Thanksgiving is here, and I’m so excited! I have gotten a later start on it than normal because life has been hectic, but I’m ready to get cooking. It’s the most challenging meal for me physically because of my disabilities, but I’m not going to let them keep me from my favorite meal of the year. I designed this menu to spread the work over a few days and even included a recipe for the next day with Leftover Thanksgiving Galette. I’m also not going to post a review for each and every side. Instead, I’m going to blog about the most important parts of the menu starting with the main course: Thanksgiving Stuffed Porchetta-Style Turkey Breast.
I have made many styles of turkey over the years, and this is a new one. I even tried stuffed turkey tenderloins but never stuffed turkey breast. This one is a lot like the matambre and porchetta I blogged about a few years ago, just with all the Thanksgiving fixings. Well, most of them. The photo shows a slice served over mashed potatoes and green beans and topped with gravy and cranberry sauce, but they are not part of the recipe.
Never fear, I have those covered! I am also making Crockpot Mashed Potatoes, Classic Southern Gravy, and Apple Cranberry Sauce with Cider & Cinnamon. That recipe for leftovers I mentioned calls for leftover Brussels sprouts, so I switched the green beans for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Butter. I make green beans every year, so I’m kind of glad to be switching things up. I always love to try new things!
You can find my 2022 Thanksgiving Menu as a free downloadable Google Doc. It includes a schedule, a shopping list, and an equipment list. The checkboxes on the lists are interactive and cross off each item when you click them. You may also print it or save it and make any changes you like.
Instead of basic roast turkey, break with tradition and make bacon-wrapped turkey ‘porchetta.’
I did my shopping for this recipe in early November, so finding most of the ingredients wasn’t a problem. The only item I couldn’t find at my regular grocery store was fresh rosemary, but it was available at another nearby store.
I also couldn’t find a boneless, skinless half turkey breast. I did find one with bones and skin, though, and deboned it myself. It only added a few minutes of extra work to the recipe but was not difficult to do at all.
This recipe had a lot of prep work! I started off by skinning and deboning the turkey breast. It went quickly and only took me 8 minutes. I also removed some smaller pieces of meat from the ribcage and kept them in case I needed to patch any holes. They came in handy later during assembly.
Next, I shopped the 3/4 pounds of bacon and started cooking it in a large 12-inch skillet. It took a while to crisp up, and I used that time to finish most of the other prep work. The only thing I didn’t get to was butterflying and pounding the turkey breast.
Once the bacon had crisped I added the butter with the diced onion and celery to the pan. There was a lot of bacon grease, and I was tempted to drain it. The recipe didn’t say to do that, so I resisted the urge.
I was able to butterfly and pound the turkey breast while the vegetables were cooking. Tip: Place the turkey breast between two pieces of plastic wrap before pounding them. It keeps gross turkey juice from contaminating your kitchen. Tip: Use the flat side of your meat mallet. The spiked side may tear and/or weaken the meat and cause holes.
After that, I finished up the stuffing and got ready to assemble my turkey roll. This part didn’t go as smoothly as the video, but I got it done. A big part of the problem was my bread cubes were too big. I think much smaller cubes or even crumb-style would have worked better. When it was all done I only got about half of the stuffing into the roll. I placed the rest into a small bowl and cooked it during the first half of the turkey’s cooking process.
Another issue was the stuffing was very hot. I should have waited for it to cool some. Also, a hole tore in the turkey as I was rolling it up. Remember those smaller pieces of turkey I mentioned at the beginning? I just placed the largest one over the hole (under the stuffing) and it patched the hole.
Once the turkey was rolled I cut a long piece of kitchen string and wrapped that sucker up. I did it as shown in the video with a minor change. Tip: When I got to the end I brought the remaining string under the roll longways and tied it to the string at the start. It helped hold in the filling that kept falling out of the ends of the roll.
My turkey roll was ready to cook! I popped it onto a sheet pan, added a little seasoning, and a drizzle of olive oil, and placed it in the preheated oven. I let it cook for 40. minutes then removed it so I could wrap it in more bacon.
And I forgot to remove the string. I was so worried about the bacon wrap that I completely missed that step. I just wrapped the turkey in bacon, tucked the ends underneath, added a meat thermometer, and put it back into the oven. But I did remember to increase the oven temperature LOL. And the twine wasn’t hard to remove when I sliced the turkey, so no biggie.
My meat thermometer beeps when the desired temperature is reached, so I washed up and began some other prep work. It took another 37 minutes for the turkey to reach 160℉. Then I removed the turkey from the oven and let it rest while I made the Brussels sprouts.
- 5 minutes to cube bread for stuffing (I did this 2 days before cooking)
- 37 minutes to prep
- 40 minutes to cook
- 3 minutes to wrap in bacon
- 37 minutes of additional cooking
- 15 minutes to rest
- 2 hours 24 minutes total
The recipe lists a total time of 1 hour 35 minutes, but it took me significantly longer. Removing the extra time for cubing the bread and skinning and deboning the turkey breast only removes 12 minutes. I’m guessing the slowdown was in several things.
First, there were no cooking times listed for the bacon and stuffing, so I had to use my best judgment. Also, I’m sure assembling the roll took me longer because I had to struggle with it a little. Finally, the last stage of cooking was to temperature instead of a set time. Mine took seven minutes longer (not including resting time).