Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SAVEUR: Boudin-Stuffed Turkey Breast

What a treat to find five different recipes on the Saveur magazine for this month. A friend asked: "Doesn't that mean you have to make all five?" No way -- that means I get to choose one of the five. That's the policy from here on out.

I chose the boudin-stuffed turkey breast. That is on the lower left side of the magazine, shown in the image to the right.

I have to be honest, the recipe was the most simple of the five, and that is part of the reason why I went for it. After the food and photography event, I needed something a bit more mellow.

*laughs maniacally and hysterically* Goodness, was I wrong.

I have never cooked turkey before and I've had a limited amount of turkey in my life -- normally just cold cuts. That sort of thing. I'm not generally fond of turkey, finding my run ins with it thus far have been leaning heavily toward the dried out turkey recipes. Unfortunate, I know.

But I was determined to make a juicy mimic of the front cover. I mean, look at it! In all its gracious lusciousness.

It took me a while to find the turkey breasts in the grocery store. Apparently, the whole turkey is more readily available. And when I found the turkey breast I was quite surprised. It looked exactly like a whole chicken. I though: "Good God! How can two cuts of breast meat be so large?"

Full disclosure: I didn't know what I was doing, but I gather you figured that out by now.

It took two whole days for the turkey breast to defrost. I figured -- well, why not? I mean, look at the size of this bag. It's going to take a little bit of time. Which was fine, because I wouldn't be able to cook it for a couple of days anyway.

Now, another key part of this story is the boudin sausage.

I had quite a bit of this sausage while living in the south (Houston and Beaumont in 2003 and 2004). Apparently there are various ways to produce boudin with French, German and Canadian styles being popular.

The Cajun style common to Louisiana and the eastern region of Texas is most familiar to me. I loved the stuff and, while living in the south, would buy it in bulk, freezing it until I was ready to defrost and cook it. But I was disturbed to later find out that pork blood is commonly used in southern-style boudin. *shivers*

Moving on in the conversation.

So, yes, boudin was easy to find in the south -- in grocery stores and restaurants, even convenience stores.

But this is Tucson, folks. The southwest. I tried five different grocery stories/butchers. Most of the time the person on the other side of the line had not a clue what I was talking about. It was obvious -- I would have to make boudin from scratch, something I've never done before.

...bring it on.

Actually that wasn't the hard part about the four hours it took to make this stuffed turkey breast. 
No, the hard part was opening up the bag and finding -- you guessed it -- the entire ribcage attached to the turkey breasts. 
So, you know those moments of sheer frustration when you want to just wail out in agony or slam your fists against the kitchen counter or toss the bone-in turkey breast in the trash and have a do over? 
OK so, yes, that is all a bit extreme, but I did have a near melt-down. You know the kind when you are so exacerbated that the only release you can muster is a high-shrill type of laughter? 
Yep, that's what happened. 
After I pulled myself together, I pulled out my laptop and found a video of how to debone a turkey breast and got my best knife and set to work. I had to watch the video about three times, going over and over particular scenes even as I was attempting to remove the bone. I had never attempted to debone anything, so I wasn't sure exactly what to look or feel for. *shivers*
It took about a half hour to complete this process, which was aggravating because it took the master chef about two minutes! But I'm practicing. Honesty, I was slightly disturbed by the whole process, but I did say a prayer to the bird. 
After I had to two breast laid flat on the cutting board I began working on the boudin.
I started with a sautee of onions and red bell peppers. I then added the ground pork and browned this a bit with Old Bay seasoning, garlic salt and four or five garlic cloves.
I then added enough water to cover the meat, and added some paprika to the mix.

I also began boiling jasmine rice with a pork bouillon and about four sage leaves. The rice was ready in about 20 minutes, but the pork would have to cook at least one hour. 
Meanwhile, I prepped the turkey.

This required pounding the meat with a mallet. This took some time. Once done, I seasoned the breasts with salt and pepper and also lemon juice and let this sit for a while. I was not able to leave it overnight, as the recipe demanded. I was thrilled to be using fresh sage and thyme. The freshness of both herbs was so unbelievably wonderful. I massaged the chopped up herbs all over the turkey and under the skin. 
Everything was coming together. 
When the water was nearly completely evaporated from the pork, I removed the sage leaves from the rice and added the rice to the skillet, cooking this through for a few minutes. I then let the mixture -- the boudin -- cool a bit before stuffing the turkey breast. 
I followed the cooking instructions directly and nearly two hours later, the turkey was done. It was massive, but moist and full of flavor. Truth be told, I likely will never do this again -- without a serious request.  

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