Friday, July 15, 2011

MORTADELLA ROLLED TURKEY BREAST, Recipe for Charcutepalooza #7

It’s nice to roll turkey or chicken breast with mortadella, cheese, and various herbs, depending on the season. In fall or winter, try using rosemary, sage, and winter savory, for spring try thyme and chives, and for summer basil, marjoram, and oregano.

So here’s the strategy, formula, and technique. Quantities are more or less, give or take.

1 boneless, skinless turkey breast, in one or two pieces
about 10 slices mortadella
about 10 slices provolone cheese
about ¼ c grated parmesan cheese
a few tablespoons fresh basil, marjoram, and oregano, chopped
a handful of greens such as Swiss chard or spinach, coarsely chopped, optional
a few tablespoons flour for dusting
oil for sautéing
a cup or two of white wine

Between two slices of plastic, pound turkey breast with a mallet, can, or jar so that it is an even thickness, about 1/3 – ½” thick.

Cover turkey breast with a layer of mortadella, and cover this with a scant layer of herbs and chopped greens, if you like.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese on this layer, and cover completely with provolone cheese.

Press and tightly roll turkey breast, and tie securely with a kitchen twine, using a wrapped buttonhole stitch around the width of the roll and running the ends back through the length of it, tying the ends together.

Dust with flour. Heat oil in pan, and brown all sides of turkey rolls.

Add wine to the pan, reserving about ¼ c. Cook in a 375˚ oven for 30 or 40 minutes. Most of the wine should have evaporated, and some cheese and juices should have melted out into the pan. Remove from oven, and take turkey rolls out to rest for a few minutes before removing the twine and slicing. Meanwhile add remaining wine to pan and mix it in with melted cheese and pan drippings.

If you’re feeling elegant, strain the juices for your sauce, if you’re feeling sensible, don’t, and thoroughly enjoy it all. Serve sliced turkey with sauce.

MORTADELLA PORK PIE, Recipe for Charcutepalooza #7

This is a variation of a crustless meat pie found in The Silver Spoon, which calls for veal instead of pork.

So here’s the strategy, formula, and technique for a small pie. For a larger pie, increase quantities and cooking time as needed.

Slices of pork shoulder, about ½- 1” thick
Thick slices if mortadella
Thin slices of ham
Grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Bay Leaves

Place bay leaves in bottom of deep pan or dish.
Between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound pork with mallet, can, or jar to about ¼ inch thick, and trim to size of dish.
Place a piece of pounded pork in the bottom of dish, on top of bay leaves.

Sprinkle with grated parmesan, and then make a layer of mortadella, followed by a layer of ham.
Spread some beaten eggs on top of ham layer, and sprinkle a small amount of parmesan cheese on eggs.
Continue to layer meat, cheese, and eggs in this way to the top of the dish, finishing with a layer of eggs.

Cover with foil, place in a pan, and fill with water to halfway up dish. 

Bring water to a boil, turn to a simmer, and cook on a very low heat for about 1 ½ hours. Remove cover and continue to cook on low to cook out any extra moisture in pie. Eggs should be set.

Turn pie to a plate and place a weight on it for an hour. Chill and serve in slices.


At the start of each Charcutepalooza challenge there is always some kind of a search. There might be a certain cut of meat, a special herb or spice, or some kind of casing made from a particular part of one animal or another that you’ll need to find. You’ll have to think of where you might find whatever it is, and then go out looking for it, seeking it out and asking around. It’s a treasure hunt, and it’s fun.
I live in an area where people from all over the world have chosen to come to live, where they have kindly set up shop with all kinds of goodies from far away lands. We also have easy access to rural butchers and markets, which are just a nice drive in the country away. But even here the likes of sheep casings and beef bung are hard to come by. So, after some unsuccessful seeking, I went online, because nowadays there’s always the internet. And boy can you find bung on Bing!
After a bit of online research I was set to order both sheep casing and beef bung. But to have online shopping to work, you have to actually order whatever it is you want. Since I didn’t order right away, between all of the this and all of the that I was doing it just didn’t happen. Then I started to think that maybe I didn’t need beef bung after all.

I was pretty sure that with plastic wrap, string, cheesecloth, and a serger I could fashion a wrapping that would hold a mass of emulsified meat, ice, and fat together long enough for it to poach into a nice mortadella.

The recipe from Charcuterie, The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing has detailed instructions for grinding and mixing the sausage emulsion, specifying exact temperatures and procedures to follow.

Keeping all the parts and pieces cold was tricky: the ice machine is temperamental, the refrigerator way too full, and the food processor a mini.

I basically kept to the recipe, though I cut the Kosher salt by half, skipped the mace and doubled the nutmeg, used fresh minced bay leaves, and added some beautiful little olives that Jenny brought back from Trento, Italy for me. It’s a fine tasting recipe, though the flavor of the meat is very mild against the fat and next time I think I’ll try it with a little more meat and a little less fat.

I was worried that if I used only plastic wrap it might come apart in the poaching water, so I thought I’d use plastic wrap as an inner casing, and use fabric to make an outer casing. The weave of my cheesecloth seemed too loose, so I stitched a scrap of muslin into 24”  tube with a 6” diameter.

Mortadella wrapped in the plastic inner casing and the cloth outer casing, tied with kitchen twine and ready to go…

Still in one piece after poaching it slowly…

Chilled and sliced…

Ready to be used in sandwiches 

and salads,

to be put in a meat pie,

and rolled into turkey.

Next up: recipes for Mortadella Pork Pie and Mortadella Rolled Turkey Breast