In my last post, I promised some festive recipes for Rosh HaShanah that sit easy on the stomach. Turkey breast, stuffed with dried fruit and nuts, and sometimes rice or couscous, fits the ticket. This is how you do it.
Buy, for 6 servings, one-half boneless turkey breast. Either ask the butcher to cut a pouch into it, or do it yourself at home. It’s surprisingly easy. The half-breast resembles a longish triangle. Insert a long, sharp knife into the widest part and carefully, not to poke holes in the flesh along the way, just slide the knife along till you have a pouch. Move it from side to side gently to enlarge the opening. The meat is very tender and will readily tear, so go slowly. That’s all there is to it; the turkey breast is ready to be stuffed.
Something to remember about cooking a turkey breast: unless you get it with the skin on, it will dry out in a blink, so protect it by using in a roasting bag, or make a bag of foil for it.
And before it goes in the oven, splash some good olive oil all over it to keep it moist, then season it with paprika, salt and pepper, and your favorite herbs. A little white wine or cognac, or soy sauce, or chicken soup, or a tablespoon of each in any combination, adds flavor and keeps the moisture factor up.
Turkey Breast Stuffed With Fruit and Nuts
1 half turkey breast
1/2 cup mixed, chopped dried apricots, cranberries, raisins
1/2 cup mixed chopped nuts: walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional: 1/2 cup cooked rice
2 tablespoons white or light red wine, or 2 tablespoons cognac, or chicken soup, or a mixture of 2 teaspoons soy sauce with any of them
an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
A sprig of rosemary or two small bay leaves
A handful of scallions
1 peeled and slightly mashed garlic clove
1. Mix the fruit, nuts, optional rice, onion, salt, pepper, and wine. Stuff the mixture into the turkey breast.
2. Sprinkle paprika and additional 1/2 teaspoon salt all over the breast. Pour the olive oil over the breast and spread it on all sides. If any stuffing falls out, just scoop it up and place it under the breast when baking it.
3. Place the stuffed, seasoned breast in the roasting bag or in a tent of foil. Add the wine and the fresh herbs.
Close and puncture the roasting bag as per instructions. Or make the foil tent. Place the breast on a long strip of foil; pick up the edges of the foil at right and left and bring them together, pinching them at the top to make a tent-like package. Pinch one side closed but leave the other side open for ventilation so that you get roasted, not poached meat.
Bake at 350°F, 180°C for 1 hour. Check after one hour for doneness. If the meat still seems too pink, bake it another 15 minutes. Once you’re sure it’s done, remove from the oven at once. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Now: let’s say you were too nervous with the knife and wound up making huge holes all over the meat. Never mind. Slice it all the way open and just stuff the stuffing inside like this:
Fold one half over the other and press it down.
If it’s really flopping open, tie it up with kitchen string. The cooking juices will seal the pieces together again and the cooked dish will look like the photo at the top.
Here are slices of a turkey breast I stuffed with the optional rice:
This is excellent cold, too.