Christmas Turkey Roulade with Stuffing

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Whole deboned turkey; meat layered with delicious sweet pork stuffing and rolled into a deluxe turkey roulade roast – ideal for special occasions, events, weddings, and Christmas.

Recipe Story

I come from a background with influences from Northern Italy and the coastal regions of Croatia. In our Christmas tradition, we typically enjoy a succulent lamb roast, while a whole turkey or turkey roulade is not a common part of the Christmas menu. Baked potatoes and assorted roasted vegetables almost always accompany the lamb roast.
Since relocating to the UK a long time ago, I switched from roasted lamb to traditional festive turkey. After experimenting with many different ways of preparing turkey over the years, I found myself running out of inspiration or perhaps simply growing tired of the same routine, no matter how I cooked it – whether stuffed with various fillings or served with an array of sauces.
A few years ago, I decided to part ways with the classic whole turkey preparation and try a more challenging yet incredibly rewarding approach – to debone the entire turkey and create something special with the meat – a whole turkey roulade roast! The discarded bones also found a purpose in delicious gravy and an amazing soup!

This recipe is for an already deboned turkey. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to embark on the turkey deboning journey, check my simple “How to debone a whole turkey” guide, or if you have a butcher to handle it for you, even better! Just do not forget to ask for any leftovers – the bones and giblets.
So, once you have deboned turkey meat ready, it is time to decide what to do with it. You can lightly season and roll for a perfect roast without bones, or prepare a stuffing of your choice. You can keep the stuffing simple with basic seasoning and herbs or elevate it to a luxurious festive treat for the whole family and friends, be it for Thanksgiving or Christmas! This recipe includes the perfect stuffing that can also be used for the traditional roasted turkey, chicken, or other bird of your choice.

Essential Ingredients & Substitutions
  • turkey – I bought a 3.7kg turkey. When deboned, stuffed, and rolled, this whole turkey roulade yielded 14 slices, each approximately 2cm wide, excluding the ends to ensure uniform slices for serving. I served 2-3 slices per portion, making it sufficient for 4-6 people. It’s crucial to choose a fresh turkey over frozen for the best outcome.
    Instead of turkey, you can opt for a large chicken, goose, or duck. If your local butcher can’t debone the whole turkey for you, and you’d rather not attempt it yourself, you can purchase large turkey breasts. Butterfly them before pounding to yield a larger piece of meat. It will be ideal for stuffing and rolling into smaller turkey roulades. Then, continue with the layer of stuffing as per the recipe
  • sausage meat – Choose your favourite fresh sausages, whether infused with herbs, fruit, spices, or any other preference. Ensure they are fresh, not the dry or cured variety, as you will extract all the sausage meat and mix it with the pork mince.
  • minced pork – Opt for a variety with a lower fat content as you aim for a dense stuffing that holds the roulade together.
    Feel free to experiment with chicken mince as an alternative to pork, or explore different minced meat options to add a unique twist to your twist to your Christmas turkey roulade creation.
  • apricots – If you haven’t cooked with fruit before, don’t be alarmed; it complements meat perfectly, imparting sweetness and a softer texture overall. While you won’t distinctly taste the apricot, it adds that ideal sweet note, enhancing the deliciousness of the meat! You can use both fresh apricots ( just make sure they are ripe) or preserved ones – they’re my favourite. If using fresh, be sure to peel the skin first.
    Alternatively, try peaches, whether fresh or preserved. For a more traditional approach, pork pairs wonderfully with apples. Avoid using apple sauce; instead, choose sweet apple varieties, ensuring they are ripe.
  • bacon rashers – Feel free to use either smoked or unsmoked; it’s up to you. I’d recommend opting for the unsmoked variety to avoid overpowering the overall dish taste with bacon flavour. Smoked bacon might be a tad too much. However, if you’re all about that smokiness, then go for it! Bacon rashers ( or slices) are primarily for decorating the Christmas turkey roulade, adding that final touch.
    Instead of bacon rashers for covering and decorating, you can opt for thinly sliced prosciutto or ham.
Cooking & Tips

Stuffing – it’s a good idea to prepare it a day or two beforehand. This allows the flavours to develop as all the ingredients meld together. Plus, it saves time on the day of roasting, having your stuffing ready to go. Ensure all ingredients are finely chopped to blend seamlessly with the minced meat. Aim for dense stuffing to support the entire roulade, providing a visually appealing presentation when sliced.

If, for any reason, there isn’t sufficient stuffing to cover the entire turkey, don’t worry. Simply distribute it evenly; it’s alright if there are some gaps. Everything will meld together during the roasting process.
You may not have a thick layer of stuffing, but the end result will still look appealing!


Optional ingredient – enhance the stuffing by incorporating a beaten egg for an even smoother filling.


Tip – You can prepare two different types of stuffing and spread them half and half, so one side of the roulade features one flavour, and the other side boasts a different one. This way, you’ll have a variety for everyone!

Deboned turkey meat – half with mushrooms stuffing and half with apple and raisins stuffing

Roulade – The roulade can be prepared a day in advance. Once rolled, wrap it in cling film as a sausage and store it in the fridge. Finish it off the next day. Or – dress it up and have it completely ready to roast, storing it in the fridge until the next day.

Dressing – You can include parsley or celery leaves instead of bay leaves, choosing your preferred herb. Thyme pairs perfectly with turkey, so add a few sprigs. Experiment with prosciutto or various hams in place of bacon rashers, ensuring they are thinly sliced.

Leftovers -If you have any leftovers, don’t throw it away! It is perfect for a quick and easy turkey risotto or turkey curry! Recipes coming soon, so please check back for updates!

Turkey roulade roast leftovers curry
Turkey leftovers simple and delicious risotto served with ham on Boxing day
Presentation & Serving

Serve this delicious dish hot as the main highlight of your festive meal, complemented by roasted potatoes and a variety of colourful vegetables. Slice the roulade into 1-2cm thin slices and pour over some homemade gravy (recipe coming soon).

Christmas turkey roulade served with roasted potato slices, runner beans, a medley of root vegetables, and red cabbage – all generously bathed in delicious turkey gravy.
Turkey roulade slice served with roasted potatoes, pigs in blankets, runner beans and bab carrots

You can also serve it as a cold appetizer with cranberry sauce or chutney;

Recipe Card

Whole festive turkey roulade with special stuffing

Festive deboned turkey meat layered with pork stuffing and rolled into turkey roulade
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3.5 – 4 kg turkey
  • 14 – 16 rashers unsmoked bacon
  • 50 g butter
  • 10-12 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp vegetable seasoning
  • salt, pepper - to taste

STUFFING

  • 250 g ground pork
  • 2 – 3 pork sausages
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 whole apricots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 leek - green part
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • freshly ground pepper
  • vegetable seasoning or salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsp beetroot or cranberry jam

Instructions

STUFFING – (prepare a day or two earlier)

  • In a large bowl, squeeze the meat from the sausages, discard the skin. Add pork mince.
    turkey roulade stuffing preparation - pork mince and sausage meat in a bowl
  • Prepare apricots. You can mash them or dice them into small cubes.
    Preserved apricots for stuffing
  • Fry chopped leek and onion in olive oil for about 2-3 minutes.
    Allow it to cool slightly.
  • Now, add leek, onion, chopped garlic, apricots, and herbs to the meat. Add seasoning. Mix well! Cover and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
    Pork stuffing in a bowl

STUFFING THE DEBONED TURKEY

  • Place the turkey meat on the working surface. If you haven't pounded the meat yet, do so now to flatten and even it out, preparing it for the stuffing layer. Season with salt and pepper.
    Whole deboned turkey meat ready for stuffing
  • Spread the stuffing over the turkey meat, lightly pressing it with a fork to a thickness of 1/2 cm. Spread it all over.
    How to stuff deboned turkey
  • Now put the jam on one side, where the dark-leg meat is. Start rolling the meat from the legs towards the breast meat. As you roll the turkey, the breast meat will end up at the top of the roast.
    whole deboned turkey meat with sweet pork stuffing
  • Carefully roll the turkey and turn it to sit on the finishing edge.
    whole deboned turkey roulade
  • If your roulade isn't holding a perfect shape or looks messy, place it on several large pieces of cling film, making sure to wrap it tightly, like a large sausage. e. Let it chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to absorb all the flavours and take on a well-shaped form, ready for dressing and roasting.
    whole turkey roulade wrapped in cling film
  • Cut the ordinary cord to 30 – 40cm; you'll need about 10 pieces. Carefully pass the cord under the turkey and tie it, repeating the process until the turkey is securely fastened. Trim any excess rope as needed.
    For the endings of the roulade, stretch the skin to overlap and secure it with a couple of cocktail sticks.
    whole turkey roulade tied and ready to roast
  • Cover the top of the roulade with bacon rashers. Secure bay leaves by gently tucking them under each bacon rasher. Finish with a small knob of butter.
    deboned whole turkey roulade decorated with bacon rashers

BAKING

  • Place it on a large baking tray. Cover with foil and put it in a preheated oven at 220°C. Roast for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 170°C and continue roasting for an additional 1h 30 min covered with foil.
  • Then remove the turkey, remove the foil, increase the temperature to 220°C, and return it to the oven to brown the top for another 10 minutes.
    Perfectly roasted whole turkey roulade
  • When done, let it rest for about 30-45 minutes, then you can slice and serve.
    Tip: do not discard the oil and juices from baking; they will be used for the sauce
  • Serve warm as the main festive dish with roasted potatoes and various vegetables.

Notes

The total calorie count for the entire meal is approximately 4,200 calories. If the roulade is sliced into 16 equal portions, each slice would contribute approximately 263 calories. Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on specific ingredients and preparation methods.
Calories: 263kcal
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: British, Classic, Signature Collection
Diet: Low Fat

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