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Dried Apricot & Date Stuffed Turkey Breast with Marsala Glaze

By Tom Douglas From Moveable Feast Season 49, Ep.81
From the 2017 Thanksgiving Guide
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Servings: 4 or 2 with leftovers

A boneless turkey breast stuffed with sweet, nutty flavors is perfect for Sunday dinner or even special enough for a small Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. If you buy a boneless half turkey breast, it will probably be skinless. You may see bone-in, skin-on breasts as well; either ask your butcher to bone it for you, or bone it yourself.


For the stuffing:

  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped dried dates
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 3 Tbs. toasted and chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the turkey breast:

  • 1 boneless, skinless or skin-on turkey breast half (1-3/4 to 2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices thick-sliced bacon (about 3 oz.)
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups sweet Marsala wine

Nutritional Information

      Nutritional Sample Size based for four servings
      Calories (kcal) : 540
      Fat Calories (kcal): 120
      Fat (g): 14
      Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
      Cholesterol (mg): 140
      Sodium (mg): 590
      Carbohydrates (g): 31
      Fiber (g): 2
      Protein (g): 50


Make the stuffing:

  • Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Put the dates and apricots in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the hazelnuts, parsley, sage, and reserved onions and pulse a few more times until everything is minced and well combined. Transfer to a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Prepare the turkey breast:

  • Heat the oven to 350ºF. Put the turkey breast on a cutting board and, holding your knife parallel to the work surface, slice open the turkey breast horizontally, working from the thicker side of the lobe to the thinner side and not cutting all the way through.

  • Open the turkey breast like a book and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing evenly over half the opened turkey breast, leaving a little border around the outer edges. Fold the other half of the turkey breast over the stuffing, enclosing the stuffing as much as possible.

  • Lay the bacon lengthwise on top of the turkey breast and tie the breast crosswise with kitchen string in four or five places to hold it all together.

  • Season the turkey on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Beginning with the bacon side down, sear the turkey breast on both sides until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven (the turkey should be bacon side up) and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the turkey breast, return to the oven, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast reads 165ºF, 20 to 30 minutes more.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the turkey to a large plate and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for about 10 minutes.

Make the marsala glaze

  • Pour off the fat from the skillet and discard any lumps of stuffing that may  have fallen out of the turkey and burned. Put the skillet over medium-high heat, pour the Marsala in the skillet, and bring it to a boil, stirring with a wooden spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add to the pan any juices that have collected around the turkey while resting on the plate. Continue boiling until the Marsala is reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the strings from the turkey. Slice the turkey crosswise into 1/2-inch slices and arrange the slices on a serving platter. Pour the Marsala glaze into a small bowl and pass with the turkey.

Serve with Green Beans with Toasted Slivered Almonds or Smashed Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives.

Try a fruity white with crisp acidity such as a Pinot Gris. The A to Z Pinot Gris or the Elk Cove Pinot Gris, both from Oregon, are good options.


Rate or Review


  • bellaginger | 12/22/2012

    I combined this recipe with the one on Martha Stewart's website. After stuffing & rolling I wrapped it in cheesecloth and spread butter all over it. Tied it up and baked in the oven at 400. Done in 45 minutes. Huge hit!! Delicious and pretty!

  • mattsatt | 11/08/2010

    The other reviewers are right about the Marsala glaze, it really makes the dish. But one thing I noticed was that cooking down the Marsala really concentrates it, bringing out every nuance in the wine--so make sure you use a good quality wine. As far as the stuffing and the cooking method, probably the best roast turkey recipe I've ever tried.

  • polly13 | 01/26/2010

    I don't usually like turkey but this was amazing. Very easy to make and looks really elegant when served. Will make again!

  • cookrookie | 01/04/2010

    The marsala glaze totally made this dish, all of the guests raved about the hint of sweetness that it provided. Mind you, it didn't smell all that good while reducing, but it turned out great. Suggestion is to make the turkey ahead as it was quite time consuming for me to butterfly it, stuff it, and wrap it and I'm glad I got it all out of the way before company arrived

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