I've never understood why some of the healthiest things on our holiday menus don't manage to make it into heavy rotation throughout the year-pumpkin, for instance, is a fabulous vegetable that no one ever thinks of except during Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Turkey with cranberry sauce is another perfect example. Turkey is a great source of high-quality, low-calorie protein. And studies presented at the 223rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society show that cranberries have some of the most potent antioxidants of any common fruit. Plant compounds in cranberries possess anticancer properties, inhibit the growth of common food-borne pathogens, and contain antibacterial properties to aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections.
What Chef Jeannette has put together here is a relatively low-sugar version of a Thanksgiving meal in a pot! It's a simple alternative to the normally complex and time-consuming holiday entrée. We use fresh and dried fruit plus nut purée to give the cranberry base sweetness and body. It's the perfect complement to lean, moist turkey breast. And why limit this great dish to the holidays? It's easy enough to make that you whip it up anytime. Enjoy!
Slow-Cooked Turkey Breast with Winter Fruit Sauce
2 sweet baking apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 naval orange, peeled and quartered
½ cup dried, juice-sweetened cranberries
½ cup chopped unsulphured dried apricots or apples
½ cup raw pecans
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 cup fresh apple cider
1/3 cup Sucanat or palm sugar
1 Tbs. Minute Tapioca
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
3-4-lb. turkey breast, bone in or out, skin off or on (see "Notes from Chef Jeanette")
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Combine apples, orange, dried fruit, and pecans in food processor, and process until mixture forms a mostly smooth paste, scraping down sides as necessary.
- Combine fresh cranberries, cider, Sucanat, tapioca, cinnamon, allspice, and fruit paste in slow cooker. Stir gently to thoroughly combine.
- Pat turkey very dry with paper towel, place in slow cooker, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook on low 6-7 hours (or high for 3½-5 hours), or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast reads 170°F. (Take care not to touch bone with thermometer.)
- Remove turkey from slow cooker, and stir fruit sauce well to combine. Drizzle sauce over turkey, and serve.
PER SERVING (SKIN REMOVED): 508 cal; 58g pro; 8g total fat (1g sat fat); 52g carb; 141mg chol; 131mg sod; 6g fiber; 38g sugars
Notes From Chef Jeannette
Meat doesn't brown in the slow cooker, and slow-cooked skins are aesthetically unappealing. If your turkey breast has skin, consider cutting it off with kitchen shears before patting dry and seasoning. If you'd like to retain the skin, sear your turkey quickly on all sides in melted butter in a hot Dutch oven on the stovetop before putting it in the slow cooker and adding seasoning. Searing any meat-especially with the skin on-before slow cooking will yield a final product with a more pleasant taste, color, and texture. Just be careful not to overcook it on the stovetop so your meat doesn't dry out in the slow cooker.