Smoked Turkey Breast with Cornbread Stuffing and Chicories
In this spin on the Thanksgiving bird, Chef Charlie Parker of Haven restaurant soaks a turkey breast in a flavorful brine, then smokes and roasts it in the oven. He serves the juicy meat over corn bread stuffing and quick-roasted chicories, finished with dollops of celery yogurt. Smoking the turkey in the oven generates a lot of smoke, so if you don’t have a strong exhaust fan, use an outdoor smoker or skip this step altogether. The results will still be delicious.
For the corn bread:
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) plus 2 Tbs. cornmeal
- 2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) buttermilk
- 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 Tbs. honey
For the brine:
- 4 quarts (128 fl. oz./4 l) apple juice
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) kosher salt
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 Tbs. peppercorns
- 1 orange, sliced
1 bone-in turkey breast, 5 to 7 lb. (2.5 to 3.5 kg)
- 2 cups (6 oz./185 g) applewood smoking chips
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the stuffing:
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, finely diced
- 6 celery stalks, finely diced
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken stock
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
For the chicories and celery yogurt:
- 2 heads radicchio, chopped
- 2 heads escarole, chopped
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups (16 oz./500 g) plain Greek yogurt, strained
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Maldon sea salt
- 2 Pink Lady apples, cored and thinly sliced
Make the corn bread a day in advance. Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, cream, eggs, olive oil, butter and honey. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and fold gently until the batter is blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.
To make the brine, in a large pot over high heat, combine the apple juice, salt, rosemary, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns and orange and heat, stirring until the salt dissolves. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until the brine is cold. Place the turkey breast in the brine, breast side down, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove the turkey breast from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of an oven and remove the second rack. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Put the applewood chips in an oven-safe fry pan small enough to fit under the rack in the middle of the oven. Place over high heat on the stovetop and heat until smoking. Rub the turkey breast with the olive oil and butter. Transfer the turkey to the oven, placing the pan of wood chips underneath the turkey. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove the chips. Continue roasting the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 155°F (68°C), about 45 minutes more. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C), about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the stuffing: Using your hands, break the corn bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the stock and butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts. Pour the stock mixture over the corn bread and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish. After the turkey has roasted for about 30 minutes, place the baking dish in the oven and bake until the stuffing is golden on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.
While the turkey is resting, make the chicories and celery yogurt: Increase the oven temperature to 450°F (230°C). In a large bowl, toss together the radicchio, escarole and olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until the chicories are crisp on the edges, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the vinegar.
In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, celery and cayenne, and season with salt and black pepper. The celery yogurt can be made up to 1 day in advance; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Spoon the stuffing onto a platter and cover the stuffing with the chicories. Cut the turkey breast into slices and fan out on top of the chicories. Pour the pan drippings over the meat and sprinkle with sea salt. Spoon puddles of the celery yogurt around and garnish with the apple slices. Serves 8 to 10.
Charlie Parker, Chef, Haven, Oakland, CA