Final Entry in the Cookoff: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast

Our final entry in the IDOS Three-Pot Cookoff in Morrilton, Arkansas, was one we’ve prepared many times and love the delicious and beautiful result. We hoped it would be a winner!

We’ve made bacon-wrapped stuffed turkey breast several times since I first tried it at the North Texas Regional Big DOG in Canton.  When we made it in March, I couldn’t find a regular turkey breast, but used a marinated turkey breast that worked beautifully.  Based on that experience, I modified the recipe to add a marinade of Italian dressing with fresh herbs and let the turkey breast soak it up for as long as possible.  We also learned how to weave the bacon before wrapping the turkey, kicking up the presentation factor a bit.  Another modification to the original recipe was to fry up five or six slices of Petit Jean peppered bacon and then crumble it up into the spinach stuffing to add more of the luscious bacon flavor throughout the dish.  The final modification was to create a garnish that complimented the main dish, so we added roasted baby potatoes with onion, garlic, fresh herbs, and more crumbled bacon (of course!).

Our sense of relief in completing the desert and bread round made completing the main dish seem like a breeze!  We quickly stuffed the chilled and marinated turkey breast with the spinach and Asiago cheese and wrapped it up in the beautiful bacon wrap.  While Steve was weaving the bacon, he had a fun conversation with a local man who was mesmerized by the idea!  He had never seen it done before and watched us put it all together with eyes open wide.

I did not envy the judges tough job of evaluating each entry.  Petit Jean Meats sponsored the event and had given us their ham, bacon, sausage, and smoked meats to use in our entries.  Needless to say, there were several entries like ours with woven bacon on top.

When we turned in our main entry, we collapsed into our chairs and enjoyed propping our tired feet up on the coolers.  We were delighted to have met our goal of turning all of our dishes in on time!  We eventually got back to work, cleaning up all of the pots and dishes that we used all morning.

Waiting to hear the judge’s decision was bearable mainly because we were distracted by the task of cleaning up our work station and talking to the public who were watching the Peoples Choice competition.  Five hours later, we heard the results!  In my next blog post, I’ll share what we learned about the judging process and my final entry in this series will share the results of the competition and the successful fund-raising effort.

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