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Turkey Breast Stuffed With Italian Sausage and Marsala-Steeped Cranberries

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

I know it might sound a bit of a faff, but take it from me that stuffing a whole double breast joint is very much easier than stuffing and rolling a single breast joint, as is more commonly found in supermarkets. Basically, all you’re doing here is opening out your boneless turkey joint, smothering it with stuffing and folding it over. What you end up with, for all the ease of its creation, is nothing short of a showstopper.

You need to go to a butcher to get a whole breast joint and you need to ask for it to be butterflied and boned and make sure the skin is left on.

I know it might sound a bit of a faff, but take it from me that stuffing a whole double breast joint is very much easier than stuffing and rolling a single breast joint, as is more commonly found in supermarkets. Basically, all you’re doing here is opening out your boneless turkey joint, smothering it with stuffing and folding it over. What you end up with, for all the ease of its creation, is nothing short of a showstopper.

You need to go to a butcher to get a whole breast joint and you need to ask for it to be butterflied and boned and make sure the skin is left on.

Turkey Breast Stuffed With Italian Sausage and Marsala-Steeped Cranberries
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 12

Metric Cups

For the Stuffing

  • 100 grams dried cranberries
  • 100 millilitres marsala
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 echalion shallots or banana shallots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 kilogram italian sausages
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • approx. 50 grams grated parmesan
  • approx. 60 grams breadcrumbs

For the Turkey Joint

  • 1 x 5 kilograms double breast turkey joint (boned, butterflied, with skin left on)
  • 4 tablespoons goose fat (or duck fat)

For the Stuffing

  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • 7 tablespoons marsala
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 echalion shallots or banana shallots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2¼ pounds italian sausages
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

For the Turkey Joint

  • 11 pounds double breast turkey joint (boned, butterflied, with skin left on)
  • ¼ cup goose fat (or duck fat)

Method

  1. Put the cranberries and Marsala into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then take off the heat and leave to one side.
  2. Put the oil into a large frying pan or similar heavy-based pan, and fry the shallots for a minute or so, then add the spices and shredded sage, turning them in the soft shallots.
  3. Squeeze the sausagemeat out of its skins, add to the pan and break it up – using a wooden fork and spatula for ease – turning it in the hot pan until it loses its pinkness. This will take about 5 minutes.
  4. Take the frying pan off the heat and turn the contents into a large bowl, mixing in the steeped cranberries and any Marsala clinging to them, and leave to cool. You can cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for up to 2 days at this stage.
  5. When you are ready to stuff the turkey breast, take the bowl of sausagemeat out of the fridge.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF.
  7. Uncover the bowl of sausagemeat, add the eggs, Parmesan and breadcrumbs and – I use my hands for this – mix well.
  8. Lay the butterflied turkey joint out in front of you. It really does look like a butterfly, though admittedly a fleshy one. Spread the stuffing out first in the slight cavity in the centre of the butterfly and then outwards onto the wings though not going right up to the edge (or it will squodge out when cooking) but as evenly as possible over the whole joint.
  9. Carefully, in one swift but steady movement, fold one “wing” over the other to close the joint, and then sit the turkey on a large roasting tin, breast bone (or where the breast bone would be) uppermost as it would look were it the whole bird, with the pointier bit furthest away from you. Thread 2 skewers through the base – i.e., the widest part that is nearer you– to keep it closed, and smear it all over with the duck or goose fat.
  10. Roast the turkey breast for 2–2½ hours, then check it is cooked with a turkey or meat thermometer. When cooked, it should read 75°C / 165ºF in the centre. (If you’re leaving it to rest,as you should, or to cool, you could take it out at 73°C / 160ºF – it will retain heat and continue to cook for a short while once out of the oven.)
  11. Flex your muscles, then lift out onto a carving board, and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes. Or leave to get cold if you are eating it as part of a cook-ahead buffet.
  12. Cut through the whole joint in wide slices right across; they will need to be quite thick, at least 1cm / ½ inch maybe 2cm / 1 inch, to keep the stuffing intact within the slice.
  13. As you place it on table or sideboard, dot around it the condiments of your choice: I revert to Christmas in Italy here by putting a lusciously extravagant pot or two of Italian mostarda di Cremona on the table alongside: this is a hot and sweet preserve of mustardy candied fruits that gleam beautifully and taste both festive and fabulous.
  1. Put the cranberries and Marsala into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then take off the heat and leave to one side.
  2. Put the oil into a large frying pan or similar heavy-based pan, and fry the shallots for a minute or so, then add the spices and shredded sage, turning them in the soft shallots.
  3. Squeeze the sausagemeat out of its skins, add to the pan and break it up – using a wooden fork and spatula for ease – turning it in the hot pan until it loses its pinkness. This will take about 5 minutes.
  4. Take the frying pan off the heat and turn the contents into a large bowl, mixing in the steeped cranberries and any Marsala clinging to them, and leave to cool. You can cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for up to 2 days at this stage.
  5. When you are ready to stuff the turkey breast, take the bowl of sausagemeat out of the fridge.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF.
  7. Uncover the bowl of sausagemeat, add the eggs, Parmesan and breadcrumbs and – I use my hands for this – mix well.
  8. Lay the butterflied turkey joint out in front of you. It really does look like a butterfly, though admittedly a fleshy one. Spread the stuffing out first in the slight cavity in the centre of the butterfly and then outwards onto the wings though not going right up to the edge (or it will squodge out when cooking) but as evenly as possible over the whole joint.
  9. Carefully, in one swift but steady movement, fold one “wing” over the other to close the joint, and then sit the turkey on a large roasting tin, breast bone (or where the breast bone would be) uppermost as it would look were it the whole bird, with the pointier bit furthest away from you. Thread 2 skewers through the base – i.e., the widest part that is nearer you– to keep it closed, and smear it all over with the duck or goose fat.
  10. Roast the turkey breast for 2–2½ hours, then check it is cooked with a turkey or meat thermometer. When cooked, it should read 75°C / 165ºF in the centre. (If you’re leaving it to rest,as you should, or to cool, you could take it out at 73°C / 160ºF – it will retain heat and continue to cook for a short while once out of the oven.)
  11. Flex your muscles, then lift out onto a carving board, and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes. Or leave to get cold if you are eating it as part of a cook-ahead buffet.
  12. Cut through the whole joint in wide slices right across; they will need to be quite thick, at least 1cm / ½ inch maybe 2cm / 1 inch, to keep the stuffing intact within the slice.
  13. As you place it on table or sideboard, dot around it the condiments of your choice: I revert to Christmas in Italy here by putting a lusciously extravagant pot or two of Italian mostarda di Cremona on the table alongside: this is a hot and sweet preserve of mustardy candied fruits that gleam beautifully and taste both festive and fabulous.

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What 1 Other has said

  • Amazing recipe, my family loved it! ;)

    Posted by Jime1 on 30th December 2012
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