In December I hosted a dinner party where I cooked turkey breasts that had been brined, then had a herb butter rubbed under the skin, then wrapped in prosciutto to be roasted, then drizzled with a little maple syrup while being allowed to rest.
I’ve decided this is the best way to cook turkey. It takes less than an hour in the oven, is easy to carve and has sensational flavour. The dish was so popular one of my guests changed her Christmas Day menu plans and decided to cook this on Christmas Day. The day after the dinner party I quickly phoned my butcher and ordered two more turkey breasts so I could share the recipe with you.
The recipe comes from the December issue of Donna Hay Magazine. This was the easiest turkey dish I’ve ever made. Because you’re only dealing with the breast, the brining part of the process only takes a couple of hours. The herb butter is no trouble to make and the carving process is a breeze.
I was wondering when I might re-do this recipe when we were invited to my friend, Annie’s house for a dinner party on New Year’s Eve. I told her I had two turkey breasts in the freezer and asked if she would like me to prepare them at my house then bring them over to be cooked at her house. She was enthusiastic in her response and so along with her smashed potatoes and crunchy salad, the menu was set for our New Year’s Eve dinner.
- 2 cups (500ml) white wine
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- ¼ cup (60g) table salt
- ½ cup (85g) brown sugar
- 6 cloves garlic, bruised
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 6 sprigs sage
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 ltr water, extra
- 2 x 1.8kg turkey breast fillets, skin on
- 20 slices prosciutto
- ¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup
- Dijon mustard and fruit chutney to serve (I used cranberry sauce)
- Herb Butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tspns finely chopped thyme
- 2 tspns finely chopped sage
- 2 tspns finely grated lemon rind
- 300g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tspns sea salt flakes
- 2 tspns cracked black pepper
- To brine the turkey breasts, place the wine, the water, salt, sugar, garlic, parsley, sage, thyme and bay leaves in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brining liquid into a large non-reactive container. Add the extra water and stir to combine. Lower the turkey breasts into the brine, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours (but no longer).
- To make the herb butter, place the garlic, parsley, thyme, sage, lemon rind, butter, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Remove the turkey from the container, discarding the brine, and pat dry. Carefully loosen the skin from the flesh on each breast and using your fingers, push the butter mixture under the skin. Lay 10 slices of the prosciutto on a bench, overlapping slightly. Top with a turkey breast, skin-side down. Wrap the prosciutto around the turkey breast pressing to secure. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto and turkey. Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil. Place the turkey breasts on the tray and roast for 1 hour, or until golden and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer. Brush the prosciutto with maple syrup, loosely cover with foil and allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes. Thinly slice the turkey and serve with the mustard and fruit chutney.
We had a lovely New Year’s Eve that started in a relaxing way with a glass of champagne and a cheese platter.
The boys had an evening swim in the pool while Annie and I chatted in the kitchen, keeping an eye on the progress in the oven.
While the meat was resting we went upstairs to watch the 9pm fireworks that were from a distance but spectacular.
By the time the fireworks were over, the meat was ready. Drew loved how easy it was to carve compared with battling an entire turkey. I didn’t make a gravy but just poured the pan juices over the meat and it was taken to the table.
Despite being very well fed, after the meal we enjoyed fruit mince pies and chocolates while welcoming in the New Year.
Another great night with good friends and lovely food.