Real Holiday Food: Boneless, Butterflied, Stuffed Turkey Breast

by Anne Bennett on November 13, 2009

Don your festive holiday apron because Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we all need to get serious about planning the big (in the virtual sense only, please) meal. This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”.

Roasting a whole turkey for Thanksgiving or any time during the winter months can be daunting to someone with a small family. Frankly, I am also pretty weary of roasting the whole bird and dealing with the carcass afterwards. I know, people love to make soup with a turkey carcass. But me? After a day or two of poultry feasting I want nothing to do with soup that tastes anything like turkey. Give me black bean soup with chilis, corn chowder, minestrone. Anything but turkey!


Ina’s stuffing recipe is fabulous, but that’s no surprise. I reduced the amount of butter she used (also no surprise) and used turkey sausage instead of pork. Otherwise this one is a keeper. The figs and cranberries lend a dense, fruity texture, and the Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix makes the whole process that much easier. Go, Ina!

Whole Foods regularly carries boned natural turkey breasts.

3/4 cup diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
2 T. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1/2 lb. turkey sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 T. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
3 T. toasted pine nuts (or pecans)
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 egg, beaten
1 whole turkey breast, boned and butterflied (about 5 lbs.)

Place figs and cranberries in a small pan with Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet and add onions and celery. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and saute, breaking up the sausage into small bits with a spatula, for 10 minutes, until browned. Add the fig/cranberry mixture with its liquid, the rosemary and the nuts. Cook 2 more minutes.

Pour dry stuffing mix into a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken broth, beaten egg, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper and combine. (Ina says you can prepare this ahead and refrigerate it overnight.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a baking rack onto a large sheet pan.

Lay out the butterflied turkey breast skin side down and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing mixture in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. There will be leftover stuffing–place it into a small gratin dish sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for the last 30 to 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey. Starting at one end, roll up the turkey like a jelly roll. Tie it securely at 2″ intervals with kitchen twine.

Place the turkey breast seam-side down onto the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle again with salt and pepper and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center. Test in more than one place to get an accurate temperature. Remove from the oven, cover the turkey with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve with the extra stuffing.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy November 14, 2009 at 9:12 am

Can we sign up to be guinea pigs in your test kitchen??? I do the dishes!

Linda November 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I’ll help Amy with the dishes….heh, heh, heh….

Nancy Alpers November 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I am hosting a small group for Thanksgiving, so this is just what I’ve been looking for! Thanks, Anne. I’m going to try it.

mandi February 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm


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