Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turkey Breast with Pancetta & Chestnut Stuffing

I did not grow up eating turkey for Thanksgiving or any holiday. My few experiences with turkey were un-memorable. A few years ago, I also made a turkey breast but there was so much leftovers. That's all I remember eating. Since we were only three people this time, my mom thought about just making chicken. But we found a good size turkey breast. I actually enjoyed it this time!

After researching the internet for stuffing recipes, my mom and I narrowed it down to a pancetta & chestnut stuffing. Knowing nothing about chestnut, I didn't realize that 1) it is not chestnut season and 2) jars of roasted chestnuts are hard to find. Luckily, I had my mom with me who knew that we would likely be able to find chestnuts at a Chinese store. She was right! We found some in both dried form and vacuum-packed!

One turkey breast was the perfect portion for four people (with not too much leftovers). Even though pancetta is very salty, the stuffing did not taste too salty. I liked the addition of chestnuts. I think I would re-use this recipe!

Turkey Breast with Pancetta & Chesnut Stuffing (Serves 4)
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta.

* 100 g pancetta, chopped roughly
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* ½ onion, diced
* 1 carrot, diced
* 1 celery stalk, diced
* fresh rosemary, chopped
* 100 g chestnuts, chopped roughly
* 100 g day old bread cubes (or toasted dry)
* broth or water

For the stuffing
Cook pancetta slightly - it shouldn't be too crispy because the remaining fat will help keep the turkey breast moist.
Put aside.
In the remaining fat, stir fry onion, garlic, carrot and celery until slightly cooked.
Add the rosemary - no need for salt because of the pancetta.
Mix the pancetta, vegetable mixture and bread together.
If the stuffing is too dry, add some broth or water.
(We didn't add an egg but it would probably have helped the stuffing bind better.)

Chestnucks from a pack.

Ingredients for stuffing.

For the turkey breast
* 1 turkey breast
* twine
* salt and pepper
* garlic powder
* fresh thyme chopped
* stuffing
* maple syrup

Mix the salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh thyme.
Cut the turkey halfway lengthwise but not through.
Season the inside with the thyme mixture.
Spoon the filling onto the turkey breast.
Close the turkey breast and tie with twine.
Season the exterior of the turkey breast also.
Bake in the oven at 375F for about 1 hour, 15 minutes (or until the juice runs clear).
Halfway through baking, coat the turkey skin with maple syrup to help it caramelized.

Season the turkey breast.

Tying the turkey breast to hold the stuffing in.

Ready for the oven.

The finished product, nice and golden!

Cross-section of the turkey breast. The chestnuts were a good addition.

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