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.
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.
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.