Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
Save yourself energy and effort this year while keeping Thanksgiving dinner extra delicious with our slow cooker citrus turkey and accompanying citrus mixed berry relish. This dynamic pairing of turkey and cranberry sauce is the perfect twist on the two biggest stars of Thanksgiving dinner.
Don’t worry about finding refrigerator space to defrost a giant whole turkey, waking up super early on Thanksgiving morning to roast that turkey, and finding a spot to keep it warm until the rest of the side dishes are ready. Skip the whole turkey this year and just buy a 4- to 5-pound bone-in turkey breast. Using bone-in breast meat adds extra flavor from the bones and the bit of rib meat and neck area meat usually still attached to it. This slow cooker technique frees up the oven for making baked side dishes and creates the perfect vessel to keep the turkey moist and up to temperature until time to serve.
Get the right-sized turkey breast for your slow cooker! If your turkey ends up too large to close the lid, cut it into two halves along the breast bone and lay them in the slow cooker in a way that allows you to close the lid. (And if you make this adjustment, lay the sliced lemon and oranges in the recipe on the bottom of the slow cooker instead of stuffing the rib cavity.)
I leave the skin on my breast meat and season the outside of the turkey skin because the skin has a lot of flavor and some fat. As the turkey cooks, this combination bastes the turkey so you do not have to open the lid for basting, and it’s energy efficient since you don’t let out heat.
At this point, since the skin doesn’t crisp up, I do remove and discard it at the very end of cooking, but by slicing the finished breast meat and placing it back in the stock in the slow cooker, each and every slice will get to soak up the deliciously seasoned and flavored stock! The finished stock just isn’t the same when you take the skin off before cooking.
Serve this super-easy and energy-saving citrus turkey breast with a citrus berry relish. It doesn’t take very long to make cranberry sauce at home, and this version will make you wonder why you never used blueberries, spices, or citrus juices before!
Try using the seasoned stock to make your homemade gravy recipe! It will only give a hint of citrus taste, and it creates an amazing, unique gravy base perfect for topping mashed potatoes.
Let’s get cooking!
Thanksgiving Citrus Turkey and Berry Relish Duo
Slow Cooker Citrus Turkey Ingredients:
- 4-5 lb. Bone-in turkey breast (defrosted )
- 4 c. Turkey stock (can substitute chicken stock)
- ½ c. Fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp. Butter, softened
- 1 tbsp. Garlic paste
- 1 Orange, sliced
- 1 Lemon, sliced
- 6 Celery stalks, with leaves
- 4 Large carrots
- 1 Medium yellow onion
- ¼ c. Fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp. Lemon Pepper seasoning
- ½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. Sea salt
1) Mix together the lemon pepper seasoning, cayenne pepper, and sea salt. Measure ½ tablespoon from the mixture and mix with the garlic paste and softened butter.
2) Remove any excess skin around the turkey breast (usually around neck area). Pull the skin over the breast area up and rub the seasoned garlic butter mixture on the breast between it and the skin on top.
3) Use the rest of the seasoning mixture on the outside of the skin and the bottom of the turkey breast/rib area. Stuff the rib cavity of the turkey breast with the sliced lemon and orange.
4) Peel the carrots and cut them into large pieces. Cut celery stalks and yellow onion into large pieces as well. Place the veggies on the bottom of the slow cooker along with half the chopped sage, turkey stock, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
5) Place seasoned turkey over the veggies in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the rest of the sage on top of the turkey breast. Cook on low for 6 hours. Ensure the internal temperature is 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) so the turkey is cooked through.
6) Turn slow cooker to warm setting until ready to serve turkey. Remove skin from turkey breast and discard it. Cut the meat off of the bone and into slices. Place meat back in the stock/juices in the slow cooker to keep it moist and juicy until ready to serve.
Spiced Berry Relish Ingredients:
- 12 oz. Bag of fresh cranberries
- 6 oz. Carton of fresh blueberries
- 1 ¼ c. White sugar
- 2 tbsp. Fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- ¼ tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. Ground cloves
1) Add the fresh cranberries, sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice, and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice to a large sauce pan.
2) Cook over medium heat while continually stirring to create the sauce. After a few minutes (or when the cranberries begin to burst), add in the blueberries, cinnamon, and ground cloves.
3) Cook for a couple more minutes until desired consistency (cook a little longer for a smoother relish).
4) Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Let us know what Thanksgiving side dishes you are going to serve with your turkey and berry relish this year in the comments below!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan