I am a huge fan of Thanksgiving food. I love the roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and well, everything. BUT, Thanksgiving is not always a good day for people who are trying to eat healthy, there is just SO MUCH FOOD!
Whether you’re trying to have a low calorie Thanksgiving meal, or Thanksgiving dinner for two, this turkey roulade is the answer. A sweet and savory sausage stuffing is wrapped inside a turkey breast to give you an easy way to portion control the stuffing (my personal weakness every holiday meal). It’s also, just plain good.
If you really want to up the health factor, you can even use turkey sausage, which somehow seems more appropriate than pork sausage. But I use pork sausage, and I love it.
You may notice that the recipe serves 12, and be wondering how on earth this would be appropriate for Thanksgiving for two, but it really is. This recipe actually makes two turkey rolls, so I always wrap one in plastic and freeze it. Each roll makes six servings, so you’ll have some Thanksgiving leftovers, but it’s a lot more manageable and affordable for a small gathering than a full turkey with all the trimmings. This recipe also makes extra stuffing, which I end up eating on it’s own as lunches the following week.
If you’ve never made a turkey or chicken roulade before, it may seem a bit intimidating. Not to worry, it’s actually pretty easy and you will end up feeling like a professional chef by the time you’re done. Here’s a collage of step by step photos to make it even easier. The first six photos show the process of butterflying a turkey breast.
How to butterfly a turkey breast
- Cut the turkey breast in half
- Begin slicing sideways into the first turkey breast half
- Unfold the breast, opening it up as you slice, until it lays flat
- Make several vertical slices part way through the turkey breast
- Cover with plastic wrap
- Use a meat hammer to pound it thin. Repeat with other turkey breast half
Have you ever made a roulade before? Was it intimidating or an adventure?
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup cider
- 6 TBS butter divided
- 2 inch celery stalks 1/2 diced
- 2 inch onions 1/2 diced (divided)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch granny smith apple peeled and cored, 1/2 diced
- 1 lb bulk sausage
- 2 cups sliced button or crimini mushrooms about 6-10
- 10 leaves sage finely chopped
- 2-3 TBS kosher salt
- 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups bread crumbs I use panko
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups chicken or turkey stock divided
- 1 4-5 lb turkey breast cut in half, each half butterflied
- Place dried cranberries in a small saucepan and pour cider over them. Bring to a boil then remove from burner and let sit.
- Melt 4 TBS of the butter in a large skillet or saute pan and add celery, onion, garlic and apple. Cook for 5-8 minutes on medium high until everything has softened slightly. Add the sausage, breaking it up with your hands. Stir the sausage in and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, sage and the cranberries in their liquid. Cook another 5-10 minutes until sausage is browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove sausage mixture from the heat and let cool. (This is a great time to butterfly your turkey breast if you haven't already).
- When sausage mixture has cooled slightly, mix in bread crumbs, parmesan, eggs, 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spread one butterflied turkey breast half on a cutting board. Spread 1-1 1/2 cups of stuffing on top of the turkey leaving a half inch border on all sides (stuffing should not be more than 1/2 inch thick or it will be hard to roll the turkey).
- Starting at one end, roll the turkey up, poking any stuffing that comes out back in, until you have a nice cylinder or turkey. Use some twine to tie the cylinder every two inches to help it stay together. Repeat with the second turkey breast. You can roast both turkey breasts for 12 servings or freeze one for later.
- Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and pour 1 cup of turkey stock into the pan. Cover the pan with foil and roast in the oven for 50 minutes.
- After 25 minutes scoop the leftover stuffing into a small casserole dish and put it in the oven.
- When the turkey has cooked 50 minutes, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter then remove the foil and brush the butter all over the turkey. Place back in the oven (uncovered) for another 25 minutes.
- After the last 25 minutes, use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature in a few places, it should be at least 150 degrees. Remove the turkey and casserole dish of stuffing and cover them both with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil and use a pair of scissors to remove the twine. Slice the turkey into six 1 1/2 to 2 inch rounds. Serve with extra stuffing. If you'd like gravy, use the juices from your roasting pan with a little chicken stock and cornstarch.
Approximate cost/serving: I tend to be able to get a turkey breast for $3-4/lb. While this certainly costs less than cooking a full turkey, it is more expensive in the cost per serving, so make sure to factor that in. Still, it's a great deal considering it's your turkey and stuffing. This ends up costing me about $26, so just about $2.20 per serving.
Gluten Free: This recipe is easily gluten free with the use of gluten breadcrumbs or oats. Just make sure to check the ingredient list for your sausage as well!
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.