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When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’ve traditionally been in the “stay with what I know” crowd, recreating those staple dishes we’ve always had as a family. Sometimes that’s great, but at other times it can be nice to switch things up.
Now, before you pummel me with pan juices, put those basters down! I’m not going to compel you to change your menu, but sometimes a gentle refresh is needed or you may need more turkey than one roasted bird will offer. This turkey roulade may be just the answer this Thanksgiving!
What is a roulade?
The word “roulade” can refer to either a sweet dish or a meat dish. This recipe refers to the latter. A simple filling full of flavor is sautéed and then added on top of a flattened turkey breast. The breast is then rolled up and tied together with string to keep the shape while baking. Once baked and sliced, each piece proudly displays a ribbon of the filling mixed with the meat. Together, it becomes the perfect marriage of juicy turkey breast and well-seasoned filling.
A roulade is easier than it looks! But there are a few tips that will help to keep things flowing smoothly on Thanksgiving day:
- Cook the filling a day before and have it in the refrigerator all ready to go.
- Butterfly and press the turkey breast the day before.
- Assemble up to four hours before roasting and store in the refrigerator.
- Have the strings pre-cut to make the rolling go smoothly.
- Ensure that no turkey skin is rolled into the roulade. Any skin that is roasted in the interior of the roulade will be soggy and will not be crisp like the outer skin.
Why make a roulade instead of just roasting a turkey breast?
It’s all about the filling! It adds so much flavor to the meat itself so including it makes the entire turkey that much better. Instead of a traditional filling made from bread, this kale stuffing is full of fresh, bright flavor. And the bacon adds a subtle smoky flavor. The bacon grease from cooking the bacon is used to sauté the onion, garlic, and herbs. The kale is cooked down to become softened. Parmesan cheese adds a well-rounded depth of flavor to finish the filling.
Once it’s rolled into the breast and roasted, the result is a filling that complements the meat as opposed to overpowering it.
This has become the first meat to disappear from my family’s Thanksgiving table. And if you don’t want to make a whole bird, this will be a great alternative. We’ll just leave the traditionalists to their own meals!
Other Thanksgiving dishes you may like
- Twice baked sweet potatoes would be such a great addition to the flavor profile of this turkey roulade!
- My mom’s butterhorns recipe can’t
- If you’re ready for dessert, then you need my pecan pie recipe!
Watch how to make this turkey roulade
Turkey Roulade with Bacon and Kale Stuffing
- 1 5-lb boneless turkey breast (or two 2 ½ lb breasts)
- 5 strips thick-cut bacon
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 6 leaves sage finely chopped
- 5 oz lacinato kale roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese grated
For the basting butter
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 3 leaves sage
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until the bacon is brown and crisp on both sides, 6-8 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside.
- With the bacon grease in the skillet, add the onion, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the onion is softened, 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, thyme, and sage and sauté for one minute.
- Add the kale and continue to sauté until the kale is beginning to wilt and soften, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the lemon juice and cheese. Stir to incorporate.
- Open the deboned turkey breast with the skin side facing down. With a sharp knife, butterfly the breast like an open book. If using two smaller breasts, butterfly each breast and set beside each other to make one large breast.
- Salt and pepper the turkey and place the prepared stuffing mixture over the meat. Starting with the short end to ensure a nice roll, roll up the breast. Make sure no turkey skin is rolled inside the roulade and cut off any excess skin. Use six 10-inch pieces of bakers twine to tightly secure the roulade. Place in a roasting pan.
- Roast the roulade in the preheated oven. Brush with the following herbed melted butter every 20 minutes. Roast until the skin is dark brown and the meat registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer in the middle of the roulade, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- In a small saucepan, melt the remaining four tablespoons butter with the two sprigs of thyme and three sage leaves. Allow to steep 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and tent with foil. Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.