For Christmas this year I received many wonderful cooking- and baking-related gifts, and I am SOOOO excited to use every single one of them.  My brother Davy bought me the newest Ina Garten cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, and just flipping through it I quickly determined that I want to try almost every recipe in it.  One of the recipes that caught my eye in particular was this turkey roulade.  However, it is definitely a large dish and is best made for a crowd.  Things worked out perfectly when both of my brothers decided to come spend the night with us a recently to get in some extra playtime with their nephew.  I jumped at the opportunity and decided to give this dinner a try.  It looks and tastes complicated and time-consuming, but I was really amazed with how quickly this came together.  From setting out the ingredients to putting it in the oven, it took me only an hour.  This time would have been significantly decreased if I had bought a boneless turkey breast as I had intended (oops!)  Even despite having to butcher the meat myself, this was still pretty easy to prepare.

Not only was it easy to make, it was delicious and definitely an impressive main dish!  The turkey was perfectly cooked through and moist.  Often times when cooking large pieces of poultry, it takes much longer than the recipe suggests, but this was right on.  I particularly loved how the stuffing turned out.  I have not yet had the opportunity to host Thanksgiving myself (hopefully this year!), but I have firmly decided that this will definitely be the stuffing recipe I use.  It is scrumptious!  There is plenty extra to bake alongside and serve as a side dish.  I also made oven-roasted veggies and cheesy beer bread to round out the meal.  We all really enjoyed the meal.  I can’t wait to try more recipes from this cookbook!

And to continue my  “Best of 2008” series,

Best Cupcakes of 2008
Eggnog Cupcakes
Apple Pie Cupcakes
Black Bottom Cupcakes
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Chocolate  Cupcakes with Cream Filling
Strawberry Cupcakes




Roasted Turkey Roulade
3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1 cup (1/2-inch diced) celery
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
3 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 lbs.)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned.  Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the rosemary and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes.  Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl.  Add the sausage mixture, chicken broth, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well.  (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and store in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.  (I used a regular roasting pan.)

Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board.  Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides.  Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll.  (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.)  Starting at one end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides.  Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan.  Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until a thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center.  (I test in a few places.)  Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Carve 1/2-inch thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten