Butterflying Kitchen Adventures

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve felt that I’ve needed to comply with censorship about specific thoughts and opinions that have been on my mind in regards to anything I have felt like saying. Regardless, I miss sharing my writing with the world, so tonight you are all in for a little cooking blog post treat. As most of you know, since I’ve gotten married I have enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen. Cooking is great because it allows you to be adventurous within your own limitations and it’s a lot of fun to figure out what works and what doesn’t. A few months ago I bought a 3lb turkey breast and put it in our deep freezer. It was on sale, so I figured hey – why not? – I’m sure I’ll use it soon. The other day I came across a recipe for stuffed chicken breasts (for those of you who don’t know, I’m allergic to chicken) and I was inspired to create my own stuffed turkey recipe.

I’ve been nervous about this one for the past few days: looking up videos on the internet, dreaming of turkeys and meat smashing. Last night a conversation with my mom went as followed.

Me: What? You’ve never butterflied a turkey?

Mom: Nope, it’s supposed to be hard.

Me: Well, if Martha can do it so can I!

Mom: Martha?

Me: Martha Stewart.

Mom: Well, I’m sure she has people who help her…

Taking some notes from Martha Stewart and a very interesting woman who calls herself “The Kitchen Witch” (wouldn’t be my first choice for a chef name), I’m hoping that I have figured out how to do this successfully. (Side note: I wrote this before I tried it: IT WAS HARD! Oh, young optimism in the kitchen!).

Vanessa’s Pesto/Feta/Bacon Stuffed Turkey Breast

Step 1: Take the turkey breast and remove the packaging/ ties etc. I am using a boneless breast (praise the Lord), because the idea of having to debone a breast looks intimidating.

Step 2: Make the cut. With a very sharp knife cut the breast open sideways, making sure to leave about ¾ an inch of uncut meat. The turkey should now open like a book in front of you. (This was the part the scared Joel, who was nervous I was going to cut my hand off while he wasn’t home. But I succeeded with no war wounds!).

Step 3: Now this next part is that part that scared me: the flattening of the meat. I went out and bought some wax paper and a meat masher (my professional chef name for it). So basically you beat the crap out of the meat until its flat…I know, I’m so eloquent with words. I’m not sure what my specific measurement goal is…maybe like ½ – 1 inch thick.

Step 4: Spread the filing. I’m stuffing the babies with Mom’s homemade pesto (secret recipe, sorry!), bacon and feta. Spread it evenly, but make sure that you leave ¼ an inch or so of room away from all the edges so that the filling doesn’t leak out.

Step 5: Roll it up! Be carefully not to do it too tightly or all the filling will come out. (This step went a little bit wrong for me. When I opened up my turkey breast originally it was broken in some places, so I flattened it the best I could and then sort of puzzle pieced/rolled the broken pieces together and tied them. Mine had some gaps and I think this might have worked a lot better if the turkey breast was fresh as opposed to frozen?)

Step 6: To hold it, tie it with kitchen twine. I seasoned it with a little dash of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Step 7: I looked up how long to bake this bad boy, because I’ve never cooked a turkey before. I read that at 325 degrees for a 2-3lb turkey it should take 1.5-2 hours. You will want the internal temperature of the meat to read 165 and that’s how you will know it’s done! (Sidenote: mine was ready after an hour and 20 minutes – this may vary with ovens). I checked it every 20- 30 minutes and basted it.

Apparently I need to make this every other day now because it was that good, so be careful & enjoy!

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