If you love cooking, there is nothing better than spending a lazy holiday afternoon making a nice sauce or better yet a classic turkey dish.
If you don’t have enough space in the oven or you would prefer a simple and non-complicated way of cooking a turkey, using the slow cooker method is the best way to go.
The slow cooker can be heaven-sent if you use it in the proper way; as it can allow you to perform other tasks while it does the cooking for you.
Using a slow cooker to make turkey offers a fuss-free way to have a delicious and amazing meal.
When you pair your turkey with other side dishes like roasted sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts, you will have a healthy, tasty and nutritious meal.
How long does it take to slow-cook a turkey breast?
Cooking durations for turkey breasts vary depending on the weight and the size of the turkey breast.
A standardly sized turkey will generally need slightly more or less than six hours while cooking on low heat.
A 2kg turkey breast, for instance, would take 5 to 6 hours on low heat in a slow cooker. It is advisable to check the bird’s internal temperature during the fifth hour of cooking.
You can do this by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the flesh, which should read 75 degrees Celsius/ 165 F.
However, different slow cookers vary so much; while one may start heating immediately, another one may take a considerable amount of time before heating up.
This may also affect the duration of time needed to slow cook the turkey breast. A good alternative would be experimenting with the temperature of your slow cooker while identifying the needed times for slow cooking turkey meat.
How to cook a turkey breast in a crockpot.
Using a crockpot to cook tenderizes the tough cuts of meat by using a ‘low and slow’ approach of cooking. The process generally entails cooking food on low heat over a long period of time.
Cooking a turkey breast in a crockpot is one of the best ways of getting juicy, tender turkey all the time and it also frees up oven space for more baking.
This is because the slow cooker is designed to seal in the moisture from the chicken. It offers a perfect cooking environment for Turkey.
Before cooking, you should ensure the turkey breast is well prepared for the slow cooker.
You can begin by removing the chicken breast from any wrappings while patting it with drier paper towels.
Also consider cutting away any excess skin, especially around the neck areas.
If you are considering using any additional spices, you can use your hands to rub in the spices between the meat and the skin.
Note to loosen the skin from breast meat while continuously applying food seasoning even under the turkey skin.
You can then proceed to put the various vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery at the bottom of the slow cooker while adding some water to the crockpot for moisture as the turkey continues to cook.
Put the turkey on top of the vegetables while closing the lid of the slow cooker and let it cook.
When the turkey is well-cooked, the skin of the turkey or will not be browned and crisp as no direct heat gets applied to the surface.
For browning the skin of the turkey, you should preheat the oven broiler. Broil it for about four to five minutes until the skin of the turkey becomes browned.
Take charge to ensure the turkey skin does not burn in the process. Meanwhile using the remainder of the drippings and liquid, use them to make some gravy.
For instance, you can use the remaining broth to create chicken stock or use it to make other accompaniment meals such as braised ham.
How to ensure you cook moist turkey breast with vegetables in a crockpot.
Using the slow cooker method in a crockpot is one of the best ways of ensuring your turkey breast remains moist and juicy.
Without a doubt, this is one of the simplest healthiest and tastiest ways of cooking your turkey breast without brining it first.
A turkey breast is one of the leanest parts of the turkey, so one of the best ways of ensuring it comes out moist and juicy without brining it would be to use the slow-cooker method.
Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Vegetable Ingredients.
For this recipe, you would need a 2kg turkey breast (whether bone-in or boneless), head of some garlic, a large onion which is unpeeled and cut into half, some chopped celery sticks, as well as some dried thyme leaves.
The ingredients for rubbing onto the chicken include a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of onion powder, some paprika, salt, olive oil and 6 grinds of black pepper.
For the gravy, some chicken broth, butter, flour, as well as salt and pepper would be needed.
To make this delicious dish, these are the steps you should follow:
- Put all the ingredients for rubbing into a glass bowl, while mixing them to combine the ingredients which should become a wet paste.
- Meanwhile, using paper towels pat the turkey all dry and then splatter with the mixed rubbing ingredients, both on the top and the lower side of the turkey.
- In the slow cooker, place the cut vegetables (garlic, celery, onion, thyme, and carrots) facing down.
- Have the turkey breast on top of the vegetables so that it remains slightly elevated.
- Place the lid of the slow cooker, and slow cook the food on low heat for an average of 5 to 6 hours.
- It is not recommended not to use high heat, as this will ensure uneven cooking or would cause the turkey to burn. An efficient way of checking the bird’s internal temperature is measuring by inserting a thermometer into the middle of the turkey.
- When cooked, remove the cooked bird from the slow cooker while letting it rest for a few minutes before doing any other thing.
To crisp the skin of the turkey, you would have to take the following steps:
- Pre-heat the oven using the broiler function to high heat, while placing the oven shelf a close to the heat source as much as possible.
- Meanwhile, place the slow-cooked turkey breast onto a heatproof dish, and put it into the oven.
- Broil for a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of five minutes until the skin becomes crispy enough and browns well.
- Serve this immediately with the gravy. Add some striped lemon and celery sticks on the side, and some parsley on top.
For gravy, which is a key accompaniment of this dish, you would need to do the following:
- Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a jug, while squishing the garlic to extract all flavors from it.
- You can consider topping it up with some chicken broth if the liquid is too little.
- Meanwhile, melt butter into a pan while adding flour into the mixture and combine all the ingredients.
- Add some liquid onto the flour mixture, stirring it until it forms a smooth paste.
- Season this with some salt, pepper and any other spice of your preference, and then serve with the turkey.
If you find the cooking sauce of your broth to be too thin, and you would like thicker gravy sauce consistency, you can consider placing the slow cooker on a high setting and remove the lid for at least 30 minutes as it boils.
This will allow the excess moisture to boil off, creating some thick gravy.
How to Cook a Turkey Breast with Vegetables in a Crock-Pot.
Making turkey with some flavorful and nutritious vegetables such as carrots, celeries, onions, and herbs such as parsley, would not only make your Turkey nutritious, it would also make it tasty and colorful.
Cooking turkey breast with vegetables simply entails slow cooking your turkey with selected vegetables over low heat for more than 5 hours.
In this instance, the vegetables would be placed at the bottom of the crockpot.
However, for more delicate and quicker cooking vegetables such as peas, or string beans, they should be placed at the top of the crockpot during the last 30 minutes of cooking so that they are not overcooked.
If you also want to add some extra dairy or herbs to your chicken, add these at the end of the cooking process. Otherwise, they will wilt too much and lose their flavor and nutritional value.
As you purchase your turkey breast especially from the supermarket, check whether it has been already brined.
In many places, turkey which comes in boxes is already brined but you should check the labels. If it has been brined, you can just reduce the salt used for rubbing by half.
Also, ensure you make the turkey as close as possible to the serving time because turkey meat is already lean.
Alternatively, if you intend to brine but use later, you can brine the turkey but do not brown its skin.
When you follow these guidelines, you will have a crispy, brown, well-cooked, juicy and tasty turkey.