Just because you aren’t expecting a crowd for Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy turkey. Buy a turkey breast and slow-cook it a day ahead. (Or if you are expecting a crowd, buy a turkey breast to supplement the big bird in your oven.)
The bonus in slow-cooking a turkey breast is the homemade stock. One 6 pound turkey breast produces about a quart of rich stock (I don’t add any liquid to the pot). I strain and skim fat from the juices. Then I use it for sauces, gravies, soups, or seasoning vegetables. Stock freezes well, too.
This recipe is my usual except I’ve added a butter/hot sauce rub. (My husband loves spicy cuisine. If you don’t, simply swap the hot sauce with poultry seasoning.) Regardless of how you season your turkey breast, the slow-cooking method is the same.
Slow Cooker Turkey Dinner With a Kick
Serves 4 + leftover turkey for future meals
Equipment: For the full meal recipe, you will need a six-quart slow-cooker.
- 1 6 lb. turkey breast, thawed
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 cup hot sauce, your choice
- 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 carrots, whole
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and halved
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bottom of the pot, arrange the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
- In a measuring cup, combine the softened butter with the hot sauce. Add salt and dried thyme.
- Rub the turkey breast thoroughly with the butter/hot sauce mixture, carefully lifting the skin and getting the mixture beneath it.
- Position the turkey breast over the vegetables so that the slow-cooker lid will fit. Cover.
- Cook on the highest setting for two hours.
- Reduce the temperature to medium or medium/low (depending on the controls of your model slow-cooker) and continue cooking for at least five more hours. If you lift the lid to view the turkey breast, you may need additional cooking time.*
- After a total of six hours of cooking, check the turkey for doneness using a poultry thermometer (or meat thermometer with a poultry setting). Remove turkey from the slow cooker when it’s done and allow it to rest on a carving board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Carefully remove the potatoes and carrots to the serving platter. Strain and reserve the broth from the pot for gravy or flavoring stuffing mix. Broth also freezes for future use.
- Slice the turkey breast meat into serving pieces, arrange on the platter with the carrots and potatoes, and serve with other side dishes of your choice.
I prefer slicing the turkey and reheating it the next day in gravy. The turkey adds flavor to my gravy, and the gravy keeps the turkey moist.