Get All-In on Thanksgiving Turkey With This Amazing Ballotine

Elevate your Christmas feast by preparing a deboned turkey, packed with a combination of nuts, speck, and bitter greens, then rolled into a roulade. To create this impressive roulade, the entire turkey is carefully removed from its bones, except the legs. Afterward, it is placed in the refrigerator to dry and chill overnight, which helps to get a crispy skin when the turkey is roasted.

The turkey is then stuffed with a robust stuffing consisting of wilted radicchio (cooked with shallot and garlic to reduce its harshness), savory speck and Parmesan, and toasted walnuts. Ultimately, the turkey is meticulously wrapped, securely knotted, and expertly cooked.

Get All-In on Thanksgiving Turkey With This Amazing Ballotine

Undoubtedly, this project requires a significant amount of work, but the benefits – the delectable filling, succulent meat, and impressive presentation – make it worthwhile. Ballotine is a French culinary phrase that describes a boneless piece of meat, chicken, or fish that has been filled, rolled, and cooked by roasting.

Before cooking, it is advisable to remove the bones from the turkey well in advance, providing a minimum of 12 hours or a maximum of 24 hours for pre-seasoning and chilling. The filling components can also be prepped in advance: Prepare toast and finely dice nuts, then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Finely chop herbs and vegetables, and grate cheese; put them in a sealed container in a refrigerator.

Which turkey is ideal for this recipe?

In a perfect world, you would use a natural turkey that has not been brined. A side salad and mashed potatoes would be a wonderful accompaniment to this turkey dish.
Salting the turkey before roasting results in the skin being crispy, while the turkey itself is soft and well-seasoned throughout the roasting process. If there is not enough skin on the section of the turkey that is located near the legs to completely envelop it, you may cover the bird with a radicchio leaf to fill in the space.

Also Read: Recipe for the Beef Wellington

The radicchio that has been wilted and the walnuts that have been diced become slightly soft, which contributes a great deal of texture to the stuffing. Garlic and rosemary are excellent seasonings for the turkey. A thick stuffing in the classic sense is not what this is; rather, it is more of a savory lining that is applied to the spiral roll of meat. Walnuts that have been roasted are the real deal.

Amy Theilin, the person responsible for developing this dish, chooses to use Sartori Bellavitano cheese as her preferred parmesan cheese product. As she observes, “It is a cheese that is more moist, with the tang of parmesan.”

Get All-In on Thanksgiving Turkey With This Amazing Ballotine

Get All-In on Thanksgiving Turkey With This Amazing Ballotine

The gravy is quite straightforward and opulent. The roux is prepared by combining butter and turkey fat that has been rendered, flour, chicken stock, and whatever remaining drippings you have. White balsamic reduction imparts a touch of sweetness and a hint of acidity to the dish.

Recommended pairing

Our wine editor suggests pairing this turkey roulade with a sophisticated and refined red Burgundy, such as the Louis Jadot Pommard, known for its complexity and elegance.


1 (10 to 12 pounds) fresh entire turkey

3 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided.

1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, split

One small head of radicchio, quartered, cored, and sliced (approximately three cups)

1 medium shallot, finely sliced (about 1/2 cup)

8 cloves of garlic, minced (approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons)

1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary

3 ounces thinly sliced speck or prosciutto.

5 1/4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1.5 cups)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided.

1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar.

1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth, split


How to debone a turkey

To remove turkey wings and thigh bones put the turkey breast side down on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, cut down either side of the backbone. Beginning on the right side of the backbone, remove the skin and flesh of the bony back with quick swipes of the knife near to the bone. Continue to separate the skin from the rib cage until you reach the wing. Remove the wing and save it for later use.

Continue cutting along the rib cage until you reach the oyster of the thigh. Slide your knife around the ball of the thigh joint to expose it, then cut through the cartilage. Cut down beside the thigh bone, using quick swipes close to the bone, until you reach the second ball joint, then cut through the cartilage. Scrape the flesh away from the thigh bone. (Leave the drumstick intact.) Repeat on the opposite side of the turkey.

Remove the turkey backbone and rib cage.

Get All-In on Thanksgiving Turkey With This Amazing Ballotine

Trim as near to the rib cage as possible, then carefully slice down the sternum without puncturing the breast skin. Remove and discard the carcass (including the backbone and rib cage). Use a paring knife to remove the two tenderloins (plump strips of flesh adhering to the bottom of the breasts) from the turkey. Remove and discard the tenderloin’s big white tendons. Place the turkey, skin side down, and tenderloins on a wire rack inside a large-rimmed baking sheet.

Season the turkey and tenderloins on all sides with 2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the wire rack, flip the turkey so that the skin side is facing up. Refrigerate uncovered until the skin is dry, which should take at least 12 hours but up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pan over high heat until shimmering. Add the radicchio and simmer for 30 seconds, stirring regularly. Cook, tossing often, until shallot and garlic are fragrant and the radicchio has wilted for approximately 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Allow it to cool somewhat, about 10 minutes.

Stuff, roll, and tie turkey

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the turkey skin side down on a broad chopping board. Place one tenderloin lengthwise over the space between the breasts to cover the divot, and the other tenderloin crosswise over the top of the breasts to cover some of the neck skin. Sprinkle rosemary on the meat side of the bird. Sprinkle the speck evenly on top. Sprinkle equally with cheese, walnuts, 2/3 cup parsley, and the radicchio combination.

Position the turkey’s legs facing you. Starting from one side of the turkey, roll it up as tightly as possible, jelly roll style. Tie kitchen twine at 11/2-inch intervals around the turkey’s body, seam facing down. knot the turkey lengthwise, then cross and knot the legs at the ankles (using the drumstick ends).

Turkey roast

Get All-In on Thanksgiving Turkey With This Amazing Ballotine

Fit a wire rack inside a roasting pan and place the turkey, seam side down, on it. Rub the turkey all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Roast in a preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest area of the turkey reads 120°F. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the skin is burnished brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest area of the flesh reads 160°F.

Make the gravy

Transfer the turkey to a chopping board and let it rest for 20 minutes, uncovered. (Turkey’s temperature will climb to 165°F while it rests.) Remove the wire rack from the roasting pan and set it on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and heat, scraping up any browned pieces from the bottom of the pan and stirring periodically, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously.

Gradually add the broth, whisking continually until smooth. Reduce the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until it thickens and has no floury flavor. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, 11/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat and cover to stay warm.

Step 2
Remove the rope from the turkey and cut off the legs; place the legs on a serving plate. Slice the leftover turkey crosswise and place on a dish with its legs. Pour cutting board fluids around the meat. Drizzle gravy over turkey ballotine and serve the leftover gravy alongside.



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