Turkey dinner has to be one of my favorite ways to get my comfort on and eat my feelings. I know, that’s probably an uber-unhealthy confession, but in this life you love what you love. And for me, I pledge my adoration to the restorative properties of turkey and stuffing.
This particular recipe, though, is extra special in that it utilizes some of my beloved ingredients in the pantry to create a flavor profile that is so refined, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t prepared turkey this way earlier. Fragrant fennel pollen turns bland turkey into a fantastic bite, wild rice adds texture and nuttiness to ordinary stuffing, and the saltiness of the pancetta “wrapping” plays off the sweetness of roasted pear. This fetching combination of comfort and refinement is well worth tucking into your recipe book for days when you are looking for a little magic on your dinner plate.
Turkey Breast Roulade with Wild Rice Pear Stuffing
1 whole turkey breast, deboned and skin removed
1 tbs. of fennel pollen
1 tsp. of black pepper (black pepper)
1 tbs. of kosher salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and minced
1 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. of olive oil
1 tbs. of olive oil
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 pear, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 stick of butter
1 tbs. of fresh sage, chopped
1 tbs. of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/8 tsp. of white pepper
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
4 tbs. of chopped parsley
2 c. of bread crumb stuffing
1 c. of cooked wild rice pilaf (Uncle Ben’s is fine)
1-2 c. of chicken stock
1/2 lb. of pancetta
1 bulb of fennel, roughly chopped
1 pear, roughly chopped
handful of sage leaves
handful of thyme leaves
handful of rosemary leaves
1 large onion, sliced
2 c. of chicken stock
1 c. of white wine
Marinate the turkey in the fennel pollen, pepper, salt, rosemary, garlic and olive oil overnight.
The next day, begin by making your stuffing. Heat the 1 tbs. of olive oil in a skillet and add the shallot, pear and celery. Cook until translucent and then add the butter, sage, thyme, white pepper, black pepper and parsley. Once the butter has melted, add the stuffing and wild rice and mix. Add the chicken stock a little at a time until the mixture is very moist – it should be about 1 1/4 c. of liquid but eyeball it. Taste for salt and reseason if necessary. Let the stuffing cool completely.
On a clean cutting board, lay out the slices of pancetta in overlapping circles to form a base for the turkey breast (about a 2×4 circle grid). Put the deboned turkey breast on top and pile the stuffing in the center. Roll up the two sides of the turkey breast and continue to cover the turkey with overlapping circles of pancetta. The more you overlap, the easier it will be for the circles to stay together. Once the turkey is completely covered, carefully tie kitchen twine around the roast at 1 inch intervals.
Place the turkey on a rack over a roasting pan. Fill the pan with the fennel bulb, sage, thyme, rosemary, onion and chicken stock.
Roast in the oven on 325° until the pancetta is super crispy and an internal thermometer reads 165°.
Let rest for 10-15 minutes. While the turkey rests, set the roasting pan over two burners and add the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Strain the entire mixture over a large bowl, pressing down on the solids to release any liquid. Add the liquid to a saucepan and add enough chicken stock to make 2 c. of liquid. Bring to a boil and add a slurry of 2 tbs. of flour mixed with 2 tbs. of water, whisking the entire time to prevent lumps. Taste for seasoning and reseason with salt and white pepper.
Slice the turkey and serve with the pan sauce.