The latest Lean on Turkey challenge was to cook a summer turkey meal for just £10 and in so doing, demonstrate how turkey is a great meat for summer cooking that's suitable for the whole family.
I had seen Rachel Allen preparing a Mufaletta on t.v. some time ago, so when hubby began to describe a dish that he'd seen on a Pinterest board, I knew exactly what it was he was talking about - and liked the idea straight away. I felt sure that summer had to arrive in England soon (and I was right - it is absolutely roasting out there today) and picnics would be hurriedly assembled, before it can rain again!
To explain, a Mufaletta is basically an entire loaf of bread which has had the middle crumb removed and then stuffed with a selection of different meats, salads and cheeses - anything you fancy, basically! You then wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for some 3-4 hours with a heavy weight on its head. This compresses the layers and - amazingly - when you come to cut it, everything holds together beautifully and the flavours are just mind blowing.
We compressed ours with a marble slab and "A Social History of Great Britain", which seemed to do the job perfectly.
So, what did our Mufaletta have in it? Well, firstly I gave the entire inside of the loaf (once it was empty, of course!) a light drizzle with our favourite Rapeseed oil and smoothed it into the bread crumb with the back of a teaspoon. I then seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
The very bottom layer was a green olive tapenade, then going up through the layers, we had thick cut ham, sliced tomato, chunks of thick cut roast turkey breast, redcurrant jelly, Applewood smoked cheese slices, more sliced tomato, with slices of oven roasted red and yellow pepper to finish.
The filling had rather overflowed the top level of the loaf, but once I'd put the lid back on and it was compressed, it all fitted beautifully.
In retrospect, I think I'd include a layer of something like rocket leaves for that nice peppery crunch as you bite through - but it was completely fabulous all the same. Both my two chaps loved the Mufaletta and gave it a very definite thumbs up of approval.
You would think that all those different flavours would just amalgamate into a globular, undefined whole - but quite the opposite occurred. As you worked your way through, you would find that the first bite was an amazing mix of flavours, but then individuals would appear - the first being the smoked cheese, then tomato, then turkey and so on. The best bit, for me, was when you would hit upon a bit that had the redcurrant jelly. It - not surprisingly - went so well with the cold roasted turkey breast, the cheese and the ham. To have a little burst of intense sweetness amongst all that savoury, was really delightful.
As a picnic dish, you just can't ask for more. It would travel perfectly, all wrapped up in its cling film and just require a sharp knife to cut it once you got down to eating. A fork is optional - depending on whether you mind eating with your fingers or not. Surely, though, a picnic is all about eating with the fingers? I had no problems marshalling my fallers and stuffing them into the action department - all done with decorum, of course!
As for the price, the entire Mufaletta came to £9.83 - and we shopped at Asda and Sainsbury's for the ingredients, so you will find that prices vary. Where items like the oil are concerned, I have priced out the amount we used, rather than the entire bottle :
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Loaf of crusty bread
Thick cut ham
Roast turkey breast (from the Deli)
Applewood smoked cheese
Red & Yellow Peppers
As for ease of preparation, well it doesn't get a lot easier! The trickiest part is not removing too much of the crumb of the bread, so as to leave enough to soak up the juices from the tomatoes etc., without being soggy. I made sure that I didn't go down as far as the crust anywhere and would say that the amount of bread we had in there was about perfect.
After that, it's a simple matter of deciding which meats would go with which accompaniment and layering them up in even layers. With the redcurrant jelly, I gave it a good mix in the jar first, to ensure it was nicely spreadable, and plopped three or four teaspoonfuls onto the turkey and spread them around with the back of the teaspoon. This meant that as it fell between the pieces of turkey it became random in its delivery when being eaten - which made for the above mentioned hits of sweetness that worked so well.
I also made sure that the tomatoes were seasoned well before being included, as I find that a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper can transform the flavour of a vine ripened tomato into something very special.
I'd say that, from the start to putting the finished article in the fridge, probably took me around 15-20 minutes - which is probably about the same as making a few rounds of ordinary sandwiches!
We ate ours sitting on the patio enjoying the first of these few days of sunshine, for which it was just perfect.
ROAST TURKEY MUFALETTA (serves between 4-8, depending on slice size!)
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
a loaf of crusty bread (8" across, round loaf preferably)
Rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tsp green olive tapenade
120g thick cut honey roast ham
2 vine ripened tomatoes
130g roast turkey breast (from the deli - ask for it to be cut in one thick slice)
3-4 tsp redcurrant jelly
200g Ilchester Applewood smoked cheese slices.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4. While the oven is heating, cut the peppers in half and remove the stalk and pips. Place them onto a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Season.
2. Cook the peppers for 30 mins or until they are softened and collapsed. As soon as you remove them from the oven, place them into a plastic bag and seal. After some ten minutes or so, you should be able to peel the tough skins off, leaving the flesh in one piece. Set them aside to cool completely.
3. Take the loaf of bread and cut the top off, sufficiently far down that it forms a good "hat", but not so far down that you don't have much room for the filling.
4. Pull the crumb of the bread out of the middle of the loaf and the "hat", leaving a half to a quarter of an inch of bread inside of the crust.
5. Drizzle with a little rapeseed or olive oil ("hat" included) and smooth over with the back of a teaspoon. Season.
6. Begin the layers by smoothing on the olive tapenade, then layer in the ham. I found to work in a spiral was the easiest way.
7. Next, cut the two tomatoes into thin slices and season them. Place one tomato into the loaf as the next layer. Reserve the other tomato.
8. Take the turkey slice and break it into roughly bite sized pieces. Scatter them on top of the tomato, for the next layer. Press down gently to compact the layers slightly.
9. Add the teaspoonfuls of redcurrant jelly in different places, then smooth over with the back of a teaspoon. It doesn't matter if some areas wind up with more than others - this adds to the randomness of the flavours.
10. Lay on the cheese slices (again, I found a spiral pattern worked well), the last tomato and finish with the pepper slices.
11. Give the contents a little drizzle of rapeseed or olive oil and place the "hat" on top.
12. Wrap the loaf, in its entirety, in cling film and place into the fridge under a very heavy weight for some 3-4 hours.
13. Take to somewhere lovely, and serve!