Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Turkey roulade with chard filling

One of my new favorite things ever is roasting a turkey breast that has been rolled up around a delicious filling. I made a version of this a few weeks ago sort of by accident, but this time around it was quite intentional. I found the gorgeous chard at the Morningside farmer's market; it was the beautiful variety known as rainbow chard, with golden, red and white stems topped by perfect glossy green, early-spring leaves. I also found green garlic, which looks a lot like a bunch of scallions but retains the unmistakable pungency of garlic with a mellow, fresh flavor. These were both utilized in my roulade filling but you can substitute whatever dark leafy greens are available for the chard or minced onion and garlic if you do not have green garlic available.

First I prepared the filling for the roulade. I washed and chopped up a bunch of rainbow chard, making sure the stems were diced quite small, and then sliced the leaves into thin ribbons. Minced 1 bunch of green garlic (substitute ½ minced onion and 2 cloves minced garlic) and sautéed for 3 minutes in 3 tablespoons olive oil. If you are substituting regular onion, it may need more like 6-8 minutes to saute. Add ¼ cup pine nuts and continue to sauté until they have colored lightly, about 2 minutes. Add in the chopped chard and sauté until it is wilted, then add 2 tablespoons sherry and ¼ cup golden raisins. Sauté until the liquid has evaporated somewhat and the filling is not too wet, about 2 more minutes. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste, then set aside. Take a boneless, whole turkey breast and pound the fat end a bit more flat. There is always a skinny pointy end and a fatter thicker end. I need a meat pounder because slapping around a turkey breast is rough on a girl's hands. Anyway, just try to get it a little bit more flattened out on the thick end. Lay your chard filling out down the center. If there is too much filling for the size of your turkey, don't overdo it, just keep the rest for another use (maybe tossed with pasta? delicious!). Wrap up your turkey breast around the filling, starting with the fatter end and use the skin if necessary to keep it all together. Cut 3 lengths of kitchen twine and use them to tie the roulade together to keep it rolled up. It should look pretty cute. Salt and pepper the top then pop it into the oven at about 400 degrees, flip it over after 20 minutes, flip it back over again after another 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and let it roast for about an hour. Check the temperature after 40 minutes--depending on the size of your turkey breast it may be done sooner or later than that. Mine actually got pretty toasty, so I had to tent it with aluminum foil about halfway through to prevent scorching. You want the temperature to hit 165 degrees but you can take it out when it is 160 as it will rise while it sits out of the oven and that will prevent the roast from becoming too dry. I guess it could take up to 2 hours to be done if it is a large roast, so plan accordingly and be sure to use your meat thermometer. Slice it up and admire the lovely spirals of the chard stuffing.

I made roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary to accompany the turkey roulade--it is an easy side, especially as you have the oven going already. Fingerlings are very cute and tiny and look nice when they are sliced lengthwise, like tiny golden boats. Slice them and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons dried rosemary. They can roast at any temperature and are done when they are golden and slightly crispy. Toss them often as they cook, which may take about 40 minutes.

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