Inga's Indulgence

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Project Turkey: Day 3

My Pre-thankgiving turkey experimentation inevitably brought me to the breast of the bird. Though I do love oven-roasted turkey breast, I wouldn't say it's my favorite part of the bird to cook with. When cooked attached to the whole bird, like in the classic whole roasted turkey preparation, the breast has a better chance of being succulent and tender. But when cooked in isolation, it has a tendency to dry out. Having the inside scoop on this, I decided to strategically fabricate or cut the breast in such a way that would create the illusion of tenderness, and rely on a direct heat cooking method that would impart a lot of flavor while sealing in the juices.

In layman's terms I pounded the turkey breast into thin cutlets and grilled it. By now, you've probably caught on to all this small talk being a way to detract from the fact that I'm grilling in November right? No biggy, the weather's still nice, and if it's not, most of us own a grill pan. If you're shaking your head no to that last statement, you better go out and buy one this instant.

What can I say, I miss the summer sizzle and I miss the feeling I get when I eat grilled food - that skinny feeling. It's no wonder so many of us get that feeling, because grilling is a pretty healthy cooking method. And it just so happens that turkey breast is very lean. So dare we call the following dish the star of a figure-friendly Thanksgiving? Let's not, just because it will ruin the sanctity of what this holiday is all about. Eating, right? (I'm kidding) But seriously, you can think it, but it's probably best not to tell your guests. They'll look at you funny.

Grilled Turkey Breast with Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
(yield: 4 servings)

2 lbs turkey breast, sliced or pounded into 1/2-inch thick cutlets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp canola oil
1 oz red onion, finely chopped
1 pint  fresh cranberries
juice and zest of 1 medium orange
1 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cilanto, chopped

Make the cranberry sauce: heat the canola oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, and sweat 2-3 minutes. Add cranberries, orange juice and zest, chipotle sauce, and maple syrup. Simmer 5-6 minutes until sauce thickens and some of the cranberries just begin to burst. Stir in 1/2 of the cilantro, reserving the rest for garnish.

Marinade the turkey: combine olive oil, oregano, and pepper in a large bowl. Place turkey into the bowl and mix to coat with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

Preheat grill or grill pan and spray with a little bit of non-stick cooking spray. Once grill is nice and hot, retrieve the turkey from the marinade, season with salt on both sides, and grill, about 4 minutes per side. Turn the breasts 90 degrees at the halfway point on each side to achieve cross-hatch marks. Spoon cranberry sauce over grilled turkey, sprinkle with some more cilantro, and eat immediately.

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