Cold Turkey Cuts

Am I the only one to make my own cold meat cuts? I am not talking here about using up the leftover roast meat, but seasoning, roasting the meat and deliberately cooling it down, bearing in mind it is to be eaten cold in the sandwiches or salads. I have lately realised this is not as common a practice as I had thought and, when mentioned, it is often regarded as something as complicated and crazy like making  your own sausage or black pudding.

Meanwhile, homemade cold cuts are incredibly easy. The cold roast can be a bit dry, a bit burnt (as above), with too many spices… In the end, once the meat is sliced and put into a sandwich or a salad, these imperfections are not important, especially when compared to what one can get as ready-made supermarket cold cuts… Being busy is a false problem, since only one hour and a half per week of sitting on a couch, checking the oven maybe three times, is required to obtain delicious meat cuts for at least seven following days. Saturday or Sunday is probably the best moment for those working hard and late on weekdays. Apart from the obvious quality and taste advantages (unless one lives close to a very good butcher, in certain countries an almost extinct profession), homemade roast pork or turkey is ridiculously cheap.

The below kind and amount of spices should be treated only as an example. The only important thing is to rub the salt into the meat first, before adding the remaining spices. The following recipe is my yesterday’s preparation and one of the laziest roast recipes I can present.

Preparation: 1 hour 30 min


a whole small turkey breast weighing 1 kg (or a cut off part of the turkey breast)

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons dried granulated garlic (this is the laziest option of course; using fresh garlic is a bit more fussy – it should be peeled, cut into small pieces and placed into small incisions in the meat, otherwise it burns)

3 tablespoons Indian curry

1 tablespoon ground chili

2 tablespoons oil

Take the breast out of the fridge. Wash it, pat dry and with your hands rub the salt into all of the sides.

Afterwards rub all the spices into the meat.

Put the meat aside, covered for about twenty minutes (you can leave it marinating in the spices for several hours or overnight, but in this case it should be put back into the fridge and taken out 30 minutes before roasting).

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan.

Sear the meat for 30 seconds – 1 minute on every side until it browns slightly (turning a bit piece of meat and maintaining it with your hands is easier than with any other utensil).

Put it on a baking dish and leave in the oven for 40-50 minutes.

If you see the surface gets burnt, you can cover the roast with aluminium foil for the remaining baking time (as you can see on the above photo mine burnt quite a lot, but, once again, this is not something I usually mind in my cold meat…).

Take it out of the oven, let it cool down.

Kept in the fridge for one week this roast will be delicious in sandwiches, salads or as a quick fresh meat substitute in soups, savoury tarts or any pasta dish.

It can also be frozen.

4 Replies to “Cold Turkey Cuts”

  1. Sissi, this sounds like a really good idea! Do you have a recipe for lean pork? Rosemary, salt and garlic could be a good start…

    1. Hi Zsuzsa, thank you! When I make pork roast (pork filet) for cold cuts (or a warm dinner) I rub it with marjoram, salt, pepper and – like you – garlic (and now Hungarian paprika is a must!). I also stuff it with prunes or dried apricot (the latter version is my favourite now). I also fry it before putting to the oven. This way it dries less while baking (the problem with lean roast… but when one wants to enjoy roast and eat healthier…). I love marjoram with pork (it must come from my mother’s habit of putting marjoram practically in every pork dish). I must try with rosemary one day. Thank you for the idea!

      1. Sissi, I will try it your way next time and I will let you know how it turns out. I go to a really good German butcher and I love his cold cuts, but I feel guilty every time with cold cuts not being the healtiest…

        1. It’s true… The pâtés, duck liver mousse etc. I buy at the French butcher are also delicious, but not light at all! Good luck!

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