What is a rolled turkey breast?

A rolled turkey breast is a method of preparing a boneless, skinless turkey breast by tossing it with butter and rolling the thinner meat into a compact log shape and cooking it. This turkey breast treatment can provide a more compact shape of the meat that has some internal space for processes such as smoking, or the stuffing can be rolled inside the breast to make a roll. The stuffing inside the turkey breast can be anything from traditional holiday stuffing to spinach and chestnuts, though care should be taken with stuffing ingredients that expand when cooked to prevent the roll from bursting or let the stuffing come out.

Sage is a spice that is commonly used in turkey stuffing.

To prepare a rolled turkey breast, the first step is to cut the breast meat off the bone and remove any excess meat, skin, or fat. The brisket is placed on a board and then cut from one long edge to the other, but not long enough to separate it into two pieces. Then it opens. Depending on the size and shape of the turkey breast, it is sometimes placed between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and pounded until flat and of uniform thickness. Pounding the meat can also make it easier to roll up the breast.

A rolled turkey breast is often stuffed. For a Christmas preparation, the filling is usually bread, spices such as rosemary and sage, onion and celery. A more complex filling can be made with spinach, mushrooms, onions and chestnut meat. An Italian version may contain sausage, leeks, and tomatoes. Almost anything that will fit can be placed inside the breast, although ingredients like eggs that could expand significantly should be avoided or used sparingly.

The amount of stuffing that is placed inside the rolled turkey breast should be carefully measured. If too much stuffing is put inside, the breast will be difficult to roll up and could come out of the meat while cooking or rolling up. Too little filling inside the roll could result in a dish that does not contain the unique flavor expected from a roll.

Once the stuffing is spread around the inside of the breast, the meat is carefully rolled from one edge to the other. The meat itself will expand during cooking, so it is necessary to secure the rolled turkey breast in some way, usually by tying the trunk at various points lengthwise with twine. Skewers or toothpicks can also be used to help secure the meat while it cooks. The finished rolled turkey breast should be twined or skewered before serving.

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