Don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of preparing an entire turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? A stuffed turkey breast might just be the solution.
I remember the first time I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving. The company The Husband work for at the time gave a free turkey to every employee. Suddenly I found myself staring at an 18-pound bird and wondering if I could pull this off. Boy, was I intimidated!
Not only can it be intimidating, but sometimes cooking an entire turkey just isn’t practical. What if your Thanksgiving dinner is going to be a small intimate gathering? If you don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of preparing an entire turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, then figuring out what to do with the leftovers, a stuffed turkey breast might just be the solution.
Prepare the Stuffing
You can stuff your turkey breast with anything that strikes your fancy. Some people like actual stuffing (these recipes for sausage and sourdough stuffing or chicken and cornbread dressing would be excellent choices).
I chose to doctor up a box of seasoned long grain and wild rice. While the rice is cooking, I sautéed 1/3 cup of diced onion in two tablespoons of unsalted butter. Once onion starts to turn translucent, add two cloves of minced garlic and ½ cup of pine nuts. Continue to sauté until you can start to smell the garlic, about 30 seconds to one minute.
Once the rice has finished cooking, add it to the pan with the onions and garlic along with ¼ of ground sage and ½ teaspoon dried thyme. Stir until everything is combined and set aside. Let the rice cool before stuffing the turkey. The rice can be made in advance to save some time.
Butterfly and Stuff the Turkey Breast
I purchased a skin-on, boneless, 3-lb. turkey breast roast. After I unwrapped it, I laid it out on a cutting board. Starting at the thick end of the turkey breast, I made a large cut down the center of the meat with a sharp filleting knife, but I didn’t cut all the way through.
I spread the butterflied turkey breast out on the cutting board, covered it with waxed paper, then used a meat mallet to pound it until my turkey breast was about ½ an inch thick. Season both sides of the turkey breast with salt and pepper.
Spoon the rice mixture down the center of the turkey breast. Try to keep the rice to within 1-inch of the edge. You want to leave some room for the rice to shift as you roll up the turkey breast. This will just prevent all your stuffing from oozing out the bottom.
Roll and Tie the Stuffed Turkey Breast
Cut several lengths of kitchen twine. You want the strings long enough to be able to tie them around the stuffed turkey breast once it’s rolled. Set those aside for now.
Take one side of the stuffed turkey breast an fold it over the rice. Then fold the other side over the first. Next, slide your lengths of kitchen twine under the stuffed turkey breast. If you’re having trouble keeping your stuffed turkey breast together, use a couple of toothpicks to hold it in place until you can tie it up.
Space your kitchen twine a couple of inches apart. Tie the ends securely so the turkey breast stays together. They should be snug, but not too tight. If you have any loose flaps of meat at the ends, tuck them under the loops.
Drizzle the outside of the stuffed turkey breast with olive oil. Season the outside with salt and pepper.
How to Roast the Stuffed Turkey Breast
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Since the stuffed turkey breast is small, I think a roasting pan is overkill. I used a 9 x 13 x 2 casserole dish. If you want, place some sliced vegetables seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper in the bottom and put the stuffed turkey breast on top.
A three-pound stuffed turkey breast can take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes to cook all the way through. A meat thermometer inserted in the meat near the center should read 165 degrees. After pulling it out of the oven, let the stuffed turkey breast rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
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Wild Rice Stuffed Turkey Breast
- 1 6 ounce box long grain and wild rice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 3 pound boneless turkey breast roast
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook long grain and wild rice according to package directions.
While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender.
Add the minced garlic and pine nuts. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.
Add the cooked rice to the pan with the onions. Stir in the sage and thyme. Set aside and allow the rice to cool.
Lay the turkey breast out on a cutting board. Starting from the thick end, slice through the turkey breast lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through. Lay the turkey breast out flat. Cover with waxed paper. Flatten the turkey breast with a meat mallet until it is about ½ inch thick. Season the inside of the turkey breast with salt and pepper.
Spoon the rice down the center of the turkey breast. Be sure to keep a 1-inch margin at the top an bottom to prevent the stuffing from oozing out the bottom when it’s rolled up.
Cut a few lengths of cooking twine long enough to tie around the rolled and stuffed turkey breast. Fold one of the long sides of turkey breast over the rice. Fold the other side over the first.
Slide the kitchen twine pieces under the turkey breast. Place them about 1-inch apart. Tie the ends securely to hold the turkey breast together. Tuck any loose ends under the twine.
Brush the outside of the turkey breast with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roast the turkey breast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meat near the center reads 165 degrees. Allow the turkey breast to rest for 15 minutes before cutting. Cut the stuffed turkey breast into medallions and serve