The day before Thanksgiving, Lobster and I had our own Fakesgiving. Instead of your usual 10 pound bird, I bought a turkey breast and stuffed it with a sausage, fig and cranberry dressing. Even though it was a little dinner for two, we still went nuts and had all the fixin's - mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and a pumpkin trifle.
Stuffing the turkey breast was a nice change from your traditional turkey and one we enjoyed very much. I'm sure everyone's had their fair share of dried turkey breast, but this method actually produced a moist breast. I was really surprised how much we enjoyed eating it this way. In fact, we may even change our Thanksgiving tradition from here on out. (fingers crossed) My favorite part of the meal is the side dishes anyway - so having a twofer and smothering it in gravy and cranberry sauce made for one delicious bite. It's a shame Thanksgiving only comes around once a year - the glutinous day has just passed and I'm already thinking of next year's meal. Sigh, food freak I be ^_^
Note: The stuffing was a bit on the sweet side for me so next time I would try using one fruit instead of both - or an entirely different recipe all together.
6 to 7 servings
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
- 3/4 cup small-diced dried figs, stems removed
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
- 1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
- 3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 extra-large egg, beaten (I used one large egg plus an egg white)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, skin on, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the apple juice and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.
Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don't mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.
With the leftover stuffing - place in a large oven proof bowl and roast along side the turkey during the last 45 minutes of baking. Stuffing is done when internal temperature register 165F.
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa
Makes 3 cups
- 4 tbs unsalted butter*
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken broth to make 2 cups
- 1 tablespoon white wine, optional
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional
In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don't rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. Add the wine and cream, if desired. Season, to taste, and serve.I started the gravy with 1/4 cup of the turkey dripping since my turkey breasts did not produce much drippings. I then proceede with the rest of the recipe and added 2 cups of chicken broth.