A bone-in turkey breast gets seared in a cast iron skillet to get the skin brown and crispy. Then it gets transferred to the oven where it’s basted with thyme-and-garlic scented duck fat every 15 minutes until it’s cooked. THEN you get to bathe the whole thing in a vibrant scallion puree that is (dare we say) better than gravy. Where’s the harm in that?
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Chef Sean Brock created this dish using quail, but the technique pairs equally well with bone-in turkey breast, creating a surprisingly juicy version of a much-maligned cut. Searing a turkey breast on the stovetop crisps the skin beautifully, while basting with thyme- and garlic-scented duck fat enriches the lean meat. Green onions stand in for the green garlic for a silky, fresh sauce that’s a welcome departure from classic gravy. Be sure to use homemade vegetable stock or a clear canned stock to preserve the brilliant green color. You can find duck fat from many gourmet shops, or online from D’Artagnan.
For the turkey:
1 bone-in turkey breast
turkey breast half (about 4 1/2 pounds), preferably brined
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup duck fat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch thyme
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
For the puree:
1/2 pound green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 teaspoons cream cheese, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat turkey breast dry with paper towels and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat. Add the duck fat to the skillet. When the fat shimmers, add the turkey breast, skin-side down, and cook until dark golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and remove the turkey from pan. Carefully stir the butter into the pan juices. Arrange the thyme branches in the skillet to make a bed for the turkey. Place the turkey, seared-side-up, on the thyme and sprinkle the garlic around the sides. Baste the turkey, and transfer the pan to the oven.
Roast, basting every 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast without touching bone registers 155°F, about 1 hour. Baste once more and transfer the turkey to a platter. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
While the turkey roasts, prepare the puree. In a medium saucepan, heat the stock over medium-high, add the green onions, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the scallions to a blender, reserving the cooking liquid. Blend on high until very smooth, about 5 minutes, adding a splash of cooking liquid if necessary to help the blender puree the scallions. Add the cream cheese and blend for 2 minutes more. Season with salt to taste. Slice the turkey breast across the grain and serve with the green-onion puree.