Not Your Average Turkey

For a festive gathering, I like to prepare a meal that I think is special. Most people think of baking a large turkey once or twice a year for the holidays, but my meal suggestion is not your average turkey. It is a stuffed turkey tenderloin that is elegant enough for any occasion and anytime of the year.

Turkey Tenderloin Stuffed With Herbed Cheese, Roasted Pepper, Sundried Tomato and Basil

The turkey is moist, flavorful and makes a beautiful presentation. There is another reason that you might want to prepare my turkey. The boneless, skinless meat is available throughout the year. It is also a healthy entrée that is quick to prepare. It can be assembled the day before and baked in less than an hour for your dinner.

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin (Turkey Bracciole)

  • 1 lb. turkey tenderloin*
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-8 large basil leaves
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 container of spreadable Garlic and Herb Boursin cheese (any soft cheese could be substituted) brought to room temperature
  • 2-3 Tbsp. drained and chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups of turkey or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

*This recipe will serve two people. Just increase the recipe for each two people who you are planning to serve.

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

Char the pepper until mostly black, place in paper bag and let cool for about 10 minutes. Rub the peel off, remove top and bottom and split open so that you have one large sheet of pepper and remove the seeds and membranes.

Ready to Roll and Tie

Butterfly the tenderloin, open like a book and flatten to an even thickness.  Rub the cut side of the turkey with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the turkey with the basil leaves and then the sheet of roasted pepper. Spread the pepper with the soft cheese and top with the sun dried tomato.

Pull up the two sides to form a long roll and tie securely. Cover each end with a piece of foil so that the cheese will not come out during baking. Tie lengthwise to hold foil in place.

Heat some oil in a sauté pan and brown the turkey all around. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and let rest 10 minutes. Add a cup or so of stock to the bottom of the roasting pan. Top the turkey with the pancetta slices, place the turkey in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature 160 degrees. Let rest for at least 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

A sauce can be made from the pan drippings, white wine and turkey or chicken stock. To serve, remove strings, foil and pancetta. Cut the ends off (the cooks treat) and slice. Spoon sauce onto each plate and top with 2 turkey slices.

For an added treat, I took the crispy pancetta that covered the tenderloin and topped it with oven roasted asparagus. For another side dish, buttery mashed potatoes, dressing or grilled polenta would be perfect.

As you can see, turkey can go from predictable to an elegant party dish.

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104 thoughts on “Not Your Average Turkey

  1. I really like everything about this. I’m a big fan of Boursin cheese and with the basil and yellow pepper it sounds flavor packed and colorful. I just ordered a pork tenderloin to butterfly and stuff for Christmas eve, or I’d be serving this. Thanks for the recipe Karen, I’ll be trying it soon. I want to thank you again for the blogger award, I promise one of these days, I’ll have time soon to post about it.

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Lea Ann. The turkey does make a pretty presentation at the table. You are welcome about the award…I know that this is a busy time of the year and that you will get to it.

  2. Karen – Sometimes we forget how versatile turkey is! Thanks for the reminder – it looks delicious and the presentation is beautiful. Take care, Susan

    1. Hi Tom, Thank you for your nice compliment. The crispy pancetta was delicious. It kept the turkey moist and then went perfect with the asparagus.

  3. This looks great, Karen! Every Thanksgiving, I wonder why I don’t have turkey more often throughout the year. This recipe is perfect and, best of all, there won’t be a 15 lb. behemoth in my fridge for a week afterward.

    1. Hi John, Thank you for the compliment. You can find the turkey tenderloins all year and it is a nice change from having so much chicken. I like this recipe because you don’t have to bake a giant turkey and then have leftovers forever.

    1. Hi Linda, I find that not only is this a beautiful way of serving turkey, it is perfect for when you are not cooking for a large crowd. For a dinner party I cook one tenderloin for every two people.

  4. Hi, Happy Holidays! 🙂
    This looks amazing and really good! It’s definitely on my list, which grows by the day 😀
    Thanks for the recipe!

  5. What a beautiful dish Karen – I think I just found my lunch for the 25th. We won’t be buying a full turkey! Well be eating something very small, since we’ve eaten so much Christmas food already recently. This looks wonderful – tasty, flavoursome… I’m definitely going to have this hopefully! 🙂

    1. Thank you Charles, for your nice compliment. I do hope you will enjoy the dish as much as we do. The flavors are so good besides it being a pretty dish.

    1. Hi Sarah, Thank you for your nice compliment. This turkey is so moist and has so much flavor that I think you would really like this recipe. Thank you for stopping by to visit.

  6. Hi Karen – What a beautiful dish. I think this would make a lovely New Year’s Even dinner. We love turkey and I don’t prepare it nearly enough. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything labeled “turkey tenderloin.” I have a boneless turkey breast in the freezer. Is this the same thing and if not, do you think it would work as well. Is the tenderloin a slice of the breast? I just printed your recipe for orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage and will prepare it for tonight’s dinner.

    1. Hi Cathy, Thank you for the compliment. The tenderloin is not the same as a boneless turkey breast (it is actually part of the breast) but would work just fine. I have done something similar with the breast…just make sure to butterfly and flatten. You will have a much larger roll and will need to adjust the baking time about 15 to 30 minutes. Just check the internal temperature to be sure. Our markets carry the tenderloins all year long. They are a fresh Shady Brook product and come two in a package and are natural without any marinades. I hope you enjoy the orecchiette tonight.

  7. Hi Karen 🙂 Your turkey looks amazing! I was going to try something similar this year, but I couldn’t find a turkey tenderloin and I wasn’t up to the task of deboning my turkey breast. I will have to look harder next year … that is definitely the way to go! I’ve copied your recipe to try it out. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Cher, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. My markets carry the turkey tenderloins all year. The ones I get are from Shady Brook and come two in a package. I find them where the ground turkey meat is located. I hope you enjoy the dish whenever you give it a try. Happy Holidays to you as well.

  8. This looks absolutely delicious and so easy to make. I was just thinking of making a stuffed and rolled turkey breast for Christmas…but may have to rethink that now, or make this a bit later. For sure I’m going to try it, thanks! Merry Christmas to you Karen!

    1. Hi Betsy, Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. I know you will like this recipe. My husband and I kept saying how good it was and that there wasn’t anything that should be changed about the recipe. It is the best turkey recipe that I have done yet. I hope you will enjoy it.

  9. This looks absolutely mouth watering..the asparagus goes so nicely with this dish. I love these rolls and the peppers and boursin cheese spread makes a great stuffing…love of flavor! I like those tenderloins and occasionally I grab some at the store…I might have to see if I have any in my freezer..this would make a nice dish for New Year’s Eve.

    1. Hi Becki, Thank you for your very nice compliment. The asparagus with with crispy pancetta was an added bonus to this meal. I agree…it would be great for a New Year’s Eve meal.

  10. Stunning! I did a stuffed turkey breast last year (my first one) and it was delicious! We usually go out on Christmas – so this was a real treat for me! Yours is bright, colorful, beautiful and I suspect delicious!

    1. Hi Carol, Thank you so much for your very nice compliment. It really isn’t what people think of when preparing turkey. I hope I inspire cooks to look at turkey in a new way.

    1. Hi Susan, Thank you for you nice compliment. This is a great recipe for entertaining. I really like dishes that I can prepare ahead and finish on the day of the party.

  11. At first I thought you wrote, “another reason you must prepare my turkey”… and you should have:) this is the perfect, beautiful entree dish with all the flavors I love, simplicity and beauty all rolled (literally) into one dish. I’ve been wanting to entertain but reluctant because it’s not barbecue season (shhh) and I don’t have a ton of “oven” dishes, thanks so much!! Now I do!
    Merry Christmas!!!

    1. Hi Smidge, Thank you for your very nice comment. This is a nice recipe for entertaining because it can be prepped in advance and then baked right before your meal. I hope you will enjoy the recipe.

  12. What a lovely change from the ordinary roast turkey. I think this would be delicious with chicken breasts too, for an everyday meal.

  13. NOt your average turkey indeed. We never really do the big turkey thing because it’s usually just my husband and I. This would be perfect for us. Turkey also never looked so elegant! Thanks for introducing me to your blog.

    1. Hi France, Thank you for visiting my blog and your nice comment. My husband and I never do a big turkey either. I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it.

  14. A dish that seems beautiful in its simplicity of technique and ingredients but packs a stunning impact in presentation and, I’m sure, taste. I’ll have to try something like this in the spring when I have some of my own basil leaves to add to the dish.

      1. I was directed here from Charles’ post on his “Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide” blog and look forward to browsing through your other posts. 🙂 Merry Xmas.

  15. I just prepared a pork loin like this for a Christmas dinner. It was my first experience butterflying myself and I was afraid I’d mess it up — but I didn’t and it was just great. But I wish I’d had the boursin cheese stuffing instead. Next time.

    1. Hi Rosemary, Thank you for visiting my blog and your comment. The herbed Boursin really helps keep the turkey moist and adds flavor. It would be the same with pork.

    1. Hi Charles, I’m glad that I inspired you to create your dish. Turkey stuffed with chestnuts and figs sounds great. Enjoy your vacation in Sweden.

  16. Going to have to try this – it looks delicious. Also hi from a fellow New Englander (I’m in Brussels now, but you never forget your roots :))

    1. Hi Jessi, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. I do hope you will try this recipe…it was delicious, moist and made a lovely presentation. It is always nice to hear from someone who is familiar with where I live. You live in a beautiful city.

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