Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stuffed Turkey Breast

One thing everyone should know about me is I love to shop at Costco for crazy things like toilet paper, paper towels, and poultry. Yes poultry!!! I find that Costco has great chicken and turkey, and at such good prices it is sometimes hard for me not to purchase it when I am shopping.

A few weeks ago I was having coffee with some friends, and we were talking about all the ways we make turkey, from stuffed, to glazes, to fixings with it. Then the turkey breast came up in conversation. I had never thought to make just a breast before. The brain started working. The idea I had was what if I butterflied the turkey breast and stuffed it with stuffing and wrapped it in bacon, and bake it. You know anything in bacon tastes good.

That is exactly what I did. My husband helped me with the butterflying of the meat. When my husband was in high school he was a part time butcher at a small grocery store, where he learned how to cut meat like a pro. After the turkey was cut I pounded it a bit to tenderize it and make it flat. Next the stuffing was added (I used mt own recipe for homemade stuffing with pecans & dried cranberries). This is when it gets tough ... the stuffing must be placed in a log like shape at one end of the breast. Then roll the stuffing inside the turkey.

This was really starting to look good but it needed something to make it really juicy. That would be bacon. I used a half a pound of maple cured bacon to wrap the complete exterior of the rolled breast. We also used skews to hold the roll in place while cooking. A 1 - 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock was added to bottom of the pan for some liquid on the bottom of the pan, and a medium onion diced and added to the bbroth for flavor.

This is what it looked like when it came out of the oven. We let it rest for a few before cutting it so the juices would stay in the meat.

When the turkey was cut it was a perfect pinwheel. The maple flavor of the bacon and the tart dried cranberries in the stuffing give each bit of this pleasing to the palette.

This was the first time I made this dish and was a bit nervous, because I was having a few friends over for dinner that night and was hoping it would be good. As it turns out it was great and one of our guests said "this is something I would have expected to get at a restaurant." that made me feel so good.

Note to Self: Get another turkey breast on my next trip to Costco.

One last thing to mention is that when the turkey came out of the pan and they was "juice" left behind I strained and de-fatted the liquid put it in a small sauce pan, added 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of flour and whisked to make gravy. The gravy helped to tie the entire dish together.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Aprile's European Resturant

I know I have not blogged in a while about my cooking, baking or eating out. Lots has been going on in my life that took precedence over blogging. I also became very disillusioned by some about my blogging that a needed break was good for the soul to get myself back on track. Now that I am back my blog will be including more "Eating Out" places. Eating out is such a huge part of our life that it should show more here in my blog. I will still be posting recipes of yummy things that I make but also talking about all those good chefs out there that sometimes don't get the recognition they deserve. Hope you enjoy ... The other day my husband was asking me where I wanted to have dinner that night. To be totally honest I love to cook but the days I work I really have no desire to rush home, make dinner, and clean up. When I could have someone else do all the work and totally enjoy myself.
It was a Friday night, Date Night to be exact and a new restaurant opened a few months ago in my town. And since I am very into eating local, even if that means keeping the business in town I am all for it. The place is called Aprile's European Restaurant and it is located in an old mill building right on the train tracks, with a river running right next to it. Very lovely setting.

This location has been a restaurant for a long time but all the other ones seemed to have failed after a couple of years. Many times I tried to eat there when it was something else again and again but it just was not good. From the moment we walked into the new Restaurant there was a good feeling. Many folks dining in the open dining room, the wait staff bustling around delivering food and drinks to all those eating. We knew this time this was going to be a good place to eat. We found two seats at the bar and settled in for our experience.

The Restaurant is very Italian so it was going to be a red wine night, we chose the Cigar Box Malbec and it was very good choice. We then moved on to the stuffed mushrooms (they were stuffed with spinach and cheese). There was not one left when we were ready for our main course.

I got the Chianti Braised Short Ribs with Cipollini Onions, Asparagus Tips, Red Bliss Mashed, Braising Jus. I have this theory that anything braised (ie cooked low and slow) has to be yummy since much care has to be put into it since it takes so long too cook. The meat was so tender and the veggies were like candy. Even the lady who sat next to me got the same thing after seeing mine. We both could not figure out why we had a knife on our plate since it was not necessary to cut the meat with, so I dubbed it "plate decoration."

My husband got the Parmigiana Eggplant Breaded and Baked with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese Accompanied with Linguine. Which is what he gets when we eat out since i do not like Eggplant but he does.

We also decided to share dessert. This is very much out of the norm for us, my husband does not like chocolate or sweets for that matter. The funny thing is I can get him to eat Tiramisu. That is exactly what we got. It was such a good ending to a very good meal, we left none behind.

Dinner was so yummy from start to finish I had to talk about it more than a Yelp post or a Tweet. If anyone is in the Merrimack Valley/Chelmsford MA area and is looking for Italian food try Aprile's European hopefully you will love it as much as we did.