Some will consider it sacrilege for me to suggest there is anything to have on Thanksgiving other than a traditional turkey. I hear you, and plan to have one at our house, but Thanksgiving is taking on new traditions that warrant consideration of a different option. Couples and even singles may not want a full turkey. Not everyone loves pounds of leftover turkey meat. Pot Lucks and ‘Friendsgiving’ gatherings break down the load of a traditional dinner between many people, which also opens the doors for creative options.
Today I’m sharing a heavenly main dish idea perfect for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, holiday entertaining or just changing dinner up a bit when you have a bit of time: Turkey Roulade with Apple-Cranberry Stuffing in a Bacon Weave. If you aren’t familiar with it, a turkey roulade is a deboned, butterflied turkey breast, pounded to an even thickness, lined with stuffing and rolled into round, usually tied with twine and roasted. When the roulade is done, horizontal slices are taken with turkey and stuffing as one. When it is cut, elegant and unexpected spiral slices are revealed. They are so eye-catching on the plate and really combine two holiday meal favorites into one!
For summer readers of Boulder Locavore, you’ll recall I stepped up the grilling recipes and fell in love with the bacon weave. It looks fantastic and is not difficult to make once you have the hang of it. Strips of bacon are laid out horizontally with additional strips woven through, making a pork mat. Both for flavor and appearance, I love to use it when I can. When applied to the roulade, an additional layer of flavor is added, as well as it helps to keeping the turkey sealed and moist. The method I’m sharing today also provides the roulade does not need to be tied; rather, it stays neatly together being wrapped in parchment paper and foil.
Usually my M.O. is to serve up simple recipes with big flavor. However there are times where a bit more time yields an end result that’s worth the extra time taken. That is definitely the case with a roulade. The recipe is prepared in steps starting with making the stuffing in a skillet, creating the bacon weave, stuffing the turkey breast and rolling it all together to cook. The cooking time is low and slow requiring about 1 ½ hours plus 5 minutes to crisp up the bacon under the broiler. It’s a unique dish that won’t soon be forgotten and lets your diners know you care. So don’t be afraid by the length of the recipes; I promise it’s worth it!
Turkey Roulade with Apple-Cranberry Stuffing in a Bacon Weave
Ingredients for Apple-Cranberry Stuffing:
- ¼ cup Orange Juice
- ½ cup Sweetened Dried Cranberries
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- ½ medium Yellow Onion , peeled and finely chopped
- 1 ½ large Celery Stalks , finely chopped
- 1 large Garlic Clove , minced
- ½ large Granny Smith Apple , peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh Thyme leaves , diced
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh Sage leaves , diced
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian Parsley leaves , diced
- ½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs (I used Ian’s Gluten-Free Panko Crumbs)
- ¼-½ cup Chicken Broth* (see Notes below)
- 1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
Ingredients for the Roulade:
- 1 full Turkey Breast , skinless, deboned and butterflied (6-8 pound breast before removing skin and bone; net weight of the skinless, boneless breast should be 1 ½ to 2 pounds)
- 1 package thick center-cut Smoked Bacon
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
- Parchment paper
- Heavy duty Foil
Instructions for making the Apple-Cranberry Stuffing:
- Microwave the orange juice for 20 seconds on High (or until it is very warm). Combine the orange juice and dried cranberries in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, combine the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted add the onion and celery and sauté until softened and onions are translucent (3-4 minutes).
- Add the garlic and apple; sauté and additional 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and pour the orange juice and cranberries into the skillet. Using a stir together scrapping any browned bits from the skillet into the mixture.
- Add the thyme, sage, parsley, panko crumbs, 1/2 cup chicken broth (if making it gluten-free), salt and pepper to the mixture and stir to fully combine. NOTE for those making this WITH gluten with actual panko crumbs: the absorbency of wheat panko crumbs and gluten-free panko crumbs may vary. If making this with wheat panko crumbs, start with ¼ cup chicken broth. The stuffing when combined should be wet, not soupy and not just moist. If after adding ¼ cup the mixture seems to need more moisture, add more broth 1 tablespoon at a time.
Instructions for making the stuffed Turkey Roulade and Bacon Weave:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Equip a baking sheet with an oven proof rack (for cooking or cooling baked goods).
- Place a piece of parchment paper (12 ½ inches by 16 inches; standard baking sheet size) on top of a larger piece of heavy duty foil. Construct a 6 slice by 6 slice Bacon Weave on the parchment paper.
- Cover the bacon weave with a large piece of plastic wrap and using a rolling pin roll the bacon mat so it is a uniform thickness, and all slices touch without any gaps. Do not over roll as thin bacon can break. The mat will be much larger than before rolling it. Set aside to assemble the turkey roulade.
- Cover a hard work surface (counter top or large cutting board) with a piece of plastic wrap larger than the turkey breast and place the turkey breast on the plastic wrap. Using a flat meat tenderizer or a rolling pin, gently pound the turkey breast to a ½ inch thickness. The uniform thickness allows consistent cooking of the roulade.
- Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon salt and ½ pepper evenly over the exposed side of the turkey breast. Spoon the stuffing onto the turkey breast and spread it evenly, leaving a ¾ inches (approximate) of the turkey breast exposed between the edge of the stuffing and edge of the turkey breast all around the stuffing.
- Starting on one of the long sides of the turkey breast, gently roll the breast over the stuffing until the stuffing is fully enclosed.
- Gently lift the rolled breast onto one edge of the bacon weave. Using the parchment paper underneath the bacon, roll the bacon and the turkey breast onto the bacon weave, being careful to not roll the parchment into the bacon covered turkey breast. Should the bacon weave not fully cover the ends of the roulade, wrap an additional piece of bacon around each end, tucking the end of the roulade inside. Refer to photo below.
- Twist the ends of the parchment to seal the roulade. Wrap the foil underneath the parchment paper around the whole assembly and crimp the ends closed. It will look like a large sausage!
- Place the sealed roulade onto the prepared backing sheet and place it into the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes until the internal temperature (the inside middle of the roulade) registers 155 degrees F. Notes on taking the temperature: temperature can be taken by inserting an instant read thermometer through the foil and parchment; do not unwrap the roulade. Test in a few places for an accurate reading.
- When the roulade has reached in internal temperature of 155 degrees F, slit open the top foil and parchment being careful not to slice the bacon weave (kitchen scissors are great for this). Peel back the parchment and foil to full expose the roulade (it is not necessary to remove the roulade from the cooking rack to do this). Poke holes in the foil abound the base of the roulade to allow any rendered bacon fat to drip into the pan below.
- Leaving the roulade in the middle of the oven, turn the Broiler on High and allow the bacon to crisp up (it will be fully cooked at this point but will not have browned); approximately 5 minutes (refer to photo). Remove the roulade and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- Cut 1/2 inch slices horizontally to serve.