Sunday, July 26, 2015

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and What to Do with Leftovers

I usually cook some sort of chicken on the weekends to be used for salads and sandwiches during the week. In an attempt to start using some of the food I have in a very over stuffed freezer, last weekend I pulled out a turkey breast to mix it up a little.

I have never tried to cook a turkey breast in a slow cooker but given the weather it made sense. The results were surprisingly good. The rub that went on the turkey gave it a golden appearance like it had roasted in the oven but without the skin it made it even healthier.

I like to put a Reynolds Slow Cooker liner in my crock before filling it. It makes cleanup a breeze and there is even a coupon available right now if anyone wants to try them.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
adapted from Taste of Home 2012
1 bone-in turkey breast, skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rub the oil all over the turkey. Combine the remaining ingredients sprinkle evenly over the turkey, patting lightly to adhere. Transfer to a large.slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 5-6 hours or until an instant read thermometer reads 165o F

A whole turkey breast is much more than my husband and I can eat in salads and sandwiches for a week so I made some additional dishes with the already cooked turkey breast. I am sure both of these recipes would work just as well with chicken. Tuck these ones away from all those leftover come November.

The first recipe - Arroz con Pavo - is not a pretty dish but it is quite tasty.

Saffron Rice with Turkey
adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray November 2011

4 cups chicken stock
Pinch saffron
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup orzo
1 onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 cup long-grain rice
1 bay leaf
1/2  cinnamon stick 
2 Tbsps chopped fresh thyme
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 lb cooked turkey, chopped

Bring the chicken stock and saffron to a simmer. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the olive oil with  1 tbsp. butter. Add the orzo and cook until toasted, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove the orzo from the pan and set aside. 

Melt the remaining 1 tbsp. butter in the same pot. Stir in the onion, carrot and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook the vegetables until softened. Add the rice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, thyme and lemon zest and cook for 1 minute. Return the pasta to the pot. 

Stir in the saffron stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Splash in some more chicken stock to thin the consistency if needed. 

Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Stir in the turkey and lemon juice and cook until the rice and pasta are cooked through,  

I have never tried to make meatballs from previously previously cooked meat. The texture is much different ... softer .... probably due to the potatoes included in the mix. But yummy none the less.

Turkey and Cheese Meatballs
adapted from Food & Wine June 2015

1 lb potatoes, peeled, cooked and cooled
1 lb cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup minced fresh  parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
Pinch of  nutmeg
1 cup egg substitute, divided
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
Olive oil, for frying

In a food processor, pulse the turkey until finely chopped. Add the potatoes, cheese, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, nutmeg and 1/2 cup of egg substitute. Season with salt and pepper and pulse until well mixed. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to cook, shape the meat mixture into balls. The size of the balls will determine how many you can make. I made golf ball size meatballs and I got about 20.

Set up a dredging station with the flour, the remaining egg substitute and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dredge each turkey meatball in the flour, then dip in the egg and coat with the breadcrumbs. 

Fry the meatballs in the olive oil on the stovetop, turning, until golden and cooked through, Depending on the size of the skillet this may need to be done in 2 batches to prevent overcrowding in the pan.

As the meatball cook, remove them to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite meatball sauce.

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