This is, in my opinion, the most elegant way to enjoy turkey and stuffing. All of the butchering is done prior to roasting, so carving and serving are neat and easy. My preparation makes maximum use of the turkey breast, while providing several meals worth of delicious leftovers.
I begin with a full turkey breast on the bone.
First, I debone the breast, while keeping the skin intact. Then I make stock with the carcass. While the stock is simmering, I make the stuffing. This stuffing is of the Italian variety, including sweet sausage and mortadella.
The stuffing simply gets heaped onto one side of the breast, while the other side is folded over the stuffing, like a sandwich. The breast roasts in the oven until done. My total roasting time was 1 hour, 20 minutes.
I always make enough stuffing to have a separate tray of stuffing, baked on the side, since there can never be enough.
Tonight, as accompaniments, we had baked sweet potatoes and kale with butter and a touch of nutmeg.
This was our little mini-thanksgiving after Thanksgiving!
Italian-Ate Stuffed Turkey Breast
serves 6 – 8
1 whole turkey breast on the bone, approximately 8 lbs
1 small onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig sage
2 bouillon cubes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls olive oil
3 c stuffing (see below)
2 tsp dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
To debone, turn the breast upside down onto a cutting surface and, with a sharp chefs’ or boning knife, begin slicing the meat off the bone, gently scraping against the bone while slicing downward, toward the top of the breast. Follow the bone until you reach the top of the breast, then slice along the top ridge, without slicing through to the skin.
Repeat with the other side of the breast.
When both sides have been removed from the bone, you will have 2 lobes of meat with the skin still intact on the bottom.
Set aside until stuffing is ready.
Make a pot of broth, by placing the carcass in a large stockpot with celery, an onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. From time-to-time, skim any white scum that surfaces. Taste and add salt and black pepper. Discard carcass, remove aromatics and set aside.
After stuffing has been made and cooled, season the flesh side of the turkey breast with a liberal sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Spread about 3 cups of stuffing over one half of the breast.
Fold the other side of the breast over the stuffing. Season the outside (skin) with salt and pepper, and rub with dried rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil. Tie loosely with string and place in roasting pan.
Place in preheated oven (use convection, if you have it). After the first half-hour, add a half-cup of broth to the pan, and continue to baste with the pan juices as they render.
After one hour and 15 minutes, check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer. The meat should be a uniform 160 – 165 degrees throughout. Make sure the tip of your thermometer is in the meat, not the stuffing, and test in a couple of different spots. The temperature will rise by 5 to 10 degrees after resting.
Set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes prior to carving. Remove string and slice.
12 pieces of stale bread (it doesn’t matter how stale–the drier the better)
1 quart turkey (or chicken) stock (plus additional, if necessary)
2 medium shallots
2 ribs celery
2 tbls butter
1 sprig thyme
8 sage leaves
1/4 lb mortadella, cubed
2 oz. sweet Italian sausage (one link), fully cooked in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes, sliced
1 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tbls freshly chopped parsley
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
In one layer, spread bread pieces in a baking pan. Pour 1 quart hot stock over bread and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes to moisten.
Press bread into broth to stimulate absorption.
Place shallots, celery and herbs in a small skillet.
Saute on medium-low heat until the vegetables wilt and soften. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
Working in batches, place the wet bread in the food processor (with any remaining broth) and pulse to form a coarse puree (it’s OK if some of the bread remains in small chunks).
Place in large mixing bowl.
After all the bread has been pureed, without rinsing food processor, add mortadella and sausage to processor and pulse to form a coarse dice.
Add to mixing bowl with bread, along with sauteed aromatics, seasoned crumbs, parsley and nutmeg.
Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir to combine.
Set aside stuffing until cooled to room temperature.
Any remaining after stuffing the bird, may be spread out in a buttered baking dish, drizzled with an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of stock. Bake, covered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking for approximately 15 minutes, until lightly browned.