I always have this liking for game bird and prefer country chicken over the poultry one, but I have never tried a turkey before. Roasting a whole chicken in the oven has its own gastronomical pleasures, so I started first with Cornish hens which were a huge success and this pushes my limit further to try the turkey next. So when turkey starts appearing at the middle of November (how they are so seasonal ?) announcing the Thanksgiving, Holidays and Christmas season, I decided to take the plunge.
BTW, I spotted few turkeys roaming around in the neighborhood too, where did they come from all of a sudden, is definitely a mystery but where did they headed straight…is an easy guess !!! 🙂
Now, roasting a whole turkey is a huge task, given the gigantic size of the bird and I tremble at the mere thought of carving a whole turkey, and secondly it will be tooooo big for just two people with moderate appetite, so we decided to try the turkey breast instead. Next task was to go on for hunting… a good and genuine recipe and here comes the dependable and sweet Ina Garten of Foodnetwork show, whose recipes simply rocks.
If you are familiar with the term roulade, then you might have known that it requires a stuffing which will be rolled down tightly to give swirl like pattern which looks elegant and highly appetizing, chocolate cream roulade or swiss rolls to name a few. There are many kind of stuffing you can put inside a turkey breast but the one with fruit and nut caught my attention and it is extremely simple to make a good stuffing in no time.
I have used some dried cranberries, some dried figs and pitted prunes along with some walnuts and pine nut mix and celery and onions to go with it. So, first start with the stuffing, combine all the ingredients and add gently sauteed onions and celery (which is must as it gives a nice flavor to the dish) followed by an egg lightly beaten into it and add some breadcrumbs to it.
- Onions (chopped): 1 large
- Celery stalks (chopped) : 1 cup
- Mushrooms (baby bella or porcini) : 1 cup
- Dried Cranberries : ½ cup
- Dried Prunes (pitted): ½ cup
- Dried Figs : ½ cup
- Pine nuts and walnut mix : ½ cup
- Egg (large) : 1
- Rosemary / sage / thyme (chopped): 1 tbsp
- Breadcrumbs : ¾ cup
- Butter : 2btsp
- Cranberry juice or water : ½ cup
- Turkey breast (fresh, not frozen): 4-5 pounds
- Mushroom cranberry stuffing mix : 4-5 cups
- Salt and pepper to season
- Sage, thyme or Rosemary (chopped): 1 tbsp
- Oil for greasing the turkey breast
- Olive oil, lemon and rosemary mix for basting
- Apple cider : 1 cup
- Chicken stock : ½ cup
- Onions (sliced) : 1
- Corn Flour : 1 tbsp
- Rosemary : 1 tsp chopped
- Butter : 1tbsp
- Pan juices
- Heat the butter in a pan and saute the onions, followed by celery and mushrooms till they changes color.
- Add rest of the ingredients, except egg and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Cool off the mixture slightly and beat the egg into it.
- Add the breadcrumbs and mix them really well.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Beat the turkey breast to flatten it and to tenderize it with the help of meat mallet or with the back of a steel ladle and also to even out the thickness of the meat.
- Grease and season the turkey breast inside out with oil, salt and pepper.
- Spread the stuffing evenly over the turkey breast and start rolling the breast from one end, tightly like a jelly roll.
- Tie well the turkey breast with your kitchen twine, so that the stuffing does not oozes out while roasting.
- Baste the turkey breast with seasoned olive oil and tuck it into the oven.
- Keep on basting it with oil after every 15 – 20 minutes.
- Roasting for two hour or until done.
- Heat a pan and melt the butter, add the sliced onions and brown it slightly.
- Add the apple cider along with a tablespoon or more pan juices, chicken stock and bring to boil for approximately 10 minutes.
- Dissolve the cornflour into water or stock and slowly add it to the gravy.
- Cook for another couple of minutes.
- Cool slightly and blend it in a blender.
- Gravy should not be very thick.
If you do not have kitchen twine to tie the turkey, you can use the cheese cloth which I found a great alternative to regular kitchen twine. Just cut the cheese cloth into long strings and tie up the turkey.
The tighter you will roll the turkey breast, the nicer the swirls you will get.
Leave the oven roasted turkey for 15 minutes before set for carving.
Stuffing can be prepared ahead thus reducing the preparation time and increasing the efficiency.
Store the unused portion tightly wrap in a foil and refrigerate for later use.
Open the turkey breast and if it has some rib bones attached to it, then cut it along the bones. I found this very heplful video where a prfessional chef shows how to perfectly debone a turkey breast. Next, beat the turkey breast to even out the thickness, stuffed it with the fruit and nut mix, tightly rolled it and tied it down with kitchen threads or strings, tucked in the oven for good one hour or so and voila…turkey roulade is ready to be served with the gravy and some roasted vegetables as a side.
Go and impress your guest with this awesome and elegant turkey roulade stuffed with dried fruits and nut mix and gather all the accoloades.
This is a very simple but highly flavoured recipe for gravy, you can tweak it as you wish. It just happened that we had some apple cider brought from an apple farm, so I was planning to use it in a recipe, you can use other fruit juices or can absolutely skip it for the more traditional one.
What to do with the leftovers ?
A big question remains after sweating in the kitchen for hours and eating and enjoying the grand dinner, what to do next with the leftovers ? Here are some solutions : if you had any other ideas to use the leftovers. do share with us, we will be happy to put it in our list.
Turkey is very filling as compared to chicken, so it is unlikely that you will finish the turkey breast in one go, so there are many things that you can do with the leftovers.
Leftovers from turkey roulade :
Chopped the turkey along with the fillings into cubes, you can improve the seasonings and stuffings if you wish like adding sweet potatoes to it, reheat with little butter added to it and fill it inside the pie shells to make Turkey pot pie.
Leftover from the mushroom and fruit-nut mix : Make a gratin from it. Grease a ramekin or gratin dish and pour the mixture, if you wish you can use some rolled oats in it.
Leftover gravy : Use it in pasta dishes or in casseroles.
Enjoy your Holidays