Use It or Lose It! Strawberry Chipotle Turkey Breast

Happy Monday, everyone. I am working on the next installment in the Dietary Guidelines series (Fat 102: trans-fats, hydrogenation and cholesterol, oh my!), but in the meantime I thought I would share my latest poultry-cooked-in-jam adventure: strawberry chipotle braised turkey.

Despite the fact that daylight savings time starts this weekend (!) and that Biblical amounts of rain fell yesterday, washing away all but the most stubborn patches of snow, winter still has us in her grip, and there is still comfort to be had in slow, oven-braised meat. Especially when that meat is simmered in smoky, spicy chipotle peppers and summer strawberries, picked at the farm last summer and tucked away in the chest freezer until duty called.

This is a quite simple recipe, with just three main ingredients: I whipped it up for lunch (one of the benefits of working from home). As such, it’s also quite adaptable: if you have regular strawberry preserves (or sauce, jelly or jam) you can simply add some chipotles en abobo or ground chipotle powder for a smoky, spicy kick. If you, like I, ran out of strawberry jam early this year, but don’t have the luxury of a chest freezer, you can easily play around with other jam-chile combinations: check out Options below for some suggestions.

A braise is a wonderful thing, especially for poultry, because the meat comes out tender & juicy with very little effort, but the sauce is the star here: make sure to serve it with a starch or over a mixed green salad so you don’t waste any of the good stuff. It’s not quite Springtime yet, but this dish will tide you over ’til she gets here.

More Use It or Lose It! posts, on using preserves in recipes during the “off season,” here. More poultry-cooked-in-preserves: sweet & soy Asian grilled chicken, roasted turkey with plum preserves, strawberry balsamic roasted turkey, marmalade chicken fingers, and oven-braised barbecue chicken

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Strawberry Chipotle Turkey Breast

INGREDIENTS

  • 1, 3-lb half turkey breast, bone-in and skin-on
  • salt, pepper and a bit of ground chipotle (for seasoning the turkey)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or other fat
  • 2 cups stock (chicken, turkey or vegetable; the stock will reduce a lot, so if using commerical stock, choose low-sodium)
  • 1, 8-oz jar strawberry chipotle preserves (or regular strawberry preserves; you can easily add ground chipotle)

METHODS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the turkey breast and pat very dry. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chipotle to taste.
  3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or covered casserole until shimmering, but not smoking. Add the turkey breast, skin side down, and cook in the hot oil until the skin is nicely browned, about 3 – 5 minutes (no need to flip and brown the other side, as it is mostly bone). Add stock and strawberry preserves (the strawberries will mostly disintegrate during the braise, but if you would like a very smooth sauce, you can buzz them in a blender or food processor first). Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then cover the pot and move to the preheated oven.
  4. Braise the turkey until an instant thermometer inserted into the meatiest spot reads at least 165 degrees F, about 1 hour (I start checking temperature at 30 minutes and then check every 10 – 15 minutes until done; I also baste when I’m checking temperature, but not usually before).  Remove the turkey breast to a clean plate and cover, or tent with foil, to rest for at least 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, bring the sauce in the pot to a boil over high heat; reduce until the sauce is thick and syrupy, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  5. Carve turkey breast and serve with hot sauce.

Serves 4 – 6.

OPTIONS

  1. Lots of fruit preserves go nicely with dried chiles: the strawberry-chipotle combination is a particularly nice one, but I also love peaches or apricots with a hot, bright chile like cayenne, Arbol or pequin; peaches are also great with smoky, mild Cascabel chiles, and apple and jalapeno are a nice mix; blueberry and blackberry can handle the heat of habanero but are also nice with a mild, smoky poblano or guajillo chile.
  2. This concept also works well with jams that I am not thrilled with straight out of the jar; the long braise, stock, salt, pepper and chiles all work their magic to transform a rather blah preserve into something outstanding.
  3. This would work with boneless, skinless turkey breast (not that I ever see any) or chicken. I would sear both sides quickly, then cover the meat entirely in sauce before braising. Check for doneness early & often to avoid over-cooking.

STORE

Refrigerated for up to 5 days.

SEASON

Winter into early Spring.

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