Holiday Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing is a perfect dinner for small gatherings. One breast serves 4 people. Make the stuffing in advance!
Holidays in the time of coronavirus
We live in strange and heartbreaking times.
Because of COVID-19, the county I live in issued an emergency order banning inter-household gatherings...
...meaning no big family Thanksgiving.
Instead, we are having a small Thanksgiving dinner: only Phil, me, and the kids.
I imagine that a lot of other families out there are making the same decision, so I thought it was an ideal time to post an idea for a small dinner that still captures the feel of Thanksgiving and the holidays.
Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing: a perfect solution for small holiday dinners
What is a turkey roulade?
Turkey roulades are butterflied turkey breast that you pound out, cover with some sort of filling, and then roll up.
"Turkey roll-up" works just as well.
What kind of turkey breast should I buy to use in a turkey roulade recipe?
The ideal cut to work with is a boneless, skin-on turkey breast.
This recipe uses one breast only (e.g., one side of the "turkey chest"), which feeds four, but you can easily double the recipe by using both breasts.
You can also buy bone-in turkey breasts, but de-boning adds a layer of difficulty.
With that in mind, don't be afraid to ask you butcher to do that for you.
If you're lucky, they'll butterfly it for you too (be sure and ask them to reserve the skin)!
The butterflying part is a bit challenging: I didn't exactly capture it in my photos, so I'm sending you to Martha Stewart.
She has a very clear video showing how to do it here.
What filling is in a turkey roulade?
The turkey roulade stuffing for this recipe is based on my Easy Sausage Stuffing (lightened up very slightly from my original recipe).
You could also substitute mushrooms for the sausage, which would be delicious.
How to make turkey roulade with sausage stuffing
The collage below shows the main prep steps for making turkey roulade—be sure to check out my turkey roulade video too!
Prepping the turkey breast
First, carefully work the skin off of the turkey breast using your fingers and a knife. Dry thoroughly with paper toweling and set aside.
Next, butterfly the turkey breast by slicing horizontally through the thickest part of the breast, but not all the way (like in the Martha Stewart video above!).
Remember that you want it to open like a book.
Then, cover the meat with plastic and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until uniformly ~½" thick.
Preheat your oven to 325º F while you assemble the roulade.
Dry well, smear all over with butter, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
Assembling and baking the roulade
Add a layer of the easy sausage stuffing, leaving an inch between the stuffing and all edges.
Be careful not to contaminate the extra stuffing by touching it with raw turkey hands! Add any extras to a buttered baking dish.
Next, roll carefully from the smallest end of the meat—or, if one of the ends is tattered, start from that side.
Push any stuffing that falls out back into the roll.
Hold the seam side of the roll up and stretch the skin over the top.
Then, tie at about 1.5" intervals with butcher's twine.
Next, place the roulade on a rack set into a roasting pan with ½" of liquid (use a mix of chicken broth and water).
Check to make sure that the pan doesn't dry out (this keeps the roulade from drying out AND makes some delicious pan juices for drizzling when you serve).
Top with fresh herbs and roast for an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours, until an instant read thermometer registers 155º F when inserted into the center of the roulade at 3 different spots.
Finally, remove the roulade to a platter and cover with foil for at least 15 minutes before slicing: the temperature will continue rising to ~165º (check to be sure with an instant-read thermometer). Cut off and discard the butcher's twine.
Can I make turkey roulade in advance?
You absolutely can—with an extra precautionary step:
Make sure that the sausage stuffing is completely chilled before you start assembling the roulade.
Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The reason for chilling the sausage stuffing is that if you roll up the roulade with hot filling, what you're essentially doing is insulating that filling—which is in contact with raw meat—from the chill of the refrigerator.
This means that it will take significantly longer for the roulade to chill down out of the "danger zone"—a perfect recipe for growing harmful bacteria like Salmonella.
Bring the roulade out of the refrigerator 1 hour before you plan to bake.
Does turkey roulade have a sauce?
This recipe doesn't include its own sauce, but drizzling some pan juices over the slices of roulade is delicious: if needed, reduce the juices slightly before serving.
Note that in the case of the gravy, you will need to roast turkey thighs as suggested in the recipe.
Alternatively, buy turkey stock and reduce it by half for stronger flavor. Use butter for the fat in the roux.
What sides go with turkey roulade?
We already have sausage stuffing, but another holiday dinner classic is mashed potatoes: I suggest my Perfect Meal-Prep Creamy Mashed Potatoes (as the name suggests, they can be made in advance as well!).
Salad would pair nicely with this dish, for example Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad or Meal-Prep House Salad & Homemade Thousand Island Dressing.
That's it! Holiday Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing is a little more complicated than the usual Flipped-Out Food dish, but it's worth it for this wonderful time of year.
I hope that your holiday celebrations will be wonderful despite...2020.
Stay safe. Stay well.
For the Sausage Stuffing
- 2 cups Brownberry Sage & Onion Stuffing
- 0.5 lb. pork sausage
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ¼ tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the turkey
- 3 lb. boneless skin-on turkey breast, butterflied, skin reserved
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp poultry seasoning
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 2 cups chicken stock (or use turkey stock)
Preheat oven to 325º F.
For the stuffing:
- Brown the pork sausage with the onion and celery; drain fat. Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth and butter until boiling. Remove from heat.
- Empty the bag of stuffing into a large bowl; add chicken broth-butter mixture and fluff with a fork until completely moistened. Stir in pork mixture. Taste for seasoning; adjust as needed with S&P.
- Set aside about half of the stuffing in a buttered baking dish.
For the roulade:
- Cover the butterflied turkey breast with plastic and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until uniformly ~½" thick. Dry the meat well with paper toweling. Rub all over with softened butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
- Add a layer of the sausage stuffing about ½" thick, leaving an inch between the stuffing and all edges (see recipe note #1).
- Roll carefully from the smallest end of the meat (or, if one of the ends is tattered, start from that side). Push any stuffing that falls out back into the roll.
- Hold the seam side of the roll up and stretch the skin over the top.
- Tie at ~1.5" intervals with butcher's twine.
- Place the roulade on a rack set into a roasting pan with ½" of liquid (use a mix of chicken broth and water).
- Top with fresh herbs and roast for an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours, until an instant read thermometer registers 155º F when inserted into the center of the roulade at 3 different spots.
- Remove the roulade to a platter and cover with foil for at least 15 minutes before slicing. The final temperature should be 165º. (Remove and discard the butcher's twine)
- Be careful not to contaminate the extra stuffing by touching it with hands or utensils that have touched the raw turkey. Add any extra stuffing to a buttered baking dish; bake with the roulade for ~45 minutes.
- This recipe uses ONE turkey breast (half of the entire "turkey chest"), which is plenty for four. To feed 8, simply double the entire recipe and butterfly the breasts to make one giant roll.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: ¼ roulade, or two half-inch slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1105Total Fat: 56g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!
Orange-Ginger-Spice Cranberry Sauce: this tangy, delicious sauce is a perfect accompaniment to turkey or duck.
Easy, Rich Turkey Gravy: This recipe makes enough turkey gravy for a crowd, with Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner in mind. Refrigerate any leftovers: they reheat just fine in the microwave.