Can you believe the first week of November is already gone? Wow! Time is moving so fast this fall. Thanksgiving is now less than three weeks away. Do you have plans yet? I just found out yesterday that my mom is coming up to spend the holiday with us. :) Last year it was just the four of us. It was the first time since we were married (10 years) that we didn't spend Thanksgiving with any extended family. Since it was just us, I felt like experimenting a little bit. Instead of cooking the big bird, I cooked a turkey breast in the slow cooker. It was so super easy. My husband and kids love the white meat, but I am a dark meat fan, so I also roasted some drumsticks for me. It was awesome! We were all happy and it was so much less work for me (much less prep work) and for my husband (who gets clean-up duty after big meals like that). I have decided that it will be our "new tradition".
You will not believe how easy cooking a turkey breast in the slow cooker is. Cutting off the skin is the worst part, but even that isn't too bad. Then you just season it, stuff it with onion and fresh herbs, and throw it in the slow cooker. I have made it three or four times now and it comes out perfectly every single time.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
7 lb. bone-in turkey breast, thawed if frozen
1 onion, cut into large chunks
3 cloves garlic, quartered
Fresh oregano, thyme, and sage
2 tsp Bicentennial Rub
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
Cut all the skin off the turkey breast and discard it. Stuff the cavity with onion, garlic, and herbs. Combine the spices and the salt and coat the breast with it. Place the breast on its side in a 6 qt. oval slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. If you want to, you can flip it to its other side halfway through, but this is not necessary. Remove from slow cooker, carve, and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Isn't it beautiful? I don't even care for white meat that much, but this is really good! It is very moist, and the fresh herbs permeate the meat so well you can taste them in every bite. Amazing.
You really need to take the skin off if you are cooking in the slow cooker. It will become rubbery and gross and it will make it kind of greasy and fatty. You really don't need it; the slow cooker locks in the moisture so the breast doesn't dry out.
You will notice that I didn't list how much salt to use. That's because I use Bicentennial Rub from Penzey's as the main seasoning, and it contains salt. So I don't add very much more. But if you aren't using Bicentennial, you might want to use more. Use your best judgement on that one. The Bicentennial is awesome because it contains turmeric, which gives the turkey its beautiful golden color. Golden color is hard to achieve in the slow cooker, so this turkey really benefits from that. The smoked paprika helps with that too. So if you don't have Bicentennial Rub and are putting together your own blend of spices, I suggest throwing a little bit of turmeric and smoked paprika in there.
About the gravy: I am not good at the gravy-making. The frozen turkey breasts that I buy come with a gravy packet. I have used that and find it's a little salty. Even better is making a simple roux with flour and butter and then whisking in the liquid that accumulates in the slow cooker when the turkey is done. Bring to a boil until it thickens. Season with additional freshly ground black pepper.
This is such an easy meal that I always stock up on frozen turkey breasts when they go on sale. Not only is this awesome for Thanksgiving, it works really well for busy weeknights too!
I can't wait for Thanksgiving!