March 28, 2022
By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley
I'm always trying to think of something unique to do with wild turkey breast. It's not the easiest protein to work with; being so lean and light, I don't find it as flavorful and juicy as other wild game meats. But with mildness comes versatility. If treated like a blank canvas, wild turkey – much like chicken – can take on just about any flavors and treatment.
Turkey roulade is a popular dish at the dinner table, especially for those not wanting to cook an entire turkey for special occasions. And without the dark meat and fat, it is also a healthier option for those looking to cut down on calories. But healthier doesn't have to mean flavorless – roulade allows you to load up the breast with whatever herbs and spices you like. Additionally, the brine adds moisture and flavor into the meat as well. On the other hand, if calories are not a factor, don't hold back on the cheese. You can also wrap your roulade with bacon. I had some leftover apple butter from last fall and that is how this recipe was born.
Prep time: 4 hours and 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 wild turkey breast (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried coriander
- Quarter of a small onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Apple butter
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Special equipment: cooking twine
- To make the brine, combine water, kosher salt and sugar in a bowl, and stir until dissolved. Submerge turkey breast in the brine, weighing it down with a plate. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours – the longer the saltier.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove turkey breast from brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Butterfly turkey breast and lay between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a mallet to get a slightly rectangular shape with uniform thickness – about 1 centimeter. (The more even you can get the breast, the easier it will be to roll later.) Set aside.
- Combine garlic, rosemary, thyme, coriander, minced onion, parsley and apple butter. Evenly spread apple mixture onto the flattened turkey breast.
- Roll flattened turkey breast into a log and secure with cooking twine. Rub olive oil over the roulade and sprinkle cracked pepper on top.
- Place turkey log into a rimmed cookie sheet, and bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. If desired, quickly broil the roulade toward the end for a brown crust. Allow roulade to rest for at least 5 minutes. Discard cooking twine and slice.