Planning Thanksgiving is something I look forward to every year…and every year I challenge myself to get creative. Call me crazy but my favorite thing on earth is to spend hours in the kitchen prepping and cooking elaborate meals for friends and family. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional turkey buy why not try something different. Trust me it’s fun, and the lucky peeps sharing your table will be wowed and ever so grateful for the delicious creativity.
Some of our past creations have included Roasted Turkey a la Tangerine, Herb Buttered Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy and Apple-Sage Flat Iron Grilled Turkey. This year we are cooking Thanksgiving twice to accommodate visiting friends. For the first pre-holiday turkey we boned, stuffed and rolled a turkey breast with Italian sausage, mushrooms and dried cherries and it was amazing! Don’t stress, you can buy a boneless turkey breast or have the butcher bone it for you. Take a look at the steps we took to create a Dried Cherry and Italian Sausage, Turkey Roulade.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add the onions, celery, fennel, leeks and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft. Add the dried cherries and cook until the cherries are plump. Add the cognac and reduce until almost evaporated. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the mushrooms. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until any water they have released has evaporated. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage has browned but is still slightly raw in the center.
Remove from the heat and add the mushroom-sausage mixture to the cooked vegetables. Mix in the herbs and pine nuts until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and place on a clean work surface, skin-side down. Pat the turkey dry on both sides using paper towels. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey roulade and brown on all sides. Transfer the turkey to an aluminum-lined sheet tray and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 150°. Reserve the pan for gravy.