Cooking Light (November 2016)
"I want to eat this gravy on everything."
During our Fakesgiving dinner, our friend Will uttered those words to Zach as he dug in to this French Onion Turkey Breast with its delectable onion gravy.
"Seriously," Will said. "On meat, on toast, on oatmeal. On everything short of, like, a peanut-butter sandwich. No, actually that would also be delicious."
Will is 100 percent right. The onion gravy in this dish -- which isn't even mentioned in the recipe name! -- is one of the most addictively delicious things we've eaten in a long time.
They gravy is phenomenal. It's fabulous.
And p.s.? This may also be the best Thanksgiving turkey we've ever made.
Anyway, we settled on this French Onion Turkey because we liked the idea of that spice mix. Honestly, the gravy was an afterthought: "Oh, this'll also make some onions we can serve with it."
Bittens, we don't want to be overly dramatic, but: THIS ONION GRAVY IS THE KEY TO FINDING TRUE HAPPINESS.
Making them, however, is not an exercise in happiness. The recipe calls for 5 pounds of sliced onions. Since this was the only turkey we made for Fakesgiving this year, we tripled this recipe. Uh-huh -- that means we peeled and vertically sliced 15 pounds of onions. That's roughly 42 cups.
We sliced and sauteed the onions (Step 1 in the recipe) on Saturday, and roasted the turkey on the bed of onions on Sunday. The onions soak in all the glorious drippings from the turkey while it cooks. Then, while the bird rests, you reduce the onion gravy, flavoring it with cream sherry and thickening it with a little flour.
The onions reduced and reduced and reduced. We ended up with about a third of the volume we started with. As they cook down, the gravy takes on a rich golden brown color that just gets more and more intense.
The finished turkey was truly delicious. People raved about it. And when's the last time anybody actually raved about a Thanksgiving turkey? The spices are perfect. One thing you don't get with this recipe is an Instagram-worthy whole roasted turkey. To that we say: Who cares? The trade-off here of perfectly cooked, tender, juicy turkey is completely worth it. (Sorry we don't have a good photo of the turkey itself; we ran out of time in the last-minute rush to get all the food on the table.)
But, again, the gravy is the secret star of this show. In fact, this gravy was probably the single best thing we served in the entire meal. Its deep, savory flavor and rich, velvety texture is one of those special things that makes you close your eyes and sigh with contentment.
Like our friend Will, you'll want to eat it on everything.
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French Onion Turkey Breast
Cooking Light (November 2016)
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Nutritional information available at Cooking Light
Active time: 40 mins
Total time: 2 hours 40 mins
1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds vertically sliced yellow onions (about 14 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (7-lb.) skin-on, bone-in fresh or frozen turkey breast, thawed
3 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/2 cup cream sherry
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onions; sauté 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in 3 tablespoons thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook 10 minutes. Add wine to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onions are browned. Spread onion mixture in bottom of a roasting pan.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160°F, pouring about 2/3 cup stock over breast every 20 minutes (about 4 times, using all the stock before the end). Place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes (internal temperature will rise to 165°F).
Place roasting pan on burner over medium-high. Combine sherry and flour in a bowl. Stir sherry mixture into onion mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until reduced to about 6 cups. Stir in parsley. Serve gravy with turkey. Remove skin before serving.