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A big, juicy turkey is the perfect lynchpin to a flavourful dinner with the family as the holidays near.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

I dry brine even when the breast is free range. To save time buy a kosher turkey breast (available at some supermarkets) and skip the dry brining. If you can't find one large turkey breast buy two small ones to make up the 4 lbs; they'll cook in half the time. Serve with gravy.

Ready time: 8 hours 30 minutes, including brining time


1 2-kg (4-lb) boneless turkey breast with skin

1 tbsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal is my choice)

¼ cup softened butter

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp mild or hot smoked paprika


Wash turkey breast and pat dry. Sprinkle salt all over breast and under the skin if possible. Let it sit for 6 hours or overnight, covered and refrigerated. Rinse salt off well, then rinse again and pat dry. Let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine butter, garlic, sugar and paprika. Brush over breast and spread some under the skin. Place breast in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F. Roast a further 45 minutes to 1 hour or until juices are clear, basting occasionally. Timing will vary depending on the thickness of the breast. The meat should be at 160 F on a meat thermometer. It will rise another 5 degrees as it sits.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serves six.

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