Maybe you’re “turkeyed-out” after the Thanksgiving holiday, but not me. I didn’t have the traditional bird on the big day. Instead, I was tempted by too many other offerings at Commander’s Palace, a landmark restaurant in New Orleans. My husband and I spent a few days in New Orleans during the holiday week, visiting relatives and expanding our waistlines. (Those of you who follow me on Instagram saw photos of lots of the food we ate, plus the wacky hats and costumes people wore at the racetrack on turkey day). We ate so many delicious meals at so many wonderful restaurants each day, recommended by my husband’s son and wife, who moved there from New York a couple of years ago.
As much as I love dining out, I also missed the smells and tastes of a good old-fashioned turkey dinner. So after returning home, I restocked at the grocery store yesterday and made a scaled-down version of a Thanksgiving meal for the two of us last night. Instead of a full turkey, I bought a boneless turkey breast and stuffed it with a sausage/dried cherry/pecan stuffing. It was a lot easier to prepare than you’d think (and way easier than cooking a whole turkey) and would make a great meal for company around the Christmas holiday too.
Start out by preparing the stuffing. I used a mixture of bread cubes, cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, dried cherries soaked in rum, toasted pecans, eggs, plus some fresh herbs and spices. If you don’t like dried cherries, use whatever dried fruit you like – cranberries, apricots, or figs for instance.) Don’t like pecans? Then use walnuts, pine nuts or hazelnuts instead.
This is the turkey breast I bought. It was about 1 1/2 pounds and when stuffed, could easily serve four people (maybe five, depending on appetites). Make sure you buy a breast with the skin still attached.
Here’s what it looks like when you flip it around. Obviously, it’s too thick to stuff this, so you have to do a little prep work. It’ll take you only five minutes to complete.
Slice the breast parallel to the counter surface, so that the meat opens like a book. It’s still too thick at this point, so use a mallet (first cover the meat with plastic wrap) and pound it flatter.
This is how mine looked after pounding, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Be mindful that the skin that was on the meat before you started pounding it, will now be on only a small part of the meat after you’ve pounded it. Here you can see it sticking out at the bottom of the meat. So when you start rolling it up, start from the side that doesn’t have the skin.
Spread the filling around the surface and dot with a little bit of butter.
Roll it up, starting with the length of meat that doesn’t have any skin attached to it. You’ll want the skin to end up on the outside, so if you started with rolling up where the skin is, you’ll have the skin inside the meat, which you don’t want. I hope that’s not too confusing.
See, the skin is right where it should be when you flip it over.
Tie it up well with butcher’s string so that it stays together when roasting.
Then season with with salt, pepper, paprika, some thyme and rosemary (the fresh herbs actually burned midway through the roasting, so I’m not sure I’d do that again). Scatter some onions all around, then pour in some white wine (I would have added some chicken broth too, but I didn’t have any). Drizzle some olive oil over the onions and the meat and roast at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 150 degrees. Actually, when the thermometer reads 140-145 degrees, take it out, since it needs to rest about ten minutes and the temperature will continue to rise a bit when it’s resting.
Remove the twine and slice.
Enjoy! Happy Belated Thanksgiving. Hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends.
Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).
- 1 boneless turkey breast, with skin on (about 1½ pounds)
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- rum, to cover the cherries
- ½ cup toasted pecans
- 1 link of Italian sausage
- about ½ cup diced onion
- ¼ cup diced celery
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups bread cubes
- about 4 tablespoons melted butter
- salt, pepper
- fresh sage and parsley, minced
- 2 onions, cut in large chunks
- olive oil to drizzle
- 1 cup white wine, or chicken broth, or a combination of the two
- Start by soaking the dried cherries in rum.
- Melt one tablespoon butter in a sauce pan and add the onions and celery.
- Sauté until wilted, then add the sausage and crumble with a spoon.
- When sausage is fully cooked, add it and the onions to a bowl.
- Drain the cherries from the rum and discard the liquid.
- To the bowl with the sausage, onions and celery, add the cherries, the bread cubes, the eggs, the toasted pecans and seasonings.
- Melt the remaining butter and add to the bowl and mix well.
- Slice the turkey breast open like a "book."
- Using a mallet, pound it flatter, using plastic wrap to protect the meat.
- Spread the stuffing over the meat , adding a couple of pats of butter.
- Roll up the meat, making sure you end up with the skin on the outside.
- Tied it with butcher's string to hold everything in place.
- Place in a roasting pan and roast at 400 degrees for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a thermometer reads about 140 - 145 degrees.
- The temperature will continue to rise for a short while and should reach 150 degrees.
- Let the meat rest, covered with aluminum foil, for at least ten minutes.
- Slice and serve.