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Stuffed turkey roll

Mon, 23 November, 2020

Boneless, stuffed, rolled and roasted turkey breast fillet – this is a wonderful alternative to the drumsticks nobody wants and stuffing cooked in a tray.

stuffed turkey roll

Shall I just say one thing? This makes carving a doddle. I think that’s sold it now but if not, I’ll also say – this makes one oven perfectly sufficient for the roast, the potatoes and the vegetables. Plus you can still have the gravy (I would never leave anyone without gravy on Christmas Day) in a stress-free way.

boneless stuffed rolled turkey breast fillet

Roll your own

They obviously sell the boned and stuffed turkey joints all over the place, but you and me, we aim higher. The stuffing in those ready-made things – even from the most respectable butchers – is meh at its best and hideous on average. The skin competes with bacon covering for primacy and the deftly tied up butcher’s string hides a multitude of little bits of random, non-turkey-breast-fillet sins.

turkey roulade with chestnut stuffing

We can do better than this.

It’s worth preparing the stuffing ahead of the game: you can even make it days in advance and freeze it, provided it thaws and comes to room temperature before spreading it over the turkey.

The recipe below is my favourite: it’s an everyone pleaser with the meat, the exotic flavour of mushrooms and enough chestnuts and breadcrumbs to fight the ‘too-meaty-stuffing’ critique.

It’s easy and I’m not ashamed of cutting some corners: ready cooked chestnuts? yes please. Minced pork? of course. Just make sure the pork is fatty enough not to turn out too dry – otherwise you’ll be spreading meatloaf over your turkey. Good stuffing should be made with good quality pork but broken down with bacon fat, starchy chestnuts and bread if needed.

How to get stuffing just right?

That’s why my tasting ceremony is so important – more than seasoning with salt and pepper, this is about the stuffing texture as you never know what the meat you’d bought is going to be like.

how to get stuffing taste right

So fill a mini pie foil tin with the patty, bake it and taste – is it mushy and soft on the tongue? Is it too like a meatball pressed into a tin? In the latter case, your salvation is in breadcrumbs and the mushroom soaking liquid.

Once the stuffing’s done, it’s the challenge of the turkey fillet. But it’s really easier than it sounds.

How to flatten the turkey fillet?

Watch the video below; you’ll see I’ve cut this way and that. It’s really about getting a rectangle of turkey meat, as even as you can but without busting a gut and as in one piece as possible, but mind that it can be all tied together in the end – so really, don’t sweat about it.

Then spread the stuffing over the inside of the spreadeagled fillet, having salted both sides, and roll it up from the scragglier end, width wise, so you end up with the approximation of the original breast fillet. Pin it in place with meat pins if you have them, and the bacon will do the rest of the job.

Lay the rashers across the fillet and tuck them underneath – unless you have a fortuitously small turkey breast or abnormally long rashers, they won’t reach all around. No worries – kitchen string comes next. Place lengths across the rashers and tuck the ends underneath one side.

Turn the fillet over - very much like changing a baby’s nappy – and retrieve the string ends. Reposition, and tie up. That’s the job. Wasn’t too bad, was it?

stuffed boneless turkey breast fillet

How to roast boneless stuffed turkey roll?

Roasting seems tricky because you would not like the turkey breast to overcook, while the stuffing needs to be cooked through. The turkey won’t be pink - sorry. But the timing of 20 minutes per half a kilo will work for most turkeys (see note) and ovens, plus 20 minutes at high heat at the end.

It’s a reverse of what recipes usually tell you to do but it works in this instance: you want the roll to nearly cook while the bacon on top isn’t frazzled. It will get scorched to requirement at the last stage.

stuffed turkey breast roulade

And rest the beast for half an hour while your potatoes and vegetables have the oven to themselves.

NOTE: Kelly bronze turkey and Norfolk black (that’s in UK) have much higher fat content and cook quicker. If your breast fillet comes from one of those posh birds, cut the roasting time to 18 minutes per 500g.

Stuffed turkey roll

Servings: 8-10Time: 1 hour plus roasting


  • boneless turkey breast fillet, 2.5 – 2.7 kg
  • salt
  • 500g (just over 1 pound) streaky smoked or unsmoked bacon
  • For the stuffing:
  • 10g (1 tbsp.) dried wild mushrooms
  • 500g (just over 1 pound) pork mince
  • 3 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 200g (7 oz.) chestnuts, cooked and peeled
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 1½ tbsp. salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • For the gravy:
  • discarded turkey skin
  • 1 tbsp. plain flour
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 chicken stock cube or 500ml (2 cups) fresh chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 tbsp. redcurrant jelly
  • ¼ tsp black pepper



1. Bring the turkey to room temperature, untie it if it’s rolled and take off the skin. Reserve it for the gravy.

2. Butterfly the turkey into a flat, large rectangle; it doesn’t need to be super thin or even. Salt generously on both sides and set aside. Bring the bacon to room temperature and trim if it has a rind.

3. To make the stuffing, pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms just to cover them; leave to soak.

4. Place the mince in a large bowl. Finely dice the bacon, finely chop the onion. When the mushrooms have cooled down, scoop them out of the bowl, squeeze out the liquid and chop them finely. Reserve the soaking liquid.

5. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onions, the bacon and the dried mushrooms and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until softened but not coloured or crisp. Take off the heat and set aside.

cooking stuffing ingredients

6. Mash the chestnuts with a fork, add to the pork.

pork and chestnut stuffing

7. Finely chop the parsley and add to the mix together with salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace. Add the onion, bacon and mushrooms and mix the stuffing very well using your hands.

how to mix pork chestnut stuffing

8. To check for taste, fill a small foil pie or cupcake tin and bake for 10-15 minutes in hot oven (200C/450F/gas 6). Let it cool down a little before tasting. If the mix is dry and meaty, add all the mushroom soaking liquid and the breadcrumbs; mix well again and do another taste test until you’re satisfied.

9. Spread the stuffing evenly over the turkey meat. Starting with the shorter of the two short ends, roll it up tightly. Secure temporarily with meat pins while you wrap it in bacon.

10. Place the bacon rashers over the top of the roll to cover it completely. Cut 10-12 lengths of kitchen string and position one over each bacon rasher. Turn the roll over so the bacon is at the bottom, adjust the string pieces and tie each length tightly starting from the middle and going outwards. Trim the string and remove the pins if they are visible.

turkey roll oven ready

11. Weigh the roll and then place it in a roasting dish, bacon side up.

turkey roll in tin

12. Preheat the oven to 190C/425F/gas 5. Position a rack in the middle.

13. Loosely tent the turkey with a large piece of foil. Roast covered for 20 minutes per 500g of weight.

14. Turn the heat up to 220C/475F/gas 7 and take off the foil. Roast for 20–25 minutes until the bacon is crisp. Loosely cover with the foil again and transfer to a warm place for 20-30 minutes.

15. For the gravy, cook the turkey skin in a dry skillet for 20 minutes, don’t worry if it sticks to the bottom but scrape it off and turn over occasionally.

16. Make the stock with a chicken stock cube and boiling water, or the potato cooking water up to 500ml.

17. Discard the turkey skin; sprinkle the flour and mustard powder over the fat and whisk it in. Pour in the stock, whisking and dislodging the stuck bits of meat. Add the redcurrant jelly and black pepper and whisk it in.

how to make gravy with turkey breast

18. When the turkey roll has rested, pour in the resting juices. Cook down on high heat if it’s not thick enough to your liking or add water if it’s too thick. Strain into a gravy boat if it’s too lumpy to your liking.

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Adriana - I mix raw pork with cooked mushrooms and onions. Those I cook for the flavour - it wouldn't be as nice if they were mixed in raw.
6 months ago
Question: do you cook the porc or stuff raw with cooked mushrooms and onions? thank you
6 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Adriana - I boil chestnuts for this purpose. Sometimes I use ready-cooked, peeled and vacuum packed ones, or frozen.
7 months ago
Do you boil or roast the chestnuts?
7 months ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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