Carrie's Kitchen: Thanksgiving's coming, time to talk turkey

As I consider what to do with my turkey, I share with you this recipe for a turkey roulade, made from a deboned and butterflied turkey breast that you fill with an herb paste and then wrap up and cover with turkey skin to keep the juices in.
As I consider what to do with my turkey, I share with you this recipe for a turkey roulade, made from a deboned and butterflied turkey breast that you fill with an herb paste and then wrap up and cover with turkey skin to keep the juices in. (Courtesy photo / Stacey Adams-Zier)

I was so caught up in Halloween last month that I did not look ahead at November to realize that, gulp, by giving an extra week to Halloween, I would only have three columns before Thanksgiving.

I’m especially interested in Thanksgiving recipes this year because, gulp, I’m hosting the holiday for the first time! I’ve hosted Easter once, with lamb, and Christmas many times, with either ham or beef, so this will also be my first turkey.


I always thought it was silly that people would get so freaked out about a turkey, but now that I’m in their shoes, I get it. It’s the star of the show, taking up a huge amount of your time and oven, and you want to get it right. And it’s not the kind of thing you can practice. Who wants to cook and eat a whole turkey twice in a month?

As I consider what to do with my turkey, I share with you this recipe for a turkey roulade, made from a deboned and butterflied turkey breast that you fill with an herb paste and then wrap up and cover with turkey skin to keep the juices in. It looks interesting, though not necessarily easy, but certainly less worrisome than a whole turkey.

This week, I came up with two great, easy, spooky dinner foods and a little dessert because not everyone has little ones that go out trick-or-treating.

Then I have a recipe for mashed potatoes with a bit of kale in them and a salt and vinegar twist, and maple pecan stuffed apples that work as a side dish or dessert in my book.


Slow roasted turkey roulade

For the turkey roulade (the final turkey roulade will be 5 to 6 pounds):

1 whole turkey breast, 2 turkey breast pieces, bone in and skin on


For the spice mix:

15-20 sage leaves

4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only

6-8 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

Extra oil salt and pepper to brush on at the end

For the turkey gravy:

About 2-3 cups of turkey or chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

Generous pinch of black pepper

More salt if needed

For the spice mix: Place all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until you have a paste. Transfer this herb paste into a small bowl and cover and set aside until needed.

For the turkey roulade: When the turkey breast has been butterflied and shallow cuts have been made and the skin prepped, rub all of the spice paste over the turkey breast, meat side.

Roll up the turkey breast and wrap it with the turkey skin.

Using twine, secure the turkey roulade and wrap it with plastic wrap. Place the turkey roulade in the fridge overnight, up to one day. (You can keep it at room temperature for up to one to two hours and then roast it, but storing it overnight in the fridge is better to secure the shape of the roulade.)

THE FOLLOWING DAY: Remove the turkey roulade from the fridge at least one to two hours before roasting. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees at least 20 minutes before roasting.

Line a quarter sheet pan (or any baking dish with raised edges) with parchment paper.

Remove the turkey roulade from the plastic wrap and pat dry with paper towels until there's no moisture on the surface. Place it on the parchment paper-lined baking tray.

Brush the surface of the turkey roulade with oil and sprinkle the surface with kosher salt and black pepper.

Place the roulade in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, until the surface turns golden brown.

Reduce the temperature to 275 degrees and cook for another 20-30 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, insert this into the turkey roulade and cook until it registers 162 degrees (residual heat will cook it further to 165). Baste the turkey roulade with pan drippings half way through the cooking process.

Remove the turkey roulade from the oven and let it rest. OPTIONAL: If you'd like the turkey roulade to caramelize further, turn the broiler setting in your oven on to high. Broil the turkey roulade for a couple of minutes on each side, until you get the desired caramelization. Always keep an eye on the turkey roulade when it’s under the broiler.

Allow the turkey to rest for 15-20 minutes (in the pan drippings) before serving. Carefully remove the pan drippings and set aside for the turkey gravy, or you can pour the pan dripping over the sliced turkey roulade as well.

After resting, slice it into ½-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices on a serving tray garnished with extra herbs and serve with the gravy and other Thanksgiving side dishes.

For the gravy: Measure how much pan drippings you get from the turkey roulade in a measuring cup. Add enough turkey stock/broth (or chicken stock/broth) to make 2 cups of liquid.

Place the butter in a pot and let it melt over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk until there are no lumps in the flour. Keep stirring this roux until the color changes to brown, and it smells quite nutty.

Whisk in the stock and pan drippings and black pepper, and whisk until there are no flour lumps. Bring the gravy to a boil and then lower the heat. Cook until you have a gravy with a desired consistency. If the gravy becomes too thick, you can add more stock to thin it out. Taste the gravy and season with extra salt if needed.

Pour the gravy into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface to prevent any gravy skin from forming on top.

Salt and vinegar kale mashed potatoes

2 pounds red potatoes, skin on, cut into halves or quarters depending upon size

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, torn into small pieces

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

¼ cup whole milk

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large stock pot half way with cold water.

Add cut potatoes and cover the pot with a lid set slightly ajar. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Boil the potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the kale and cook, stirring often, for four to six minutes or until it's wilted and tender.

Drain the potatoes into a colander. Transfer the potatoes back into the stock pot.

Add the vinegar, remaining tablespoon of butter and milk. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.

Stir in the kale and season with salt and pepper.

Maple pecan baked apples

4 sweet apples, such as Gala

5 ounces pecan nuts

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter, melted

½ teaspoons cinnamon

⅕ teaspoons fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a medium baking tray with non-stick baking paper and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse pecans until crumbly but not a powder. Remove to a bowl and combine with the maple syrup, butter, cinnamon and salt and stir thoroughly. Set aside.


Core the apples and cut in half. Place in a baking dish. Top each half with the pecan mixture and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.


Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Best when served warm.

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