Chef Craig Flinn's Pick for Thanksgiving Dinner
Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast with Fava Bean Succotash
Serves 4 to 6
This is a great way to enjoy turkey without roasting an enormous bird and worrying about what to do with the leftovers for a week. Boneless turkey breasts are always available fresh and are very cheap compared to boneless chicken. But the lean meat can easily be overcooked-enter the bacon. Barding meat, or laying fat over the flesh during baking, prevents loss of moisture, adds flavour, and inhibits shrinkage. I also use a brine here which adds additional moisture and seasoning to the meat. I would serve this dish with any simple side dish, like mashed potatoes, but the sweet and colourful succotash really makes it exciting.
1 large boneless turkey breast (about 2 lb/1 kg)
1/4 cup (60 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar
4 cups (1 L) cold water
7 or 8 slices lean smoked bacon
3 cobs of corn
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced green pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red onion
3/4 cup (180 mL) blanched fresh or tinned fava beans*
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (3 mL) freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (180 mL) halved cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh sage
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh parsley
*Using fresh fava beans for this is much better than tinned. They can be purchased in the pod at market, shelled, and blanched in boiling water. After blanching, the white skin over the bean will peel away easily.
For the turkey breast:
Remove the skin from the turkey breast and trim any fat along the edges.
In a plastic container or bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, and water, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve. Place the turkey breast in the brine and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from the brine and pat dry with clean paper towels; discard the brine.
On a large flat surface, lay the strips of bacon down with the edges just overlapping, forming a rough square of bacon. Lay the breast in the centre and pull each strip of bacon up and over the breast, overlapping the ends each time. Flip the breast over and place on a roasting rack above a baking tray. The seams of the bacon should be against the rack so they do not uncoil as the breast cooks.
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Roast the breast on the middle rack for 45 minutes, then carefully roll the breast over to expose the underside (where the bacon seams are). Roast for 30 minutes, until the bacon begins to colour and render some fat. Then flip the breast back over to its original side and continue baking until the internal temperature reaches 145° to 155°F (62° to 68°C).
Rest the turkey for at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve in 1/4- to 1/2-in (3 to 5 mm) slices; slicing the turkey too thinly may cause the bacon to fall off and ruin the presentation.
For the succotash:
Carefully remove the kernels of corn from the cobs. Sauté the corn, bell peppers, red onion, and fava beans in the butter until the corn begins to "snap"; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs just before serving.
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