Never chew through dry turkey again thanks to sous vide cooking.
Thanksgiving is less than one week away!! I feel like I’m always saying time is flying by but it really feels like it was just November 1st. With the new job I unfortunately don’t get Friday off, so instead of traveling for Thanksgiving this year we are having family come to us (and after nearly missing my flight last year thanks to horrible security lines, I’m not complaining about getting to stay home 😉 ).
As I love to plan – a quality a swear must be a requirement to become a dietitian – I’ve had my Thanksgiving menu ready to go since September: lightened up sweet potato casserole, my mom’s stuffing, brussels sprouts salad, and possibly some additional roasted vegetables. Yes no mashed potatoes or green bean casseroles, as neither Bry nor I really love either of those dishes, plus I plan on getting my carb-fill on the stuffing ;). But the plan for the turkey keeps changing. Initially, it was going to be baked turkey breasts with a cranberry soy sauce, and then it was going to be more of a roulade, and now we’ve finally decided on sous vide turkey breasts.
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Last week Bry and I did a test run to see if sous vide was the way to go. The results? It tasted like perfectly cooked chicken – or I guess what turkey would taste like if it wasn’t dry. Thanks to the vacuum sealing, all of the moisture stays in the turkey breasts leaving you with nice, juicy bites. For full info on what sous vide is and how to do it, check out my earlier post here.
It took quite a bit of research to figure out the temperature and cooking time for the turkey. I kept seeing conflicting temperatures and times, so I went with a middle approach and it worked beautifully! For turkey that is fully cooked, but still nice and moist I found success cooking it at 145°F for 2 hours. However, if you want the texture closer to traditional roasted turkey, Serious Eats recommends cooking at 152°F.
When we did the test run, we ate the turkey with an apple barbecue sauce from a local farm – so good! And as a result I’m now re-thinking the gravy. After all, we won’t have any pan drippings to add to the gravy base and no mashed potatoes to serve it over. . .You can bet this weekend will be spent trying to decide on the perfect sauce – I’ll keep you posted 😉
So here’s a toast to gearing up for thanksgiving this weekend whether it’s packing for a trip or cleaning the house before relatives come! Edit 12/02/16: We made these for Thanksgiving and it worked perfectly! However we did make some adjustments that I would recommend:
- Pack each turkey breast in its own ziploc bag
- Since you will now have multiple bags, use a rectangular plastic bin to sous vide in rather than a pot. This creates more room and avoids having the bags blocking the circulator.
- Rub each breast with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then package with 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary for optimal flavor
- 2 lb turkey breast, cut into 4 evenly-sized pieces (VERY important that each piece is the same thickness)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- Place sous vide circulator in a large pot of water (the warmer the water, the faster it will reach your desired cooking temperature) and set to 145F (or 152F for more well-done turkey). If doing a large batch of turkey breasts, I recommend using a large plastic tub instead of a pot.
- Place turkey breasts on a cutting board and rub each piece with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place seasoned turkey breasts into their own zip-loc bags, add a sprig of rosemary to each, and vacuum seal. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, slowly lower zip-loc bag into pot of water, pressing out all the air and slowly sealing tight.
- Once fully sealed and the water has warmed to 145F, place bags with turkey breasts into the large pot of water (or plastic tub) making sure it is fully submerged.
- Allow to cook for 2-2.5 hours. I found mine were perfect at 2 hours, but it's always good to use a meat thermometer just to be safe.
- Remove cooked turkey breasts from bag and pat dry with a paper towel.
- If desired, sear turkey breasts in a pre-heated cast-iron skillet.
- Serve immediately