Are you in Thanksgiving menu planning mode already? I’m not quite yet, but that’s okay! Our Thanksgiving menu stays pretty much the same year after year. We always, always, always, have Turkey and Southern Cornbread Dressing. Always. It’s the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving meal and I sometimes think certain family members would swoon and fall over in a faint if I, for some unknown reason, didn’t make dressing. You can’t have Thanksgiving here without dressing. And Polly’s Pink Stuff and Southern Butterbeans and Sweet Potato Casserole. You just can’t.
Even though there are certain dishes that are set in stone, I always try to add in a few new ones for us to try each year. It’s usually side dishes, but every once in a while I offer a choice for the entree. I think I just might slip this Stuffed Turkey Breast onto the table. It would be a nice surprise and a bit of a change for everyone. If you’re coming to my house for Thanksgiving, don’t start hyperventilating…this will be in addition to the usual turkey and dressing. Y’all can take a deep breath now :-)
I’ve seen this technique demonstrated several times and every time I watched I thought – “Wow, that looks good. I should make that!” And so I did. I made up my own stuffing recipe but used the usual technique for rolling and prepping the turkey breast itself. It’s a half breast that is butterflied and pounded somewhat flat then filled with a delicious stuffing containing Italian bread, onions, shallots, dried cranberries, Italian sausage, pine nuts, and parsley. The rolled breast (technically, a roulade) is encased in the reserved turkey skin, wrapped in cheesecloth, and slathered in butter. The result? Very delicious if I do say so myself.
This is a great alternative to the usual roast turkey and is perfect for a small gathering since it serves 4 to 6.
Start by making the stuffing. Cut the bread into cubes, removing the crust. In a 400 degree oven, lightly toast the bread cubes. Set aside to cool while you proceed with the stuffing.
Prepare the shallot and celery. Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and celery, lightly salt and pepper, and saute until the shallot is translucent.
Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or potato masher, until no pink remains.
Add the cranberries, thyme, and broth. Continue cooking for an additional minute or two, scraping up any cooked on bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the toasted bread and stir until all bread is moistened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and chopped parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and add a bit more if needed.
Allow the stuffing to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Stuff the breast: Using a very sharp, thin bladed knife and your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breast (or ask your grocery store butcher to do it for you). Set the skin aside and save it for later. Turn the breast with the original skin side down. If necessary, butterfly the thicker areas to get an even thickness throughout. Pound the breast out with a meat mallet until it is about 1/2” thick. Sprinkle the inside generously with salt and pepper.
Spread the cooled stuffing over the pounded turkey breast.
Roll the breast to enclose the stuffing. Place the reserved skin over the seam edge of the rolled turkey breast.
Wrap the entire breast in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Tie each end with kitchen twine. Tie additional twine in three or four places down the length of the roll. Tuck the ends under the package. Rub the softened butter over the entire rolled turkey breast making sure to cover all surfaces.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. Internal temperature should increase to 165 degrees.
When ready to serve, remove the cheesecloth and twine. Slice crosswise into approximately 1” pieces.
More stuffed turkey breast recipes you might enjoy:
- Rolled Turkey Breast with Cranberry Couscous Stuffing from Fig & Cherry
- Rolled Turkey Breast Stuffed with Swiss Chard and Garlic from Chick in the Kitchen
- Stuffed Roast Turkey Breast from Simply Recipes
- Holiday Stuffed Turkey Breast Roulade from Eating Richly