I love to stuff and mast whole wild turkeys, but it always leaves me wishing that I’d saved some of my bird for the rest of the year as well. This recipe is part of the solution to that problem. You stuff and roast just a single boneless breast, and then save the rest of your turkey for grilling, smoking, or whatever other recipes you enjoy.
I make a pocket in the breast with a long-bladed fillet knife, then pipe the filling into the pocket and close it up with skewers or whittled sticks. It goes in the oven on a bed of leeks and comes out dripping with flavor. If you choose to stay true to your whole roasted turkeys, try this same stuffing recipe next Thanksgiving. You’ll love it.
Time to make
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
1 boneless turkey breast half, skin on
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
2 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (or Monterey Jack)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 large leeks, white parts only, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and cleaned well of grit and sand
1 stick butter, melted
- Heat oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.
- Add the thyme, cranberries, and pine nuts and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Make a slit in the side of the turkey breast with a sharp paring knife or a long-bladed fillet knife. The slit should be about 2-2-1/2 inches long. Carefully pivot the knife inside the opening to create an interior pocket in the turkey breast, without making the opening larger. Season well with salt and pepper on the outside and inside of the pocket. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Stir the apples, cheddar cheese, and parsley into the mushroom mixture. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag. (You can also use a resealable zip-top bag as a makeshift pastry bag; snip off a bottom corner of the bag and squeeze the filling out.)
- Pipe the filling into the pocket, filling it as full as possible without letting it burst. Close the opening with small skewers or whittled sticks.
- Lay the leeks in the bottom of a greased roasting pan.
- Lay the turkey breast on top of the leeks and brush with the melted butter. Baste periodically with more butter while cooking.
- Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 160°.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes under a tent of foil.
- Cut the meat into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with the roasted leeks.