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Monday, November 29, 2010

This Thanksgiving Brought to You By...

I'm not ashamed to admit that our Thanksgiving dinner was brought to us mostly by the magazine Fine Cooking. Their issues are jam-packed with amazing recipes, including the roasted broccoli and farro salad I wrote about recently on the blog. I even received a subscription to the magazine for my birthday, which means there is more deliciousness on the way!

We deconstructed our turkey this year, opting not to cook a full bird but rather the breast and thighs at separate times and in separate ways. Molly and I had been excited about this recipe, and it turned out well. Fine Cooking featured a turkey breast, porchetta style. It was a clever adaptation of porchetta, an Italian preparation of pork wrapped in strips of pork belly or pancetta. If I were to make this again, I would only use one boneless breast half. Believe me, two boneless breast halves is a ton of meat.

Turkey Breast in Pancetta

And if you take a look at this recipe, try the spice rub - I'd put it on almost anything!

Thanksgiving Spice Rub

Roasted Turkey Breast, Porchetta Style

1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
3 medium cloves garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 whole skin-on turkey breast (5 to 7 lb.), boned or 2 boneless skin-on turkey breast halves (2 to 3 lb. each)
Eight 1/8-inch-thick pancetta slices, unrolled into strips, or 8 strips thick-cut bacon

1. In a large mortar, pound the coriander and fennel seeds with a pestle to form a coarse powder. Add the rosemary and sage and pound to crush and bruise the herbs. Add the garlic and 1 Tbs. salt and pound until a paste begins to form. Stir in 2 tsp. pepper and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and set aside.

2. Pat the turkey breast dry with a paper towel and lay it skin side down on a work surface. Rub half the spice paste over the meat. Turn the turkey over and carefully separate the skin from the meat without tearing the skin. Rub the remaining spice paste under the skin.

3. Reform the breast and tie with 4 to 6 loops of butcher’s twine to make a roll. (If you’re using boneless halves, season the two halves, lay them on top of each other skin side out, and tie them together.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

5. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey breast and cook until golden-brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total.

6. Transfer the breast seam side down to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Crisscross the pancetta over the top of the breast. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1-1/2 hours. Let the turkey breast rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

7. Remove the pancetta and chop or crumble it. Remove the strings from the turkey, slice into 1/4-inch slices, and serve, sprinkled with the pancetta.

From Fine Cooking magazine, issue 107, pg. 58
Eric Lovelin Photography


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