Photo Credit: Christopher Simpson, The New York Times, 2020.
Lately, most home cooks have been looking for alternatives to cooking whole turkey, for the upcoming holidays, especially in the middle of the pandemic. This recipe adapted from Ina Garten provides an elegant presentation of a turkey roulade without having to deal with the left over meat in cooking a traditional turkey. The recipe included fennel seeds, and if you don’t like the taste of fennel seeds, you can surely leave them out. The garlic, sage and rosemary that are also used in this recipe will give this roast the flavors of an Italian porchetta, and it will still be fragrant, juicy and delicious without them.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
New York Times, 2020
Serves 8 to 10
4 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
¾ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves, plus 4 whole sage leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 whole butterflied boneless, skin-on turkey breast (about 4 to 5 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 cup dry white wine, such as Chablis (See Cook’s Notes)
The day before, set the turkey breast on a cutting board, skin side down. Using a meat mallet, pound out the turkey to an even thickness of about 1 inch, and salt generously (dry brine). Place on a plate , cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator over night.
The following day, heat the oven to 350° F.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel seeds and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the chopped sage and the rosemary; set aside to cool.
Before filling, remove the skin in one piece and set aside. Sprinkle the turkey with 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Once the onion mixture has cooled, spread it evenly on the meat. Grate the butter and sprinkle it on top. Arrange the prosciutto on top, to totally cover the filling and meat.
Starting at one long end of the turkey breast, roll the meat up jelly-roll style to make a compact cylindrical roulade, ending with the seam side down. Arrange the skin over the turkey roulade. This way it’s all crispy skin on the outside and no soft flabby skin rolled up inside. Tie the roulade tightly with kitchen twine at 2 to 2 1/2-inch intervals to ensure that it will roast evenly. Slip the whole sage leaves under the twine down the center of the roulade.
Place the roulade, seam side down, in a roasting pan and pat the skin dry with paper towels. Brush the skin with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour the wine and 1 cup water into the roasting pan, surrounding the turkey with the liquids without pouring them directly over the roulade. Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature is 150 °F.
Remove from the oven, cover the turkey with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the string, slice the roulade crosswise in 1/2-inch-thick slices, and serve warm with the pan juices.
If you prefer, you can substitute 1 ¼ cups of chicken broth for the wine.
Also note that you can add a handful of fresh spinach to the filling, which will enhance the flavor profile of this dish.
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