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Poached Turkey Breast

Andrew Chase
Poaching keeps the turkey moist without any added fat and provides a stock for the flavourful sauce, which is much lighter than traditional gravy but has a rich, roasted flavour from the toasted flour. You can prepare the dish in advance, reheating the turkey slices in the sauce just before serving. Bone the turkey breast yourself – it's quite simple – or have your butcher do it (remember to request the bones for the stock).


  • 1 bone-in skin-on turkey breast (3 to 4 lb/1.5 to 2 kg)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 1 white turnip, chopped (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  dried thyme
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  salt
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3/4 cup  (175 mL)  dry white wine, or 2 tsp/10 mL white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup  (60 mL)  all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL)  butter, softened


Run sharp, pointed knife between turkey rib and breast bones and meat to separate breast from bones.

With kitchen shears or cleaver, cut bones into several pieces; place in stockpot. Add 6 cups/1.5 L water and bring to boil. Skim off any foam. Add carrot, celery, onion, leek, turnip (if using), bay leaf, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, salt, cloves and wine. Return to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll breast, skin side out; tie roll with kitchen string. Add to stockpot, skin side up; poach, covered and turning after 20 minutes, at bare simmer until no longer pink in centre of thickest part, about 35 to 50 minutes depending on thickness. Remove breast from stock. (Make-ahead: Let cool; refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Increase heat to high. Boil stock until reduced to about 3 cups/750 mL; strain, discarding solids and skimming off fat.

Meanwhile, in skillet over medium heat, toast flour, shaking pan occasionally, until nutty brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool; with fork, blend in butter.

In skillet, bring 2-1/2 cups/625 mL of the reserved stock to boil. Reduce heat to medium low; whisk in flour mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and velvety smooth, about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Remove and discard skin from breast and thinly slice breast. In another skillet, bring remaining stock to boil; add slices and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

With slotted spoon, transfer to warmed platter and spoon some sauce over top. Serve remaining sauce on side.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

If dealing with a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity or special dietary needs for a medical condition, always check the label of processed foods (including spices and condiments) to ensure that they’re free of potentially harmful ingredients. If you have any doubt about a product’s ingredients, contact the manufacturer.