Turkey Tips

Union Street’s Dave Hubbard has a flavorful answer for a holiday feast


Photograph by Joe Vaughn

While growing up, executive chef Dave Hubbard Jr. never wanted turkey. His Sicilian mom “hits home runs in the kitchen normally; she struck out on turkey,” he says. This moist and flavorful recipe turns “ ‘I don’t eat dry turkey’ folks into turkey lovers.”

Bacon ‘Wrapped’ Chorizo Cornbread Stuffed Turkey Breast (Serves 6)

Turkey Breast
3- to 5-pound skin-on boneless turkey breast
Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
½ cup herb-bacon butter*
½ cup chicken or turkey stock

*Herb-Bacon Butter

½ pound unsalted butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 slices applewood smoked bacon

Cook the bacon until crisp; cool and chop finely. In a bowl mix the butter, bacon, herbs, and salt and pepper. Spoon mixture onto cooking parchment paper, and roll and twist ends to seal. Refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Chorizo-Cornbread Stuffing

*Purchase mix or cooked cornbread (make sure it’s not too sweet, or use the recipe below).
¾ pound fresh Mexican chorizo
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch dice
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 cups cornbread, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook chorizo in a large saucepan over moderate heat until crisp on edges, about 6 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add onion and celery. Cook until onions are translucent, about 12 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and cilantro; cook 1 minute. Transfer to bowl. Spread cornbread on sheet pan and toast in oven (about 10 minutes stirring once). Add cornbread to chorizo mix. Add chicken stock, eggs, salt, and pepper and toss until evenly coated.

Assembly of the Turkey Breast: Slice herb-bacon butter into ¼-inch coins. Gently separate skin from the meat (not completely off) to create a pocket. Place coins under the skin. Place breast skin side down. Season meat side with salt and pepper, then spread stuffing evenly. Roll it, starting at bottom of the breast. Tie breast together every two inches with butchers twine, creating a “log.” Place on a baking rack on a sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting with stock, once after 15 minutes and again after 30. When turkey reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees, pull it and let rest with foil on top. This will bring the turkey to the proper internal temperature (160 degrees).

Corn Bread Recipe

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 cup plus  2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ t. Baking Powder
1 ½ t. Salt
1 ¾ Cup + 2 tablespoons Yellow Cornmeal
1 ½ cups whole milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

(1) Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees, warm a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderate heat. Add vegetable oil and heat.
(2) Meanwhile, in a bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in the cornmeal add the milk and eggs stir lightly.  Add the melted butter and stir until blended. (do not over stir or work the corn bread batter to long)
(3) Scrape the batter into the hot cast-iron skillet; the oil should sizzle.  Transfer the skillet into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the center springs back when gently pressed.  Turn the corn bread out onto a rack to cool. (this will yield more corn bread than you will need for the recipe going forward)  Remember you can purchase the corn bread already cooked and save time on this step, it will not be much different.  I always like to make it myself to not only save money, but to know exactly what I’m eating.  You can adjust the recipe as well and add some small diced Jalapenos or even a little cheddar to make a great corn bread for a side at the table.

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