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Brian Overhauser
November 11, 2021 | Brian Overhauser

How to fight food inflation with the Holiday turkey Part #1 By Estate Chef Brian Overhauser

I was recently shopping for our monthly 3 & 3 wine and food pairing event when I was hit with sticker shock! Yes, we all have our stories as to why this is happening and depending on who you listen to its somebody’s fault. I am not looking to blame someone or something for this issue but to find a solution. I asked my wholesaler to give me my current price for a particular meat I like to use, and it went up over 70% in the last two months. So, my point is that I will have to pass this on to our guest who like the $50 price point for our events or switch gears and seek out alternative proteins.

The same day I was shopping at Bel Air for some things needed at home and there it was!!  .57 cents per pound!!  Honestly any protein that is .57 cents a pound needs a second look. There before me was the beloved holiday turkey just screaming at me to find some alternative ways to utilize it in way other than Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, Thanksgiving is around the corner and like all of you, I will be knee deep in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings and enough food for a small army! So, the thought of turkey a couple times a week sounds awfully boring, but what about dishes I can create to beat inflation and fulfill my need to enjoy fine dining and still have money left over for a great bottle of Scott Harvey wine?

Here is what I came up with. Buy two of the small to medium sized frozen turkeys at $6 to $8 each and put one in the freezer and one in the fridge to defrost over a 3-day period.

After properly defrosting the turkey, I remove it and head to my favorite place in my house, the center island workstation in the middle of my kitchen. I open the newest release of Scott Harvey 2019 Reserve Barbera and the Italian music started playing in my head, so next I decided to play my favorite Italian singer Dean Martin, and the appropriate song is “Hey Brother Pour the Wine”

Now I am really in the Italian spirit and inspired to think of my favorite Italian dishes and how I can utilize this almost free holiday turkey that is sitting in front of me. My first thought is “ its cold outside”, so Veal Marsala sounds comforting and delicious. You are likely saying to yourself “Chef has gone over the edge”, you can’t turn turkey into veal. Oh yes, I can!

I will start by thinking of the breast meat separately from the legs and thighs. In other words, they truly require different cooking times and lend themselves to different preparations. We all know this by how differently chicken thighs cook verses the breast. Most often when the breast is done well before the legs and thighs are, so this eliminates that quandary.

I remove the legs- thigh from the turkey and then separate them then take the legs and thighs and cryo-vac them in a mild brine solution for use on another day in my smoker. More on this later.


Now I have the turkey breast anxiously awaiting my next move. With my 8” chef knife, I carefully cut down across the center left of the breastbone from the front to the back. As you are cutting, with your left hand pull the breast meat away from the carcass and continue to cut until all the meat separates for the breastbone. Now repeat with the other side.

Here is where we turn it into a cutlet and a mock veal cutlet. Take the whole breast and remove the tenderloin that is slightly separate from the breast. This is another meal for later. I angle the knife across the grain and cut on the bias (see picture) ¼ thick pieces. You should get 4 to 6 medallions.


 Now take a large Ziplock and cut out the two side seams with your knife. Open it up and spray wipe the inside service with olive oil. Place a turkey medallion inside the of the Ziplock. Now pound with a meat pounder into a very thin cutlet. Remove from the Ziplock and repeat with the remaining medallions.

Now here is where the magic happens.





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