One of the most endearing qualities of young children is their innate curiosity. Actually, all young creatures seem to be born curious.
Curiosity is what sends a little bird out of a high nest on its first flight. Lion cubs, looking so like their domesticated house cat cousins — all round bodies and gawky legs — dash out of a safe cave to go exploring. Puppies wobble all over the place, checking out what’s around them, until they find their way blocked — then they just turn around and keep going wherever their noses take them.
Curiosity leads to all kinds of things, from fantastic scientific discoveries to new recipes. A significant number of chefs are middle-aged, so I think a lot of people who grow up naturally curious must stay that way for life.
My children’s requests for something other than turkey for Thanksgiving reached epic proportions in 2016. They made me curious about what I could serve other than Big Bird. I didn’t want beef or seafood it just didn’t seem right to abandon the whole culinary tradition.
About two weeks before Thanksgiving, I was thumbing through some magazines, having a read-and-pitch fit, when an illustration jumped off the page at me. It was a beautifully presented Turkey Roulade. It seemed to make the best of the traditional parts of the entrée — turkey and dressing. Yum! No deconstructing a 16-pound turkey; no guessing at the exact moment to take the bird out of the oven to avoid a dry breast or pink joints; no carcass waiting for me in the kitchen after two days of cooking, baking and eating. I was entranced. I was curious!
So I saw my ideal Thanksgiving centerpiece. And then I lost the magazine.
I had read over the recipe and technique, so I decided to go for it. There are several good recipes on the Internet. I chose one as a guide, printed it out, and was truly committed once I’d spoken for an 8-pound boneless turkey breast. Besides, I had my daughter Heather working with me all day for support. “You can do it, Mom.”
It went together beautifully, cooked quickly, and tasted like something a chef had come up with. I will prepare at least once more during the long, cold winter ahead and this time I’ll hope to have leftovers. This is one you have to do.
1 7-8 pound boneless turkey breast, skin on
4-6 cups prepared dressing (your favorite)
1/2 cup salted butter
1 beef bouillon cube
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Pound the turkey breast between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about one inch thick. If there’s a thicker end that resists flattening, you can butterfly it.
Arrange dressing down the center of the meat, skin side out. Roll the turkey around the dressing.
Using butcher’s twine, tie the stuffed turkey breast together to surround the dressing. Place it seam side down on a rack in a baking pan.
Melt butter, add bouillon cube and dissolve. Rub butter mixture on outside of roulade.
Place roulade in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn down to 325 and roast it for another 30 minutes. Remove to counter top and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Slice 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches thick and serve.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at email@example.com.