turkey-feature
Photo by Jim Norton

Celebrate Thanksgiving in style with a stuffed turkey roll for two

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This article was originally published in the fall 2014 issue of Cottage Life, available on newsstands now.

The kids aren’t around and the relatives have other plans. Hooray! It’s time for a low-key cottage Thanksgiving, just the two of you. A traditional dinner, yes, but on a smaller scale. A skin-on turkey breast, stuffed and rolled, is just right for two to four. You can have your friendly butcher debone and butterfly it, do it yourself, or roast the breast, bone in, and cook the stuffing in a casserole on the side. Easy.

Stuffed turkey roll

  • 1 skin-on, bone-in turkey breast (about 3 lbs/1.5 kg)
  • Quick Herb Stuffing
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning (15 ml)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Using a sharp, slender boning knife, release skin from breast; set skin aside.

2. If your butcher hasn’t done so, cut turkey breast from bone and butterfly it. With a mallet, pound flesh between waxed paper into an even layer about ½” (1 cm) thick.  Spread stuffing overtop, leaving a border of about ¾” (2 cm) all around. Tightly roll breast lengthwise. Place roll seam-side down, wrap it in the skin, and tie with butcher’s string. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. (Tip: I rarely use jarred spice blends, but I do prefer PC Blue Menu Lemon & Herb Seasoning Blend to ordinary poultry seasoning.)

3. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Set roll on a rack in a roasting pan; roast for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 300°F (150°C) and continue roasting for 50–60 minutes more. Test with a digital thermometer; remove from oven when internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C). Loosely tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Deglaze roasting pan with ½ cup (125 ml) port, Madeira, or red wine and use this liquid in the gravy

Turkey gravy

Turkey breast is lean, but you can still make flavourful gravy without a lot of drippings and fat. Start with 4–6 cups (1–1.5 L) homemade or store-bought turkey stock (or chicken stock in a pinch). Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp (30 ml) flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the roux is a light caramel colour. Whisk in reduced stock. Stir until smooth and thickened. Add the deglazing liquid from the pan (see “stuffed turkey roll” recipe). Season to taste.

Quick herb stuffing

In a bowl, mix 1 cup (250 ml) fresh bread crumbs, ¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped shallots or green onions, ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley, 2 tsp (10 ml) fresh thyme or 1 tsp (5 ml) poultry seasoning, ½ tsp (2 ml) each paprika and salt, and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter in ¼ cup (60 ml) turkey stock. Pour over the bread-crumb mixture and toss to combine. The stuffing should be just moist enough that it sticks together; add more stock if necessary.