Smoked Turkey And Cherry Chutney Panini Recipe

If you're in the mood for a sandwich that's a notch above your everyday fare, try your hand at a smoked turkey and cherry chutney panini. This recipe brings together the savory flavor of smoked turkey with the sweet and tangy flavors of cherry chutney, all warmed and pressed to perfection. 

Fruit and poultry pairings are quite common in many culinary traditions, as the sweetness of the fruit often balances the savory notes of the meat. In this recipe from developer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, lean, mild turkey serves as an excellent canvas for bolder flavors. The natural sweetness and slight acidity of cherries can cut through the richness of the turkey, adding a refreshing contrast that enhances the overall taste. 

The best part of this sandwich is that one of its main components, the chutney, can be made well in advance — up to a week before you need it — allowing you to get a head start on your meal planning. This also helps to deepen and enrich its flavor. Simply keep it covered in the refrigerator, and it'll be ready when you are to enhance your panini. What's more, you can use it for in other robust, savory preparations, as it tastes lovely on a cracker when paired with a strong aged goat cheese, charcuterie, figs, or Manchego cheese. This smoked turkey and cherry chutney panini recipe is ideal for a satisfying meal, promising a delicious bite that stands out from the rest. 

Gather the ingredients for smoked turkey and cherry chutney panini

To prepare the cherry chutney, you'll need cherries that have been pitted, a brown onion, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. The chutney's distinctive flavor comes from the Indian-inspired combination of mustard seeds, fresh ginger, and a hint of salt. To add a bit of heat, include some red pepper flakes. As for the turkey panini, grab a loaf of ciabatta bread to provide a sturdy and crusty exterior, smoked turkey breast to form the meat of the sandwich, and Gruyère cheese that melts beautifully. Lastly, unsalted butter at room temperature will be needed to achieve a golden, toasted finish on the bread. 

Step 1: Combine the chutney ingredients in a saucepan

Combine all of the chutney ingredients in a saucepan.

Step 2: Bring to a boil

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Cook

Reduce the heat to low, then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Let cool

Remove the chutney from the heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Preheat a pan

Preheat a panini press or grill pan over medium heat.

Step 6: Cut the ciabatta

Cut the ciabatta in half through the middle.

Step 7: Slice in half

Slice each piece to form sandwich halves.

Step 8: Layer chutney, turkey, and Gruyère

On the bottom half of each slice, layer ¼ cup cherry chutney, then add smoked turkey and Gruyère cheese slices.

Step 9: Close the panini

Top the panini with the remaining bread halves.

Step 10: Spread with butter

Spread the softened butter evenly on the outside of each assembled panini.

Step 11: Grill the panini

Grill the panini in the press or pan until golden brown, about 3–5 minutes.

Step 12: Slice in half

Remove from the heat and slice in half diagonally.

Step 13: Serve

Serve immediately.

Smoked Turkey And Cherry Chutney Panini Recipe
No Ratings
An Indian-inspired, mustard-and-cherry chutney spices up smoked turkey in this unique panini recipe, which also melts Gruyère in between the sauce and meat.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
55
minutes
Servings
2
sandwiches
Three slices of panini on parchment paper with cherry chutney and cherries
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the cherry chutney
  • 1 pound cherries, pitted
  • ½ brown onion, diced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the turkey panini
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 4 ounces smoked turkey breast, sliced
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Directions
  1. Combine all of the chutney ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the chutney from the heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Preheat a panini press or grill pan over medium heat.
  6. Cut the ciabatta in half through the middle.
  7. Slice each piece to form sandwich halves.
  8. On the bottom half of each slice, layer ¼ cup cherry chutney, then add smoked turkey and Gruyère cheese slices.
  9. Top the panini with the remaining bread halves.
  10. Spread the softened butter evenly on the outside of each assembled panini.
  11. Grill the panini in the press or pan until golden brown, about 3–5 minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and slice in half diagonally.
  13. Serve immediately.
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Can I use frozen or canned cherries in this panini recipe?

Feel free to use frozen or canned cherries for making cherry chutney if fresh cherries are not available. We prefer fresh cherries for their deep flavor and firm texture, which can contribute to a more spreadable chutney that holds together well. However, when out of season or not readily accessible, frozen cherries are a convenient alternative. Frozen cherries tend to release more liquid during the cooking process, which may require you to extend the cooking time to achieve the desired chutney consistency, so it carefully.

Canned cherries are another substitute, but make sure you choose those that are packed in water or natural juice rather than heavy syrup to avoid an overly sweet chutney. With canned cherries, drain the cherries thoroughly before using them. Canned cherries may also be softer than fresh, which will affect the texture of the chutney. Make sure you taste the chutney while you're cooking so that it has a balanced flavor and a thick, jam-like consistency.

What other bread besides ciabatta works for a panini?

When making a panini, the choice of bread is important as it needs to withstand the heat of grilling and the moisture of the fillings without becoming soggy. Ciabatta, with its robust crust and porous interior, is an excellent choice for panini, but there are other options that can work just as well. Sourdough bread has a tangy flavor and sturdy texture that can add an extra dimension to your sandwich while providing the necessary structure. Focaccia, another Italian bread, offers a flavorful, herbed alternative with a crisp exterior that grills nicely. You will need to cut it in half vertically rather than use two slices to avoid the bread overwhelming the sandwich.

Alternatively, a crusty French or Italian loaf can also serve as a good substitute. Regardless, when selecting a bread, look for one that has a substantial crust and a firm crumb to ensure that it can hold up to heat and the weight of the smoked turkey and cherry chutney.