Bourbon-Glazed, Smoked Turkey Breast Tossed with Pasta, Vegetables & Cheese-Cream Sauce
Smoked turkey breast (see preparation below)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Hi Mountain Seasonings Rib Rub
2 tablespoons bacon fat, butter or olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper (we like to use red and yellow)
1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
Other vegetables if desired (asparagus or green beans can be nice)
¼ pound or less smoked meat (ham, bacon, smoked sausage), cooked and diced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (more or less to taste)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup half and half (or can use milk or cream)
¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese (shredded or flaked – don’t use grated from a canister)
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pasta of choice – we like thin spaghetti or fettuccine, but angel hair or even noodles is fine
1. Smoked Turkey Breast
Brine the turkey breast overnight. We used Hi Mountain Seasoning's Game Bird Brine. Remove from brine and pat generously with seasoning. We used Hi Mountain's Rib Rub - yes, rib rub on a turkey breast! Fire up your favorite smoker (in our case a Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker) and set it for low heat smoke. Too fast and it will dry out the breast. Melt and whisk together the butter, brown sugar and bourbon until its fully incorporated into a glaze. Place turkey breast in smoker and generously baste both sides with the glaze every 30 minutes while cooking. Cook until internal temperature of the breast is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The smoked breast can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads and sandwiches or in the hearty pasta with cream sauce meal here.
2. Pasta Cream Sauce Dish
Slice turkey against the grain into ¼-inch or slightly thinner, bite-sized pieces. Cook pasta according to directions, but not completely. It should be slightly under-cooked when added to the turkey mixture so it can finish cooking with the main ingredients. While the pasta cooks, heat fat (bacon fat, butter, olive oil or a combination) in a very large skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until starting to soften. Add any other vegetable you’d like plus the mushrooms, garlic, ham (or bacon or smoked sausage) and cook another few minutes. Stir in the seasonings and turkey and cook another minute. Stir in the milk/cream and cheese. The sauce should start to thicken.
Drain the almost cooked pasta, reserving at least one cup of the pasta water. Stir the pasta and a couple tablespoons of the pasta water into the skillet. Let it simmer while you gently stir. When all of the ingredients are nicely mixed and the pasta is "al dente," you are ready to serve. Al dente, by the way, is Italian for 'to the teeth,' meaning the pasta is cooked such that it is neither crunchy nor too soft. Now, the pasta will try to absorb much of the cream. You don't want this dish to have a dry texture. Add as much pasta water and/or cream as is needed to obtain the desired creamy consistency. And then serve immediately! Pair with a full-bodied chardonnay or a light Italian red or pinot noir.