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Turkey Roulade with Apple-Cider Gravy

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Serves 6

This golden brown turkey breast, excerpted from the cookbook The Food You Crave, has a moist pecan-and-cranberry-studded stuffing rolled inside. Relish in the “oohs” and “aahhs” as you reveal the beautiful spiral intertwining of tender turkey and savory stuffing.

For more turkey recipes visit The Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner.

  • One 2-1/2-pound boneless turkey breast half, skin removed and butterflied
  • 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 slices day-old whole-wheat bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1-1/2 cups), plus 1 cup onion thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 3 teaspoons dried, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Kitchen twine

Place the turkey breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet to an even thickness of about 3/4 inch. Set aside while you prepare the stuffing.

Toast the pecans in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes; set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Place the cranberries in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat, drain, and set aside. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until golden but not blackened, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bread, cranberries, pecans, 2 tablespoons of the fresh or 2 teaspoons of the dried sage, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the broth, depending upon the consistency of the stuffing (you want the mixture to be moistened, but not too wet, since the turkey will release moisture when cooked). Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. 

Sprinkle the salt and pepper over both sides of the turkey breast. Spread the stuffing over one side of the turkey, leaving about 1-1/2 to 2 inches uncovered on all sides. Roll up and secure tightly with kitchen twine, trying to keep all the stuffing intact.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven or medium roasting pan over medium heat until hot. Sear the stuffed turkey breast on all sides until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Sprinkle the sliced onion around the turkey, pour in 1-1/2 cups of the broth, cover tightly and roast in the oven until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°F, 60 to 65 minutes. Remove the turkey breast from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while you make the gravy.

Add the cider, 1/2 cup of the broth, the vinegar, and the remaining 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried sage to the roasting pan, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes more. The gravy should not be thick, just slightly thicker than a jus. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Remove the twine from the turkey breast and cut into 1-1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with the gravy on the side in a gravy boat.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 400; Fat (g): 12; Fat Calories (kcal): 108; Saturated Fat (g): 1.5; Protein (g): 50; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 24; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 371; Cholesterol (mg): 117; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer

I was considering this recipe as an alternative to cooking a whole turkey on Thanksgiving, so I gave it a try and it was delicious. I brined the turkey breast for about an hour and then followed the recipe exactly. It was relatively simple to make (once I figured out how to finish butterflying the turkey breast) and the stuffing and "gravy" were delicious without being too sweet. I didn't have fresh sage (only dried), which I think might have imparted a slightly richer flavor. Could easily make two roulades for a medium-sized Thanksgiving gathering (and I prepped mine and kept it in the fridge until I was ready to brown it and put it in the oven). I think that the cooking time could have been slightly less, as turkey is easy to overcook.

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