A 5-pound turkey breast gives you the same range of flavorful options as the whole bird - and slices beautifully at the table.
1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen whole turkey, thawed
2 cups fresh orange juice (about 6 oranges)
1 cup water
3/4 cup bourbon, divided
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 oranges, peeled
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Orange slices (optional)
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Remove giblets and neck from turkey; discard. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; pat dry. Combine orange juice, water, 1/2 cup bourbon, and molasses in a 2-gallon heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; add turkey. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove turkey from bag, reserving marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Tie ends of legs with cord. Lift wing tips up and over back, and tuck under bird. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt into body cavity. Stuff cavity with oranges. Place turkey on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray or on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Bake at 350° for 3 hours or until thermometer registers 180°. (Cover turkey loosely with foil if it gets too brown.) Remove turkey from oven. Cover turkey loosely with foil; let stand at least 10 minutes before carving. Discard oranges.
Pour reserved marinade into a saucepan; bring to a boil. Skim foam from mixture with a slotted spoon; discard. Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 3 1/2 cups (about 15 minutes). Combine 1/4 cup bourbon and flour in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add to reduced marinade; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve sauce with turkey. Garnish with orange slices and parsley sprigs, if desired.
NOTE: To substitute a 5-pound turkey breast for a 12-pound turkey: Omit the 4 peeled oranges used to stuff the whole turkey; disregard the giblets, neck, legs, and wings. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of turkey breast, making sure not to touch the breastbone. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until thermometer registers 170°. (Cover turkey loosely with foil if it gets too brown.)
I remember making this recipe when it came out on the November 1998 issue of Cooking Light and it was a huge success. I decided to change 2 years ago and regretted it. Needless to say I came back to it last year and I will always make it this way from now on.
This year I had guests from England and it was their very first Thanksgiving ever. Everyone commented on how tasty and moist the turkey was. The gravy was a big hit too. I will never stray again!