheat the oven to 425ºF.
6. Drain the turkey, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
7. Cut a slit across 1 side of the turkey as if turning it into 2 long pieces, but don’t cut all the way through. Open the turkey breast like a book and evenly distribute the stuffing. Fold it back together.
8. Flip it and gently loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers and spread the herbs over the meat, under the skin. Tie the whole breast back together snugly with 4 or 5 pieces of kitchen twine. Spread the top with butter and sprinkle with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.
9. Put the turkey in a big roasting pan, roast for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350ºF. Roast for 1 hour.
10. Remove the turkey from the oven and brush it with half the molasses. Bake for another 10 minutes, remove it, and brush it with the remaining molasses. Return it to the oven and bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 180ºF.
11. Transfer the turkey to a board or platter and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
12. Pour about ½ cup of hot water into the roasting pan and scrape up all the browned bits—make sure to save all this juice for your gravy!