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I wrapped a turkey with meat this Christmas

December 29th, 2009

Initially, Christmas dinner chez Swenson-Tiano was going to be all about beef. We’d already done the free range organic 18lb Turkey feasts for both Canadian and American Thanksgiving. And, I wanted to cook a prime rib, or Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon. Something roasty and delicious.

And then, Sandra came home with a great deal on a frozen turkey from Sobey’s, and put on her sad face when I explained my plans.

Since this one was smaller, say, 12 pounds or so, I thought it would be fun to try something a little riskier than my usual high heat roasting technique.

Browsing the recipes at FoodAndWine.com is one of my current favorite ways to spend a few minutes. When I stumbled across the Panchetta-Wrapped Roasted Turkey recipe, I knew I had to give it a go.

Now that's a spicy brine!

It starts out with a brine made of salt, jalapeno slices, and a whopping 1/2 cup of red pepper flakes. If you know me, you know that I like the spice. The hotter the better, actually. Well, after giving the brine solution a few stirs, I had enough hot in my lungs to make me have to leave the kitchen in a coughing fit. Cooper and Jackson quickly hid upstairs, and even Sandra chose to stay safely in the living room.

Undaunted, I slid the turkey into the brine and covered it with saran wrap to let it steep overnight in the fridge. I wasn’t sure that it would be edible, but it’d sure be interesting!

Pancetta Roasted Turkey - before

The next day, I mixed up a spice rub of chili powder – I used chipotle for the smoky heat – cumin, and fresh spices. After rubbing it over the turkey, I layered slices of regular pancetta to cover as much of the bird as possible.

Pretty stunning, eh?

Again, I was a little skeptical, though. The recipe advised cooking breast up at 325 for 4 hours; longer and slower than my usual methods.

Pancetta Roasted Turkey - after

And yet, four hours later, we enjoyed the most deliciously and subtly seasoned turkey I’ve ever cooked.

What makes this recipe not only beautiful but brilliant is the element of surprise. With that much spice in the rub and the brined, we’d expected the turkey to be quite spicy as well. So, that first bite that was just delicately flavourful was a happy shock. The pieces of meat just under the skin had a tiny bit of kick, but the rest was just tender and juicy. (How could it not be with a layer of fat locking in all the flavour?!?)

In any case, I highly recommend this recipe. Next time? I want to try the same technique with a maple brown sugar chili rub and layers of smoked thick-cut bacon.

Karen Shawl Pattern: Now Available!

December 9th, 2009

Like many knitters, my stash overflows with handpainted sock yarn, usually in 100g skeins. If I knit only socks, I would have yarn to last for several years. Instead, I wanted to design a simply addictive shoulder shawl pattern. One that would be easy enough for knitting on my commute to work, but interesting enough […]

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Better.

December 8th, 2009

I had another blog post up for awhile. I’d written it last night after a kind of dreadful day with Dad at the hospital. He’s getting better, but he’s also really weak and tired and I don’t see the spark he’s always had before. He’s doing better this morning. They have him sitting up in […]

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