Turn Passover turkey into something special

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Boneless, skinless turkey breast can make for a healthy meal. But it doesn't exactly scream excitement.

Preparing a turkey roulade for Passover is a nice alternative to the classic stuffed capon or breast of veal, as long as you make a stuffing that isn't based on breadcrumbs.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Preparing a turkey roulade for Passover is a nice alternative to the classic stuffed capon or breast of veal, as long as you make a stuffing that isn't based on breadcrumbs.

This is where a little creative pounding can come in handy. By using a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound thin turkey breast cutlets, you are able to stuff and roll the meat.

The resulting roulade not only looks impressive, all trussed up with twine, but when cut it creates elegant pinwheel slices.

Preparing a turkey roulade for Passover is a nice alternative to the classic stuffed capon or breast of veal, as long as you make a stuffing that isn't based on breadcrumbs.

In many stuffing recipes, matzo bread (broken into pieces) or matzo meal can be substituted for the standard leavened bread, which is forbidden during Passover. But there are other alternatives, as well.

Dried fruits and nuts make an excellent dressing for turkey or roast chicken, and their concentrated flavors and inherent richness mean you won't need much additional fat.

In many Jewish regional traditions, rice is considered kosher for Passover since it technically is a grass seed and not a grain. Wild rice in particular makes a nice stuffing, especially when combined with dried fruits, such as apricots or dates.

The same is true of quinoa, which is the seed of a grass.

The quinoa-mushroom stuffing for this roulade is based on a pilaf created by Laura Frankel, author of "Jewish Cook for All Seasons." The stuffing also can be made and served as a standalone side-dish, as well.

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TURKEY BREAST ROULADE WITH QUINOA-MUSHROOM STUFFING

Start to finish: 2 hours 15 minutes (1 hour active)

Servings: 8

For the stuffing:

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3/4 cup sliced cremini or shiitake mushrooms

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

For the turkey and gravy:

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast cutlets

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup white wine (kosher for Passover)

3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion

8 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

4 teaspoons potato starch or cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

To prepare the stuffing, thoroughly rinse and drain the quinoa. In a medium saucepan over high, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, then cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Toss with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the mushrooms and shallot and saute until lightly browned and any liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture, pine nuts, lemon juice salt and pepper to the quinoa, then set aside.

To prepare turkey, heat the oven to 300 F.

Place the turkey cutlets on a cutting board. Cover the cutlets with plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound them to an even 1/4 inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap.

Spread the stuffing over each flattened cutlet. Roll each cutlet into a cylinder. Secure with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals. Sprinkle the rolled turkey with salt and pepper.

In a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add half of the rolled cutlets and cook, turning from time to time, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons of oil and cutlets.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the wine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add the broth and return to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the browned turkey cutlets. Pour in the wine mixture from the skillet, then add the thyme.

Cover the Dutch oven and bake until an instant read thermometer inserted at the center of the cutlets registers 170 F, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

To make the gravy, strain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the potato starch or cornstarch and water, then add it to the simmering gravy, whisking until lightly thickened. Add the mustard and lemon juice, whisking until smooth. Season with pepper and cook until heated through.

Remove the string from the cutlets. Carve into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with gravy.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 303 calories; 76 calories from fat; 8 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 56 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrate; 38 g protein; 1 g fiber; 313 mg sodium.


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