Last week we had this as our entre with mashed potatoes and asparagus when we hosted the Reveillon dinner.. We brought New Orleans here and by all accounts, was enjoyed by one and all.
Don feels the brine makes all the difference in the world as it is not dry at all. It is moist, tasty and yummy!
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sweet white wine
2 skin on, boneless turkey breasts (about 4 lbs. each) You may find you can only purchase it with bone in. No big deal, simply cut it out, making sure to keep the breast in one piece.
- 2 tbsp. coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (but of course)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup roasted chestnuts in a jar (from Italian specialty shops……a bit pricey but worth it)
- 1 tbsp. Cognac or brandy
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1 whole clove
- 3/4 tsp. coriander seeds
- 3/4 lb. ground pork and 1/4 lb. finely chopped bacon
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 tsp. ground mace
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Preparation for the brine
Bring the salt, sugar and 2 quarts water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool then add the wine. Place the turkey in large, sealable plastic bags (may have to set bag in a bowl for support). Seal the bags and chill overnight.
Remove turkey from the brine and pat dry. (do not rinse)
Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
For boudin blanc
Soak breadcrumbs in cream in a small bowl for about 18-20 minutes. Bring the broth, chestnuts, brandy, bay leaves with a pinch of salt to simmer in a saucepan. Cook until the chestnuts are very soft but not falling apart and the liquid is reduced by half. (about 13-15 minutes). Remove bay leaves and chill while continuing on.
Next, toast the mustard seeds coriander and clove in a small fry pan over medium heat until fragrant and mustard seeds begin to pop. This should take about 4 minutes. Let cool and finely grind the toasted spices in a spice mill or mortar and pestle.
Mix the pork, thyme, nutmeg, spice mixture, breadcrumb mixture and 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Coarsely chop chestnuts and add to the mixture, along with the cooled cooking liquid. Stir pork mixture to combine.
If you have a meat grinder attachment to your mixer, put this through twice. It should be as smooth as velvet for the best texture. Form into a large ball shape and wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Working one breast at a time, place turkey on a cutting board, skin side up. Holding knife parallel to work surface, cut through the breast, stopping about 1/2 inch from going completely through. Open breast like a book and mound in the meat mixture down the center, leaving 1 inch border. Fold the bottom over the one half of the breast , then fold top half over so it slightly overlaps. Tie at 1 inch intervals with string or kitchen twine.
Place turkeys on racks set inside (we used two cookie racks) large roasting pan. Add 1 cup water and roast until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer reads 145 when inserted into the dressing. The breast itself should read 160 degrees. This will take about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let breast for about 10 minutes before slicing. Cook remaining chestnuts with 1/4 cup butter and a couple of thyme sprigs until soft (about 6 minutes. Serve along side the sliced turkey.
NOTE: This reads as long and involved. Read it through first, then start. It is sooooo delicious you will wonder why you hesitated. Remember our mantra….damn, I CAN do this.
If serving potatoes, save the water for making gravy. Simply add to the roasting pan and make gravy like you normally would, making sure to scrap the tasty bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Do this while the turkey is resting.