RECIPE | Pancetta, Apple & Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast with Easy Pan Gravy

Happy Monday, kids! I have been waiting to share this recipe with you, and have a confession to make regarding it. The plan this weekend was get together with a fellow wine blogger, and  share it, along with some wine parings, on an Instagram Live video, but unfortunately the cold I contracted last week ended up squashing that idea, as I found myself fairly dead to the world on Saturday. Luckily, we still have Christmas, and there are many more recipe ideas for holiday meals that can be planned over the next few months. So, don’t you worry, you’ll get to see me live soon enough. But, without further adieu, this recipe is quite possibly the best thing I have ever made. And is simply perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday celebration.

One of the greatest things about it, is it’s meant for 6 – 8 people. Not everyone has the luxury of being with extended family over the holidays, and some simply prefer the idea of a smaller get together rather than the 20+ person chaotic mess that can occasionally ensue. 🙂

Stay tuned this week for a more Thanksgiving menu ideas. And be sure to brush up on hosting a party, and other tips and tricks for holiday fun, here and here

Pancetta, Apple & Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast with Easy Pan Gravy

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey breast, boneless/skinless, approx. 3 lbs. – butterflied & pounded to even thickness, approx. 1 1/2 inches**
  • Extra virgin olive oil and/or butter
  • 3/4 cup cremini mushrooms, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage, minced (or 1 tsp dried sage leaves, not ground)
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced small
  • 1/4 cup shallots, diced small
  • 1/4 cup Granny Smith apple, diced small
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chicken/turkey stock
  • Approx. 36 slices pancetta, paper thin
  • Butcher’s twine (ask your butcher for a couple metres)
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, a few slices of fennel bulb
  • Extra stock (approx. 1 1/2 cups), AP flour (approx. 1 Tbsp), S&P, and butter (approx. 1 Tbsp) – for pan gravy

Method

In a frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or butter, on medium high heat. Add in pancetta when the fat is hot. Allow the pancetta to crisp up by rendering out the fat, approximately 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from the pan onto a plate, reserving about a tablespoon or so of fat in the frying pan. Set the pancetta aside. 

If there is less than a tablespoon of fat in the frying pan, add in a tad more oil or butter. Toss in the mushroom, do not touch for a few minutes, allowing them to become golden brown and slightly crispy. Add in the shallots, garlic, and sage. Toss altogether, and let the flavours marry. Add in the apples, only for a minute or two – as you don’t want them to get too mushy. 

Take the pan off the heat, add in the Panko, bacon, and fresh parsley. Combine well. The texture should be soft, as the Panko will absorb some of the fat and juices. If it isn’t, add in a few tablespoons of chicken/turkey stock, a tablespoon at a time. Taste and season with coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. 

*Remember that pancetta is salty, so don’t over season. 

Arrange the pancetta slices in a grid pattern, overlapping each other, on a piece of plastic wrap. Then place the turkey breast, skin-side-down (or at least where the skin would be – but isn’t because it’s skinless), onto the pancetta slices. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and pepper. Place the stuff in an even layer onto the turkey breast, leaving about a 1/4 – 1/2 in edge to ensure the stuffing stays inside. 

Roll the turkey breast using the plastic wrap in a tight, even roll. Wrap the plastic around the roll, and securing the ends, and continue to roll using the counter-top as leverage. This will continue to tighten and secure the cylindrical turkey roll. Once you are satisfied with the shape and size, secure the ends of the plastic wrap together and place in the fridge for a couple hours. to firm up.  

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Remove from the fridge after it’s time hanging out in the fridge, carefully remove the plastic wrap, and secure a few knots of butcher’s twine around the cylinder. Place carrot, celery, and fennel in an even layer at the bottom of a roasting dish, and place the turkey on top. Roast in the oven for 28 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325F for another 30 minutes. Take the temperature of the turkey, it’s internal temperature should read 145F. Remove the turkey from the oven, and place on a cooling rack to rest for 15 – 25 minutes. The internal temperature will rise to 155F due to residual heat. 

In the meantime, place the roasting pan on the stove on medium heat, using a masher or the back of a fork, press down the carrots, celery, and fennel into the juices at the bottom of the pan. Add in a pat or two of butter, and a tablespoon or so of flour, and whisk together. Keep whisking, and add in a ladle of turkey/chicken stock. Whisk together until smooth and thick. Add in more stock to build the volume of the gravy – up to 1 1/2 cups of stock. Bring the gravy to a simmer/light boil, and cook until a consistency you prefer. Strain, taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary, and keep warm.

When the turkey has finished resting, carefully snip off the butcher’s twine with a pair of kitchen scissors, and slice turkey into 1/2-in thick pieces. Serve with your favourite Thanksgiving sides and drown in your luscious pan gravy. 

**Ask your butcher to butterfly & pound out your turkey breast. However, if you want to give it a crack at home, be my guest. Turn the breast skin-side-down, laying it flat on the cutting board. Holding the blade of the knife parallel to the board, about halfway own, slice into the thickest portion of the breast. Cut along the length of the breast but not all the way through. Unfold the breast, so it opens like a book. Cover the breast in plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet until the turkey is of uniform thickness. OR just ask your butcher to do this for you…. 🙂

When it really comes down to it, this may look like a labour-intensive recipe, but it really isn’t. Make the stuffing ahead of time – up to 2 days. Stuff the turkey breast in the morning of your dinner, and let it hang out in the fridge, while you attend to other chores or preparations. Toss it in the oven when guests begin to arrive – while you’re all enjoying hors d’oeurves. Heat up your sides, while the turkey rests and you’re making your gravy. It’s all about being systematic, so you can enjoy each and over moment with your family and friends. 

 

 

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