I’m beat. What about you? What’d you do this weekend? Mini Vaca? Relax? Eat at a new restaurant? Shop? Enjoy the phenomenal weather?
I had a relatively relaxing weekend that started with a causal night out Friday, a little bit of lounging and cooking on Saturday followed by a jam-packed Sunday of cooking, photographing, editing and a lovely little intermezzo brunch with some of my best gals.
Now, after almost 14 consecutive hours of blog work, I’m here, writing this post and ultimately failing. For one, my brain is pretty much out of commission; and two, I’m in the midst of trying to help plan our Greek vacation and can’t stop my eyes from drifting off my word document and onto the big wide world of Internet travel planning. I almost don’t even know where to begin, which is saying a lot because usually I can navigate through Trip Advisor and various other travel sites almost as well as Ravioli can maneuver through my purse to find the one piece of gum or chocolate buried beneath all my receipts and lip glosses. All I know at this point, is a pool is absolutely non-negotiable (surprisingly quite a few hotels do not have pools) and a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea is mandatory—oh and breakfast that’s included would be nice too.
Anyone here been to Greece? Any hotel or restaurant recommendations would be much appreciated!
Before I start rambling, I’m going to collect myself, and try to explain the whole reason for this post. Thanksgiving!!!
Minimizing all open browsers. Turning the TV off. Turning brain on….or at least as on as it can be at this point.
The great thing about food blogging is that I get to celebrate the holidays weeks before they actually come. Since we are a pretty traditional family, myself included, I like to have a somewhat un-traditional Thanksgiving for Cooking for Keeps. Here, I can have fun with tradition, get creative and even fail without having an epic meltdown. (Word to the wise, do NOT mess with me on Thanksgiving Day, I without fail, every year, take on waaaay too many dishes and consequently freak out when I realize there’s no way I’m going to get everything done– there are usually a few casualties)
Ever since I can remember we’ve had a traditional roasted Thanksgiving turkey, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I so look forward to it every year, but if you only have a few people coming over instead of the hundreds of people we typically have, a whole roasted turkey may not be all that realistic, which is why I came up with this twist on the classic. Plus, it also gives me an excuse to be able to eat turkey all year round – who says Thanksgiving has to be the only day the whole year we get to put ourselves into a turkey induced coma??
There are a lot of reasons I love a turkey roulade. One, they look really elegant, but are super simple to make. Two, they cook up lightening fast compared to a whole turkey. And three, with the butternut squash stuffing, you have a side dish AND your main course all in one pretty little package. Two dishes in one = less dishes for Kevin and significantly less stress for me.
Stuffing the roulade with pureed butternut squash and then baking it in a bath of chicken stock and apple cider not only gives the turkey tons of flavor, but also keeps it super moist (VERY important), and simultaneously creates a base for the gravy. I just love love the combination of the sweet butternut squash and crunchy texture of the pecans coupled with the mild flavor of the turkey and sort of sweet and savory apple cider gravy.
One bite with turkey, stuffing and gravy is literally like eating all of Thanksgiving in one big mouthful. I served everything with a big pile of mashed potatoes to round everything out, and let’s be serious, to have something else to drown in gravy, but roast potatoes would also be lovely, or a buttery Parker House roll, or even a little side of cornbread stuffing – definitely make the stuffing.
Happy almost Thanksgiving!
- 2 – 1 pound boneless, skinless turkey breasts
- 1 small butternut squash
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ⅛ teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
- 1 ¼ cup chicken stock, divided
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds. Place on a small baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Once squash is soft, either mash by hand or place in the food processor to puree. Place once cup of puree in a small bowl, add chopped pecans and ⅛ teaspoons salt. Raise heat on oven to 375 degrees.
- While the squash is cooking, place turkey breast in a large plastic bag. Using a meat tenderizer on the flat side or a rolling pin, flatten out turkey, until about ⅛ inch thick. Repeat with other breast.
- Season each breast on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Spread ½ cup of filling on the breast, leaving a ½ inch border around. Roll up, jelly roll style and secure every inch or two with bakers twine.
- In a medium oven-proof skillet heat remaining oil over a medium-high heat. Brown turkey on all sides.
- Pour ¼ cup apple cider and ¼ cup chicken stock in pan. Place in oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s fully cooked, it should read 165 degrees.
- Once turkey is fully cooked, transfer breasts to a plate and cover with foil while you make the gravy.
- In a measuring cup, vigorously whisk COLD chicken stock and flour. Whisk mixture into remaining apple cider and stock in skillet. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until thickened. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Slice turkey into one inch pieces and serve with gravy.
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