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Turkey Roulades with Fontina and Sage

Scott Phillips

Servings: 8 to 10

This impressive main course has a few steps to it, but you can assemble the roulades ahead; they cook quickly and are a dream to carve. Plus, they pack an exciting flavor punch with their cheesy, herby, garlicky filling. Fennel pollen adds a lovely floral note, but if you don’t have it, ground fennel will do the trick. Don’t miss our step-by-step video on how to assemble the roulade.


For the brine and turkey

  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 7/8 oz. kosher salt (2 Tbs. Diamond Crystal or 1-1/2 Tbs. Morton)
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 1-1/2-lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast halves

For the roulades

  • 1/3 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. fennel pollen or ground fennel
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz. fontina, grated (2 cups)
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

For the jus

  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 390
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 190
  • Fat (g): 21
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 140
  • Sodium (mg): 760
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 44


Brine the turkey

  • Combine the sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, and 4 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Transfer to a large nonreactive container or bowl and let cool to room temperature. Put the turkey in the brine, adding up to 4 cups water, if necessary, to just cover the turkey. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.

Assemble the roulades

  • In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, sage, and fennel pollen.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine, brush off any spices, and pat dry. Put each breast skin side down between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet (or a heavy skillet), pound each into a 9×10-inch rectangle that’s an even 1/2 inch thick 2 . Remove the top piece of plastic. Evenly sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the two cutlets, then sprinkle with the fontina. Fold in the longer sides of each cutlet by 1/2 inch. Then, starting at a short end, tightly roll up each cutlet into a compact roulade.
  • Arrange half of the bacon slices (about 10) on a clean large sheet of plastic wrap, overlapping each slice lengthwise so it covers about one third of the slice below it; you want the width of the bacon slices to be the same length as the roulade. Set one of the roulades in the center of the bacon slices, perpendicular to the slices and seam side up. Using the plastic, wrap the bacon up and around one side of the roulade. Repeat with the other side. The bacon should meet or overlap at the ends; if it doesn’t, stretch the bacon slices until they meet. Secure the ends of the bacon with 2 or 3 toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining bacon and roulade.

Roast the roulades

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
  • Heat the oil in a medium flameproof roasting pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot.
  • Put the roulades in the pan seam side up, turn the heat down to medium, and cook, undisturbed, until the edges of the bacon strips are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes; the bacon will not be crisp at this point. Using tongs, turn the roulades and cook for 1 minute more per side to lightly color the bacon, finishing with the roulades seam side down.
  • Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each roulade registers 165°F, about 35 minutes. Transfer the roulades to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour before slicing.

Make the jus

  • Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a fat separator and let the fat rise to the top. Return 1 Tbs. of the fat to the roasting pan; discard the remaining fat and reserve the defatted drippings.
  • Set the roasting pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbs. of the butter, the shallots, and sage. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Lightly season with pepper, then add the broth, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved drippings, 1 Tbs. at a time, until the jus has a full, rich flavor. Bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining 3 Tbs. butter, one piece at a time, whisking until the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Season to taste with more lemon juice, pepper, or salt.


  • Remove the toothpicks from the roulades, slice, and serve with the jus.

Make Ahead Tips

The roulades can be assembled, wrapped in bacon, then covered in plastic and refrigerated for up to 12 hours before cooking.


Rate or Review

Reviews (9 reviews)

  • curlygirllife | 01/02/2017

    This was not a recipe I was excited about primarily because I don't like bacon. Let's just say this was one of the best recipes out there! If you haven't made it, do it! It will impress your guests.

  • N2Swaynes | 12/21/2014

    As others have mentioned, it's a bit labor intensive, but in my opinion a nice change of pace for turkey. Once I was able to find a skinless, boneless turkey lobe, it proved that that was the most difficult part of the recipe. I most liked that a) I could watch the video for additional clues, and b) that I was able to stage the recipe over several days. No problem stretching the bacon to cover the roll, and no problem (using sturdy, sort of longish, tooth picks) securing the bacon in position. (For a Jewish friend I used turkey bacon on one of the rolls, pork bacon on the others.) I feel the work put into the meal was worth what I got out of it.

  • mamalatte | 11/27/2014

    A truly tasty end product, but production is flawed. I practiced making the roulade when the issue first came out and couldn't get it to hold together with the bacon wrap...watched the video and saw what I might have done wrong, then tried again for Thanksgiving. Still, attaching the bacon with toothpicks proved impossible. I found another technique (first encasing the roll in parchment and then in aluminum foil) to be more successful, although the bacon isn't crispy because I didn't brown it first.

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