The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

A website celebrating and enumerating Juneau, Alaska's food culture

Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Lemon Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

with 2 comments

Roasted Turkey Breast

Let’s talk turkey!

Specifically turkey breast, which in my opinion is the most delicious part of the bird. I bought a turkey breast when they were on sale after the holidays. It was a frozen organic free range breast weighing in at about 4 pounds. I’ll never know my turkey’s name, or if he/she had friends, and I’ll always wonder if my turkey wrapped a little wing around its other turkey friends. Put a bird on it!

After defrosting my skin-on bone-in turkey I rinsed it well with water, patted it dry, and rubbed sea salt all over it. I left the turkey breast in a covered bowl in my fridge while I went to work yesterday. All told, I dry brined the turkey breast for about 8 hours. I think dry brining is the best idea ever! There’s no water, no plastic bag, and thus no big mess to speak of. The dry brine is an innovation that made my mom’s last Thanksgiving turkey even more delicious than her normally delicious turkey.

pink peppercorns are glorious

Here’s the rub: make a delicious herb rub for your turkey breast. It’s tempting to just coat the bad boy in butter and call it good, and believe me coating a turkey breast in butter alone is glorious! Taking the time to make herb rub takes this bird to an entirely new level of amazing. I adapted this recipe from CHOW, tweaking a few things I felt would improve the moistness of the meat.

-1, 4 pound bone-in & skin-on turkey breast
– Sea salt for brining, as much as needed to lightly cover the breast

Herb Rub:
– 6 Tablespoons of olive oil
– 2 Additional Tablespoons of salt for the rub
– 8 cloves of garlic
– 1 lemon, zested and sliced
– 1 Tablespoon of peppercorns (I used pink because I had them on hand)
– 1 Tablespoon of Aleppo pepper
– 1 Tablespoon of Greek oregano, on the stem if possible
– 2 Tablespoons of dried or fresh rosemary

Turkey all covered in rub and decked in lemon slices, with roasting vegetables, ready for the oven.

Roasting Ingredients:
– 1 Cup of white wine
– 1 Onion, roughly chopped
– 2 to 3 handfuls of baby carrots

– Preheat oven to 425 degrees, taking your brined turkey out of the fridge, and giving it another good wash and patting it dry.

– Coat turkey with 2 – 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and allow the turkey to sit while your oven heats and you prepare your herb rub.

– Put rub ingredients in a food processor, slowly adding remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil, while the food processor breaks down the ingredients.

– Use a spatula to scrape the rub ingredients down the side of the food processor once, and pulse again for another minute.

– After zesting your lemon, slice it crosswise.

– Allow your turkey to sit for another 10 minutes before putting the breast in a roasting pan.

– Use herb rub to coat all over the breast, making sure to get the rub under the skin.

– Arrange chopped onion and carrots around the turkey breast.

– Apply lemon slices to the top of the turkey breast, inside the ribs.

– Cook at 425 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes.

– After 30 minutes, remove roast from oven, add 1 cup of white wine to bottom of the pan.

– Decrease oven heat to 375 degrees.

– Cover pan with aluminum foil and roast turkey for an additional 40-50 minutes, checking to make sure the internal temperature is around 160 – 170 degrees, or until
the juices run clear when pierced with a knife or fork.

– Let your turkey breast rest for 10 minutes before carving it up and serving.

– Remove any stray vegetables from the bottom of the pan, leaving any browned bits.
– Dissolve 1 to 2 Tablespoons of corn starch in around 1/2 to 1 cup of cool water mixing well before adding to your roasting pan on medium heat.
– Stir the mixture well, scraping any of the bits off the bottom of the pan, and adding more water if necessary.
– Put a bowl in your sink and pour gravy mixture through a strainer, pressing the bits down with a spatula or wooden spoon to get all of the goodness into the dark delicious gravy mixture.

Serving Suggestion:
Mashed potatoes and a nice green salad are perfect sides for this Thanksgiving like meal. I had a decent bottle of red wine I’d been saving for a year or two that I brought out for our dinner guests. I think a nice crisp white wine, maybe the one you used for cooking would pair very nicely with this decadent turkey dinner. My favorite thing to drink with this dinner is a glass of sparkling water with lemon and lime.

Thanksgiving at Metcalfe Manor

leave a comment »


Thanksgiving isn’t something taken lightly in our family: literally or figuratively. We do it up! This year was no exception, with a full spread at our ancestral home on Gold Street. The clan converged for our traditional Thanksgiving meal and to help out with Uncle Peter & Aunt Sandy’s Juneau Public Market.


Mr. Feedbag, in the flesh with the wonder turkey!


Matt carves the ham, Peter carves the turkey, mom makes gravy, as Jakes looks hungrily on.

Matty made a ham that could launch a thousand ships with a drunken fig glaze. I made a decent couscous salad and some sweet potato popovers that kind of flopped over. In addition to making 800 pounds of mashed potatoes and enough pies to supply Costco, mom dry brined a 20 pound turkey. The turkey was perfectly cooked, one of the most delicious birds we’ve ever had.


Mama Feedbag making whipped cream for her arsenal of pie.


Pie festival, 2010. From left to right: pumpkin, lemon meringue, huckleberry.

Brother, cousins

Cousins in deep discussion at the dinner table.

Luke brought champagne, Leo made a Japanese yam dish, Lynn brought cookies, Sandy made a delicious salad, Phil & Deborah made a cheese & pickle platter, Jake and Moira brought some wine from Moira’s vineyard in Hungary, Ann & Mac brought a loaf of sourdough bread from San Francisco worth its weight in gold, Peter made his famous onion dip, and it’s all a blur after that.


The recipe everyone in the family seemed to really want was a new yeast roll that Mama Feedbag premiered at this year’s Thanksgiving Feedbag Extravaganza. You can find the recipe for the rolls on this aptly named website.

Broadway Maggie
Cousin Maggie was the star of the after party and entertained the family post dinner with some new songs she’s been learning at pre-school.

Uncle Jake snapped this candid shot on his phone of Bien and Leo having a little nap on the couch after dinner. Classic.

All in all it was one of the best Thanksgiving weekends, ever. The market was a great opportunity to work with the family, hang with cousins, and see just about everyone in town during the holiday. Lynn and I single handedly destroyed a case of DP while serving our tour of market duty. We had a cousin’s night at the movies and went to see the new Harry Potter flick in the valley. Bien had an emotional moment during a pivotal scene in the film and we all had some laughs. Happy Birthday to cousin Nellie, 21! You were missed for sure! Missed our cousin Peter this year, especially at the movies, a tradition that started with Transformers and will hopefully continue with other awesomely bad films.

We have such a great family and so many things to be thankful for.

Share Share

Written by Patrice Helmar

November 30, 2010 at 1:01 am


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers