It’s officially the holidays. That is the only way I could get away with such an elaborate recipe title as the one above.
Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving is exactly one week away and I’ve been working on a turkey dish well worthy of your holiday dinner table. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not, and roasts up in half the time as a whole turkey.
Today’s recipe is a whole turkey breast that has been flattened and filled with a bacon, herb and cranberry stuffing. The roulade is wrapped with bacon to keep it moist and tucked into a half of a spaghetti squash.
The turkey roulade and the squash roast up together in a time-saving 2-for-1 dish and a simple apple cider gravy tops it all off. It’s a seasonal and scrumptious way to bring turkey to your table this Thanksgiving.
The recipe as written, with two turkey breasts and one whole squash, would make a feast for about 8 people, but it can easily be divided in half, if you are a smaller group.
Oh, and plenty of the work can be done in advance, so important for these wonderful food-centric celebrations. Hit the jump to see how it all comes together, then grab a pen and paper and start a shopping list!
Turkey, of course, is the star of any traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and as I couldn’t find whole, fresh turkeys a week ago, I went with two separate breasts. I’m so glad I did!
I’ve already mastered how to roast the perfect turkey, but this was my first roulade. It was easier than I thought, and far tastier than I ever imagined! Serving was also a cinch, too, and the roulade sliced up into pretty rounds that showcased the stuffing.
You can ask your butcher to butterfly the breasts for you, or Saveur has a snappy little video tutorial on how to a) flatten a whole raw turkey breast and b) roll it into a roulade. It’s under two minutes long and is a great visual for first-timers.
Bear in mind that my recipe in this post separates the breasts and cooks them in two roulades for a shorter cooking time. That also made it possible to stuff them into squash halves.
Do ahead: I butterflied, stuffed, rolled and wrapped my turkey in bacon the day before our Sunday dinner. All I had to do the next day was tuck the roulades into the squash halves and place them in the oven. Marvelous.
Turkey breast has a reputation for being dry, an affliction I wanted to avoid at all costs. I brought in bacon to the rescue, which is ground up with onions and a generous amount of herbs for a stuffing that gives both moisture and flavor to the roulade.
The stuffing gets whizzed up in a food processor (no chopping!), and is easily adaptable to incorporate dried cherries or other dried fruit in place of cranberries.
Do ahead: The stuffing can be made a day in advance, cooled on a plate, and stored in the refrigerator until the turkey is ready for stuffing.
Two bacon-wrapped turkey roulades are tucked into the cavity of a spaghetti squash and the entire dish is roasted to perfection. Not only does this give you an instant vegetable side dish, but the scrumptious drippings from the bacon and the turkey flavors the squash perfectly.
I chose spaghetti squash (the largest I could find) because it seemed to naturally form the boat shape I was looking for in developing this recipe, but you could use any winter squash you like.
I gave the squash a 30 minute head start on the roasting time before adding the turkey roulade, and they both cooked up evenly. The squash provided a welcoming earthy contrast to the richness of the bacon-wrapped roulade. I believe this pairing is here to stay.
The Cider Gravy:
You know I’ve been completely preoccupied with apple cider this fall, and I wanted to work it into the recipe somehow when I was developing this dish. Originally I had thought about a glaze made with a reduction of cider, but as I was a little short on turkey stock for the gravy, I added a full cup of apple cider to the mix.
Both the stock and the cider reduced into one of the most flavorful sauces I have ever made. I swirled in butter for a little richness and it gave a beautiful glossy sheen to the gravy. I think cider gravy is a new mainstay in our family Thanksgiving dinner.
Do ahead: If you have turkey stock on hand, the gravy can be made a day in advance.
|Squash-Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy||
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 14 rashers of bacon, divided
- 3 fresh sage leaves
- 2 Tbsp bacon grease or butter
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon ground savory
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 boneless, skinless turkey breasts
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Peel the onion and the garlic, and cut the onion into quarters. Combine 4 rashers of bacon, onion, garlic, and sage in a food processor and pulse about 10 times until mostly ground together.
- Heat bacon grease in a medium sauce pan and add the onion mixture to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.
- Add cranberries, savory, salt and parsley to the stuffing and cook for another minute or so. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Use a sharp knife to butterfly the turkey breasts open and flatten them slightly with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin covered in plastic wrap.
- Divide stuffing between the two breasts and spread it out evenly. Roll the breasts up, and place them, cut side down onto a board or tray. Wrap each roulade with 4-6 slices of bacon, tucking the ends under the turkey.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves in a large roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes. (It’s okay to leave the turkey at room temperature while the squash pre-cooks.)
- Remove squash from the oven and place the bacon-wrapped roulades into the cavity of the squash. Return the dish to the oven, lower oven temperature to 350F and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey roulade is 155F, about one hour and 30 minutes. Cooking times WILL vary, so be sure to use an instant read meat thermometer and keep an eye on the internal temperature.
- Remove roasting tray from the oven and let turkey rest for about ten minutes. This gives you time to warm the gravy and heat any other side dishes. Serve roulade in slices with plenty of cider gravy.
- 2 cups turkey stock
- 1 cup fresh apple cider
- 2 sage leaves
- 2 Tbsp salted butter, cubed and cold
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- Combine turkey stock, apple cider and sage leaves in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened slightly. Remove sage leaves and discard.
- Using a whisk, drop in cubes of cold butter and whisk to incorporate.The sauce will take on a rich sheen. Add pepper and remove from heat.
- Pour gravy into a small jug and keep hot until ready to serve.
Are you roasting turkey for Thanksgiving, this month or next?