Untrussed and casual, some of the delicious stuffing will tumble out as it cooks, soaking up the sweet and savoury juices. Right at home on the holiday table, it’s easy to make, so perfect for a cozy weekday dinner. Don’t be intimidated by the butterflying step; it’s simple to do, and conquering this kitchen technique will expand your culinary horizons. This recipe is super-flexible. It can be made with several smaller pieces—chicken or duck breasts—and tastes just as good with a pork loin, also butterflied and stuffed.
Serves 4 to 6
Butter, oil or non-stick spray
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 slices grainy bread, chopped into cubes; the seedier, nuttier, and grainier the better (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup prepared chestnuts, coarsely chopped (the kind sold in the foil pouch)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
6 dried apricots, slivered (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, stems discarded
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 heritage or free-run turkey breast (2 lb)
8 slices heritage bacon or prosciutto, divided (we used heritage pork, peppercorn bacon)
2 tbsp butter
1 cup apple cider, hard or soft
Preheat oven to 375°F.
With a little butter, oil, or even non-stick spray, lightly grease a roasting pan big enough for the turkey breast plus some stuffing spill-over. Lay four slices of bacon on the pan, forming a mat for the turkey breast to sit on; set aside.
Let turkey breast sit on the countertop, coming to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare stuffing. Into skillet over medium heat, add oil and onion; stir often and fry until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer onion and oil to large bowl.
Add bread, chestnuts, cranberries, apricots, pepitas, herbs, salt and pepper to onion mixture and mix well; set aside.
To butterfly the turkey breast, lay it on a cutting board and slice it lengthwise through the middle—as if cutting a bagel in half—going almost all the way through, but stopping about 1 inch short. It should open up like a book or butterfly’s wings.
Mound about two-thirds of the stuffing—or whatever will fit nicely inside the breast—evenly on one of the flaps, then fold over the top flap. Transfer to prepared pan, and then drape remaining 4 slices of bacon overtop. In roasting pan, mound remaining stuffing around breast and dot with butter.
Roast for about 20 minutes. Pour cider over breast and continue roasting for 25 to 40 more minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into centre reads 165°F (74°C). Let rest for about 15 minutes before slicing
Our Sommelier, Rebecca Meir, has some suggested wine pairings that will make poultry soar.
Thanks to poultry’s rather subtle flavour, it can work with a wide variety of whites and even reds, but only if you consider the body and tannins of the wine, the cooking method of the bird, and the other ingredients on the plate. Chef Signe’s chicken pot pie can pair nicely with a classic Pinot Noir from Burgundy, as Pinot Noir is the lightest of red wines and won’t overpower the poultry with dramatic tannins. Moreover, the earthy notes of root vegetables work beautifully with the earthy and light cherry notes you’ll often find in Pinot Noir. And because of those earthy notes, a Pinot Noir will also pair beautifully with the mushroom risotto.
There are a new set of rules when poultry is served with bacon, dried fruit and honey, as with the bacon-wrapped, braised stuffed turkey breast; for a textbook pairing, pour a German or Canadian off-dry Riesling. Riesling’s aromatic notes of apricot, nectarine and honey crisp apple complement the dried fruit in the dish and offer balance to the saltiness of the bacon.
From Hudson, Quebec, now living in Port Hope, Ontario, Signe is a restaurant chef-turned-writer who tells award-winning stories and creates delicious recipes for such publications as: LCBO’s Food & Drink, Manna Pro Hearty Homestead, The Harvest Commission, and Today’s Parent; she published her first book – Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes – in 2015. She studied Fine Art History and Humanities at the University of Toronto, and York University; she graduated with honours from OCAD University; she earned her Wine Specialist Certificate from George Brown College.