herb roasted breast with apple cider gravy

i was thinking of making turkey this year – not the whole bird – turkey breast. but i couldn’t find turkey breast at the supermarket! so i made this recipe from racheal ray with chicken — hey, to me chicken is just as good!

i made rachael ray’s pumpkin muffin stuffing from her food network thanksgiving special as the stuffing inside the chicken roll for last year’s thanksgiving dinner. so this year, i chose her turkey (chicken) recipe from her food network thanksgiving special this year!

the wonderful combination of the onion, lemon, sage, parsley and olive oil marinade with the bay leaves and margarine flavored the breast so well while keeping the breast so tender. but the apple cider gravy made with the pan juices, apple cider and vanilla extract adds a great richness to the breast. the result is a wonderful main dish, worthy of a special meal to giving thanks.


For the breast

  • 1 small (golf-ball sized) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed clean
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup, from 12 stems)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons margarine in a tub
  • 6 chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each – or –
    2 boneless turkey breast halves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy

  • (pan juices from roasted breast)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract – or –
    1/4 cup apple or regular brandy ~ recommended: Calvados
  • 2 to 3 cups apple cider
  • sea salt and pepper


Put the onion into the bowl of a mini food processor. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemon in thin strips, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith. Add the lemon zest to the food processor and reserve the whole lemon for another use. Chop the onion and lemon zest until fine. Add the sage, parsley, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until it forms a coarse paste.

Season the breasts generously with salt and pepper. Generously coat the breast in the paste. Put in the refrigerator as it marinates. You can marinate as long as you can.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.

Put 2 of the bay leaves and the margarine into a small pan and heat over medium-low heat until the margarine is bubbling. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Transfer the breasts to the roasting pan, and slide 1 bay leaf underneath each chicken breast; 2 bay leaves underneath each turkey breast. (The heat of the pan will release the bay leaf oils and flavor the breast.) Using a pastry brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay margarine.

Place the breast in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F.

After 20 minutes, baste the breasts with the remaining margarine, and roast for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving while you make the gravy.

Put the roasting pan over the burner on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add vanilla extract/brandy, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom. Cook for a minute, then, while stirring, pour in the apple cider. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy.

original recipe from Food Network Specials – Rachael Ray’s Thanksgiving in 60: Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy


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