There are likely to be some empty seats around your Thanksgiving table this year, or even a computer at the head with your family members joining via Zoom. Health officials have urged people not to gather in large groups or travel for the holidays in hopes of curbing the spread of COVID-19. That means you are likely cooking for a smaller group than usual this year. But even if many of us are scaling back our menus for the holiday feast, it doesn't mean you have to skimp on the flavor or flair.
One way to reduce the amount of food on your table is to opt for a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. You can brine the breast and slather it with an herb compound butter to try to keep it moist, but there's something a little ho-hum about a turkey breast, especially for such a festive occasion. However, remove that bone (or buy it boneless), butterfly the meat, stuff and rub it with flavorful ingredients, roll it up, secure with string and roast, and you have an elegant, delicious and impressive main dish for the table that doesn't stray too far from tradition.
A turkey roulade is surprising easy, super flavorful, and you don't need a lesson in how to carve it. Keep your traditional sides of mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce to go with it, if you like. Or, switch things up with some different sides I'll tell you about below. Either way, this turkey roulade is the perfect choice for this year's showstopper.
If you don't like the ingredients we feature in our recipe, substitute for the flavors that you are craving this Thanksgiving or perhaps remind you of home. Fennel, garlic and rosemary transforms this to an Italian-style dish that will remind you of Porchetta. Fill it with Cojita cheese, cilantro and green chiles for a Southwestern dish. You could even stuff your bird with sausage and cornbread and skip the stuffing this year. The flavor combinations are endless!
Turkey Roulade Stuffed with Prosciutto, Sage and Dried Cranberries
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Active time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 20 minutes
One 2 1/2- to 3-pound turkey breast half, skin on, boneless and butterflied
Your favorite salt and/or spice rub to taste
1/2 pound prosciutto, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, rough chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, rough chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Lay the butterflied turkey breast, skin side down, on a piece of parchment paper. Lay another piece of parchment paper on top of the breast. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the breast out so it's uniform in thickness.
2. Using a sharp slicing or chef's knife, lightly score the inside of the breast.
3. Generously season the inside of the turkey with the salt and/or spice rub.
4. In a small bowl, toss together the prosciutto, sage and cranberries.
5. Evenly spread this mixture on the inside of the turkey.
6. Roll the breast up tightly and secure with kitchen twine. Note: the roulade can be refrigerated overnight.
7. Preheat the oven to 350°.
8. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add the grapeseed oil.
9. Season the outside of the roulade with additional salt and/or spice rub. Sear in the hot pan until golden brown on all sides. Note: save this pan to make the pan sauce.
10. Transfer the roulade to a rack set over a roasting pan or sheet tray, and cook until the internal temperature reads 155° on an instant-read thermometer. Allow to rest on a cutting board with a juice groove for about 10 minutes.
11. While the turkey is roasting and resting, prepare the pan sauce. Wipe clean any remaining fat from the sauté pan. Set over medium heat, and add the butter. Once the butter is fully melted, whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
12. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping free any browned bits of fond from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by half.
13. Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from the heat, and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Remove the twine, cut the roulade into 1/2-inch-thich slices and serve with the pan sauce.
Executive Lisa Counts demonstrated how to make this turkey roulade as well as Scalloped Potatoes and Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples. These dishes would make for an elegant meal for Thanksgiving and won't leave you with leftovers for days.
We don't typically share recordings of our virtual classes, but I'm making an exception so that you have all of the knowledge you need to have a successful holiday meal. Watch the virtual class here:
If you are looking for a more traditional meal, our Thanksgiving Survival Guide has a menu full of time-tested recipes that we have been teaching home cooks for over twenty years, including:
- Herbed Roast Turkey
- Sage Stuffing
- Mashed Potatoes
- Turkey Gravy
- Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Maple Mustard Glaze
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Corn & Bacon Pudding
- Cranberry Tangerine Sauce
- Buttery Dinner Rolls
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pie Dough
Whatever you decide to cook this year, take a moment and really give thanks for what you have. When I lived in Chicago, my friends and I would go around the table at Thanksgiving to say what we were thankful for each year. I know this could be a difficult year to do that, but there should always be something to cheers about at Thanksgiving, even if it happens virtually. Happy Thanksgiving!