- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

When I first saw a roasted turkey in a bag, I admit, I was skeptical. How could a turkey look so luscious, be perfectly browned, and be all neatly arranged with the juices in the bottom of the bag and not stuck to the pan? Above all, how could it cook so quickly?

Then I tried cooking a turkey this way. And as much nostalgic connection as I feel to my mother’s worn aluminum roasting pan with vented lid, this plastic-bag method has its appeal. It’s faster, it’s neater and it’s delicious.

First, rub the turkey or, in this case, the turkey breast, with butter to help it brown, then nestle bay leaves and an aromatic onion in the breast cavity. Pop the turkey in an ovenproof plastic baking bag in a roasting pan, place it in the oven, and walk away.

When you return two hours later, the turkey will be beautiful and moist. Should you want to make gravy or save the cooking juices for soup, they’re right in the bag.

Five time-shaving sides for roasted turkey in a bag: The ideas are unlimited as to what to serve with roasted turkey at any of your holiday meals this season.

• Twice-baked potatoes

• Sausage dressing, beginning with dried stuffing mix, adding sauteed onions and Italian sausage

• Cheese grits casserole

• Broccoli-rice casserole

• Mashed potatoes with garlic

Roast turkey breast in a bag

1 tablespoon flour

1 5-pound bone-in turkey breast

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 medium-size onion, peeled and quartered

3 bay leaves

Dust inside of a large (14-by-20-inch) oven bag with flour.

Rinse turkey breast under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season it, skin side and bone side, with salt and pepper. Rub butter all over the skin side, then place breast skin side down.

Place onion quarters and bay leaves in breast cavity. Place turkey breast in oven bag, then gather bag loosely around the turkey, allowing room for heat circulation. Secure bag with its nylon tie.

Cut 6 1-inch slits in top of bag. Place bag in a 13-by-9-inch (3-quart) baking dish.

Bake turkey on center rack of preheated 350-degree oven until it is deep golden brown and meat is cooked through, 1½ to 2 hours. Let turkey breast rest in bag for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a platter to slice.

Remove and discard bay leaves and onion quarters. Reserve pan juices; strain them for making gravy, if desired, or freeze them for making turkey soup. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICESa

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