Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unprocessed: Homemade Roast Turkey Sandwich

When I embarked upon this unprocessed journey, one thing I knew I was going to have to figure out was sandwiches.  Now not the biggest deal, but as a sandwich is not something I'm good at planning for I knew it would take some advance thought and prep.  I'm a sandwich fan and am a fan of deli sandwiches, first because they are quick and easy but also because there is just something about a sandwich made for you by someone else.  It tastes better and if I'm not eating a deli sandwich I want one made by my father, the king of the sandwich.  You can ask my dad for sandwich thinking there is nothing good in the fridge and he will manage to put together something amazing.  The problem even with his sandwiches is that they are made with deli meat.  Well if you want to go the unprocessed route on eating virtually all deli meat is our of the question.  God only knows where the processed meat they try to pass off as turkey comes from, even if it does taste good.  So the only way I could think of to satisfy my sandwich cravings during this month and potentially moving forward is to make my own meats.  I started off with turkey.

Many people find the idea of roasting turkey or chicken a rather daunting prospect.  Well maybe not most foodies and cooks, but many of my friends.  They'd always be so surprised and impressed when I would roast a chicken for dinner.  I've roasted whole chickens and whole turkeys but never just a breast.  My one concern was for keeping the meat nice and moist.  I decided to achieve this by cooking it on a lower heat nice and slow.  Normally when I roast a chicken I bump up the heat at the end to get a nice crispy skin, but for this breast that wast the biggest concern, though I love the skin I just wanted nice juicy meat for my sandwich. 

Roast Turkey Breast

1 2-3 lb turkey breast
4 Tbsps unsalted butter - room temperature
2 rosemary sprigs
5 thyme sprigs
2 flat leaf parsley sprigs
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 325F.  Mix the butter with salt & pepper, this is going under the skin so it will be alot of your seasoning.  I used about 1/4 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper.  Rinse off the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. 
2.  Carefully separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers.  It's not the end of the world if you puncture the skin, but try your best to keep it in one piece. Now carefully work the butter under the skin evenly across the breast.  Form your herbs into a bunch and place under the skin.
3.  Place prepared breast into a roasting pan and into the heated oven.  Roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Testing with a meat thermometer.  The internal temperature should be 170F.  I removed mine from the over at 165F as meat will continue to cook even after it's removed from the oven.
4.  Remove the turkey breast to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil and let rest at least 10 minutes.  Slice to the thickness you like best for sandwiches.

The beauty if this is that you could let the turkey rest even longer, as long as it's properly covered,  and carve it once it's completely cooled.  The fact that is doesn't take much longer that 2 1/2 hours for the entire process and only about 15 minutes active cooking time, makes it an easy thing to do on a weekend afternoon or even after work in preparation for the rest of the week.  But beyond all of that, let's talk about flavor, the meat is infused with a delicious herbiness that you'd be hard pressed to find in a standard deli turkey.  The slow cooking along with the butter rub, keep it amazingly moist and juicy also.  Basically there is no better turkey for a sandwich, in my opinion.

I'd image you'd all like to know what goes into my sandwich, huh?  I'll tell you though its not brain surgery, but when you have a foundation of homemade bread and this delectable turkey, you really don't need much more.

Jen's Roast Turkey Sandwich

2 slices 100% whole wheat bread.
2 slices roast turkey - or as much as you like
2 slices heirloom tomato - hopefully grown in your backyard, a medium sized tomato
mixed field green leaves
homemade mayonnaise - or organic
salt & pepper

1.  Spread mayonnaise onto 1 side of each slice of bread.
2.  Layer the mixed greens, tomato and turkey.
3.  Add salt & pepper to taste.
4.  Top with remaining slice of bread.
5.  Eat it!

You didn't miss it in my ingredient listing, I made homemade mayonnaise and I promise to post about it very soon, but this sandwich was just too delicious not to post.  All in it takes alot more time to make a sandwich like this.  But it was the best turkey sandwich I've ever had and completely went against my thought that a sandwich always tastes better when made by someone else.   All of the ingredients were fresh and made with love and really all it took was a bit of planning.  Not just giving into an urge when you want it.  But knowing that the turkey sandwich craving always happens, and preparing for it.  You could easily pull together all of these ingredients in an afternoon, and just have them on hand as you normally would if you bought stuff from the grocery store.  The boy loved it and I guarantee your family will too.


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