I am hoping everyone out there had as festive a holiday dining season as my family did. These are the couple of weeks of the year where you should let your guard down – go ahead and use that heavy cream that makes the potatoes so much creamier. Butter rather than olive oil, yes please. Sweets after lunch and dinner? You don’t have to twist my arm.
And since there are still two more holidays meals to celebrate, why stop just yet. There will be time to exercise off the excess pounds we may have all gained in January, so maybe I will offer you a healthier recipe next time. But for this week, I want to share a meal I made on Christmas Eve that turned out perfectly and was a huge hit with my family and friends.
I was a little nervous trying something new for such an important meal, but I don’t let fear stop me from experimenting, and nor should you. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t turn out perfectly, and in that case, it’s not your last meal, so who cares.
I made a stuffing I loved at Thanksgiving and decided to prepare a turkey roulade with the same stuffing. I ordered two fairly expensive turkey breasts from Pearl Street Market and had them prepare the meat perfectly for me. It was well-worth the $90, as it turned into the most moist turkey I have ever made or even had.
I watched an Ina Garden video about how to roll a roulade, which I wasn’t that worried about trying anyway. The main thing I learned was not to over stuff the stuffing layer. I needed a second set of hands to help me tie the roll together with twine and once that was done, rolled the meat seam-side down in a roasting pan.
I roasted the meat at 325 F until it was just done (150 F inside using a meat thermometer). Test it in a couple of places, and I hate to give this advice but err on the side of undercooking it as it continues to cook for at least ten minutes after you take it out of the oven. This was the scariest part for me as mine cooked much quicker than it technically should have if you go by minutes per pound. The only way to mess this up is to over or under cook it, so use a thermometer and take it out right before you technically should.
If you have the skin removed from the meat, which I did, the cooked meat will look a little boring. Don’t worry. You are slicing it and covering it with a sauce so it will be pretty as a prepared dish.
Hope you enjoy this as much as we did. It was a decadent holiday treat.
- Turkey breast, deboned, butterflied and pounded into a thin layer
- 1 stick of salted butter, softened
- Kitchen twine
- Cider vinegar sauce (recipe to follow)
- CIDER GRAVY:
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1.5 teaspoons all purpose flour
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- fresh thyme
- FRENCH-STYLE STUFFING:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- ½ cup carrots, chopped
- ½ cup onions, chopped
- 1 green apple, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 pounds high quality spicy turkey sausage (or chicken apple)
- 1 1/2 bag of Pepperidge Farm cubed herb seasoned stuffing (about 18 ounces)
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup good port wine
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- The easiest way to get a turkey breast into the form you need it is to ask a butcher to prepare it in advance for you. If that is not an option, you can carefully cut the raw meat from the bone, butterfly the breast, spread it out between plastic wrap and pound it until it is in a thin rectangular shaped layer. I ordered mine ahead from Pearl Street Market, and it was very well prepared and easy for me to roll the roulade.
- For the stuffing: Melt butter and olive oil in heavy cast iron pot. Sauté shallot, celery, carrots, onion and apple until soft, but not brown. Add sausage, and mix well while crushing apart the sausage and cooking on medium to high heat. Cook thoroughly. Add cubed stuffing, mix well. Moisten the mixture with cream, mix well. Add chestnuts, and stir well. Add the port wine and flat leaf parsley and season with salt and pepper. Cook a bit more while stirring. Stuff in turkey, or put in a separate glass dish to bake. Place the turkey onto a smooth surface and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. Rub a generous amount of softened butter onto the surface. Add a ½ inch thick layer of stuffing to the meat. Carefully roll the turkey into a log-like shape and bind it with kitchen twine in about four, equally spaced increments.Butter and salt and pepper the outside of the meat and cook it seam-side down in a roasting pan on 325 degrees until it is done. Rest the meat for at least 10 minutes before you cut it. Baste the turkey meat with the pan juices while it rests.Cut into slices, lay in a dish and drizzle it with a generous amount of the cider gravy. Sprinkle additional thyme leaves for color.
- Whisk the cold stock and flour together until it is smooth. Place the mixture into a small saucepan and add the vinegar, salt and pepper (to taste). Bring to a slow boil and simmer until it has reduced by about half. Turn the heat to low and stir in the heavy cream, cook for about 3 more minutes on low. Add fresh thyme to taste.