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Hot Turkey Sandwich

I love, love, love hot turkey sandwiches. Soft white bread, thick turkey gravy, a good mixture of dark and white meat, with frozen peas! The peas are what make the sandwich special. There’s something textural about them; without peas, this sandwich would be too soft on soft. And no one wants that. With this recipe we braise the turkey necks. Adding the braised neck meat between the roasted breast is just too good not to do. We aren’t going to brine our turkey breast; we are going to cook it nicely and let it come to temperature. Resting it makes the breast juicy. This takes a day to prep, though. We have to roast the breast and braise the necks, then the following day we can make this sandwich for all the people we love. At the Blue Goose Restaurant, Grampy always had plenty of roasted turkey breast for hot turkey sandwiches. These are best eaten in cold weather with French fries or creamy coleslaw.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 3 hours 15 minutes, plus overnight refrigerating

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 turkey breasts
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large turkey necks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 quarts (2.8 L) chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley (optional)
  • 1 bunch thyme (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the peas
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 (12 ounce/340 g) bag frozen peas

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Coat the turkey breasts with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the turkey breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts reaches 145°F (63°C). Remove the breasts from the oven and wrap in plastic wrap. Let cool, then place in the fridge until the next day.
  2. Meanwhile, pat the turkey necks dry and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) portions. (You can cut right through the vertebrae.) Season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat ½ inch (12 mm) of oil over medium heat. Cook the turkey necks until they’re nice and dark brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. To the same pot, add the onion, carrot, and celery until they’re cooked down, then add the tomato paste; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place the necks back into the pot and add the stock and bay leaves. You can add parsley and thyme as well. Bring to a boil, skim the scum that rises with a ladle, and turn the heat to low; braise for 2½ to 3 hours. Once the meat on the necks is fork-tender, remove the necks and strain the stock into a large container; refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, pick the neck meat off the bones. Make the gravy: In a medium saucepot over medium heat, cook the flour and butter until golden brown, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes. Add 4 cups turkey stock from the necks.
  5. Thinly slice the turkey breasts against the grain. Place one slice of bread on a plate, then top with 3 slices of breast and 2 heaping tablespoons of the cold braised turkey-neck meat, then 3 more slices of breast. Push down on the meat to compress. Pour hot gravy over the entire sandwich. In a medium saucepan, warm the peas with just a little butter and water; season with salt. Spoon a big pile on top of your hot turkey sandwich.

Recipe excerpted from ‘Matty Matheson A Cookbook’