Turkey breast fillets are cuts of turkey taken from the breast which do not contain any bones. The fillets are generally sold separately in supermarkets and markets, but they can also be cut directly from a whole turkey. Most chefs will opt to buy the breasts separately if they are going to be included as part of a dish such as stuffed turkey breast, creamy almond turkey, or turkey breast fillets with leek cream sauce. This saves the chef time in preparation because the fillet doesn’t have to be removed from the bird first.
A fillet is a cut of meat which doesn’t contain any bones. Many people do not like to find bones in meat, and it can be a hindrance to the eating process if there are multiple bones to remove. Chefs have responded to this by using filets of meat instead of boney cuts. Meat with bones does generally cook with more moisture than fillets do, but several different techniques, such as braising, can be used to keep moisture in the meat. These techniques are particularly important with turkey breast fillets, which are prone to drying out.
The breast of the turkey is found on the underside of the bird when it is alive, but is generally presented face up on shop-bought turkeys. The animal has a breast bone running down the center of its chest, and at both sides of that bone are the breasts. No bones are usually found in the breasts, so turkey breast fillets can easily be removed from a whole turkey. Most chefs cut down the side of the breast bone and pull the fillet out.
Markets and supermarkets often stock turkey breast fillets for sale as an individual cut of meat. It is usually bought in the same way chicken fillets are, in a plastic package containing three or four pieces of meat. The meat from the package can be cooked as a whole steak or chopped up and included in another dish, depending on the chef’s requirements.
Many different dishes can be made from turkey breast fillets. The simplest dish is to cook them as whole steaks and then serve them alongside a sauce, such as leek and cream sauce. It is also possible to stuff turkey breast fillets with bacon and garlic and cook them in the oven. Some chefs make other dishes such as kebabs and creamy almond turkey out of turkey breasts.