Stovetop Roast Turkey
For those of us living in tiny homes, vans, buses, and the like, Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday to celebrate. It is a lot of cooking to be done in that tiny little kitchen. We made it doubly hard on ourselves by opting not to put an oven in our build. This glaring omission for a dedicated cook like myself necessitates a certain amount of creativity when it comes to cooking dishes like bread, pies, and, of course, the thanksgiving turkey. But being the dedicated (stubborn?) person that I am, I have spent months exploring the art of stove top baking and roasting, and I am happy to share that it is quite possible to make a whole Thanksgiving feast in your tiny kitchen.
This recipe is not exactly the baked turkey that you’ve had in the past, but the use of wine and broth in a closed pan creates a juicy and incredibly tender turkey that will delight your vanlife Thanksgiving guests.
Thanksgiving Turkey Breast
1 5 lb. turkey breast
¼ cup minced poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups light broth (chicken, vegetable, etc.)
Salt + Pepper
Begin by spatchcocking the turkey breast. This step may not be necessary depending on your cooking vessel, but it was for us. Our large cast iron pot is not quite tall enough for the turkey breast to stand up, so it needed to be spatchcocked in order to fit. But spatchcocking also allows better heat transfer through the breast, so it will also speed up the cooking process.
To spatchcock the breast, cut down either side of the spine all the way until it can be removed. Next, spread the breast as wide as you can and apply pressure to the center of the breast until it pops and lays flat. Voila, a spatchcocked bird.
Pat the turkey breast dry and then coat all over with olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced poultry herbs.
Heat the large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat and add a fair amount of olive oil to the pan. When it gets nice and hot, add the bird, breast down. Sear the skin until nicely browned, using tongs to move it as necessary to create and even sear all around. When the skin is seared, remove the bird from the pan.
Add another bit of olive oil and the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent. At this point, put the turkey breast into the pot on top of the vegetables, breasts up, and add ½ cup each of broth and white wine. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow to simmer.
Check on the bird occasionally to ensure that there is always plenty of liquid in there. 2 cups of each broth and white wine should be plenty for the full roasting time, just add them in equal measure as necessary.
The turkey breast should take around 15 minutes per pound. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit. When this temperature is reached, remove the turkey and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes, and turn off the heat.
The remaining vegetables and liquid in the bottom of the pot can be pureed to serve as a sauce, or the sauce can be mixed in equal parts with a traditional gravy made from roux and broth.