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When it comes to my own kitchen, I love to experiment with food, use unique spices and “travel” the world through flavor. But when it comes to Thanksgiving, I’ve traditionally been in the “stay with what I know” crowd, recreating those staple dishes I’ve we’ve always had as a family. Sometimes that’s great but oftentimes, the meal can become, well… bland. 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. And hey, this turkey roulade may be just the answer this Thanksgiving!
On the big day, I love roasting a turkey. I feel such a sense of accomplishment spending hours making the perfect, golden bird with a shatteringly crispy skin. Over the years, I’ve come to love my classic wet brine recipe, which gives the meat such incredible flavor and moisture. As our family grew with each new niece and nephew, one roasted turkey wasn’t cutting it. In my humble kitchen, I don’t have room for two birds, so it led to a conundrum.
When I first started toying with the idea of roasting only a turkey breast, it seemed wrong. I mean, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, right? And when we think of a turkey, we think of that enormous bird, plated to perfection. Could I really pull myself that far from tradition?
But I convinced myself that as long as I make it special enough, I’d be able to assuage any guilt! Thus, the idea of my turkey roulade was born.
As a personal preference, I don’t like to use a dense bread stuffing in the meat. I always make way too much dressing as it is (can you relate?!) so adding more stuffing within the meat seems like too much. To make it light yet hearty, I sautéd thick pancetta with onion, thyme, sage and kale. Folding in Parmesan cheese gives the stuffing a rounded, full flavor.
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 Pancetta and Kale Stuffing
- 1 whole 5-lb turkey breast bone removed
- 2 tbsp butter
- 6 oz thick-cut pancetta
- 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
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 3 leaves sage
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Add pancetta and sauté until the pancetta begins to brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes.
- 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 pour into a bowl 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.
- 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. Use six 10-inch pieces of bakers twine to tightly secure the roulade. Place in a roasting pan.
- In a small kettle, melt the remaining four tablespoons butter with the two sprigs of thyme and three sage leaves. Allow to steep 10 minutes.
- Brush the entire roulade with the melted butter and place in the preheated oven. 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 one hour to one and a half hours.
- Remove from the oven and tent with foil. Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.