Trim the Turchetta, Not the Tree

In honour of the holidays, Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek is wrapping up a gift of one of his most-loved and unique recipes — Brined Turchetta with Cascade Celery Bitters and Pumpkin Seed Salsa Verde — for our Café Medina kitchen spotlight recipe this month.

A play on porchetta, this signature Chef Chovancek offering is not a regular item on the Café Medina daily menu but has quickly proven to be a popular highlight of our evening private event menu.

The genesis of this recipe comes from one simple, burning culinary query: how do you make turkey better? “The answer? Wrap it in pork belly,” says Chovancek. “It’s been one of my specialties for the last three years and I’m excited to now make the celebrated and legendary Turchetta a feature on our holiday menu for private-event bookings.”

For those adventurous at-home chefs looking to carve out their own holiday Turchetta tradition, Chovancek is proud to share his trade secret with this recipe.

Brined Turchetta with Cascade Celery Bitters and Pumpkin Seed Salsa Verde

Yields 12 servings

Turkey Brine

2 L water
½ cup sea salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
½ cup Bittered Sling Kensington Aromatic Dry Bitters
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup curly parsley leaves and stems
6 green onions, split lengthwise
6 branches of thyme 


Three days ahead of serving, make the turkey brine. Heat the water with the salt and sugar and bring to a simmer. Whisk to dissolve and remove from the heat. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cool. Strain out the ingredients and discard. Keep the brine in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

See full recipe here.

Robyn Larsen

R&Co., 76 Oxford Street, Hamilton, ON, L8R 2X1