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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recipes: Jamaican Jerk Boneless Turkey Breast

Last Thanksgiving, when I wrote of cranberries, I promised you an easy and innovative way to fix turkey without all the complexity beforehand and debris in the aftermath. I should have posted this earlier, but consider this a rescue recipe for perennial procrastinators. Forget the whole bird: there's no time left to defrost a whole frozen turkey, and, starting on the holiday, there's little probability you'll be able to obtain one which isn't frozen unless you have a bunch running around in the backyard and a hatchet.

So, get yourself a plump boneless turkey breast between 1 and 1.5 kilograms (2–3 pounds). Now, this will be, of necessity, all white meat and if you prefer dark, that's a compromise you'll have to make in the interest of expedience. As soon as you get the turkey breast home, put it in a glass casserole dish large enough so it can sit flat upon the bottom with some space above, then spoon two tablespoons (30 ml) of Jamaican jerk seasoning (this is my favourite—no relation) and thoroughly rub it into the meat on all sides. This is hot stuff; if you have any cuts on your hands you may want to wear rubber gloves and in any case be sure to wash your hands afterward. Cover the casserole and place it in the refrigerator to marinate, ideally overnight, but even an hour or so will get the job done, albeit less than optimally, if time is limited.

When the countdown clock reaches two hours before meal time, remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator and set it on the counter to begin to come up to room temperature. At the same time, begin to preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). (If your oven has a circulating air system, use it. If not, add 10 minutes to the cooking time.) Peel two medium sized yellow onions and slice in halves, then place the four half-onions atop the turkey breast in the casserole. At T−75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes), place the casserole in the middle of the preheated oven. From this point on you have nothing to do whatsoever in preparing the turkey, so you can work on vegetables, a salad, or watching football. At T0, remove the casserole from the oven and you'll find a moist, spicy turkey breast ready to carve and share with your guests, and plenty of juice to season the potatoes.

What can go wrong? (Hey, I'm an engineer—that's what I'm all about!) In my experience, very little. Be careful that the lid on the casserole dish fits well and that it isn't askew: that can lead to the juice evaporating and the meat drying out. But apart from that on one occasion, I've made this dish dozens of times and had no other problems. After you've put the leftovers in the frigo, you'll have several days of delightfully spicy turkey sandwiches to enjoy.

And next year I'll proffer an all killer, no filler recipe for when you're tired of turkey sandwiches!

Posted at November 26, 2008 23:48