Maple Brined, Ancho-Scallion Boneless Turkey Breast Roll with Apple-Butter Pecan Stuffing
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Cook time: 
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Yield: 8 to 12 servings
Ancho-Scallion butter adapted from Food and Wine
If you want something smaller, use a whole chicken breast for a chicken roulade for two! Just cut the stuffing in half.
  • One 3 to 3½ lb whole, boneless turkey breast with skin removed in one whole piece, wrapped and refrigerated until time to roll the breast, then butterflied and pounded to about ½-inch to 1-inch thickness.*
Maple Brine
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
Ancho-Scallion Butter Rub
  • 2 ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded **
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper
Butter Pecan - Apple Stuffing
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons, divided 4, 4 and 2.
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans
  • 5 cups day old bread of your choice (I used ciabatta, crust removed), hand torn or cut into 2-inch cubes. If not a day old, oven-dry at 200 F for about an hour, after tearing or cutting into cubes.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, cleaned well and chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • A few leaves of fresh sage, julienned
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • ¼ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the brine and brine the turkey breast
  1. Bring all the ingredients, except the turkey breast, to a boil in a pot on the stove..until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.
  2. Pour brine into a pot or gallon bag and add turkey breast to cold brine. Let brine in the refrigerator 4 to 6 hours, but no more than 8!
  3. Remove turkey breast from brine and rinse well under cold, running water. Pat completely dry and continue with recipe.
Make the Ancho-Scallion Butter Rub
  1. In a small skillet, toast the ancho chiles until they just start to blister, about 4 minutes. Place the chiles in a small bowl and pour boiling water on top of them to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  2. In a food processor, combine the chiles, butter, garlic and the chopped scallions and purée until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper. Carefully loosen the turkey breast skin and rub half of the ancho-scallion butter over the breast meat. I decided not to loosen the turkey skin since I didn't want to risk tearing it. You need the skin to cover as much as the breast as possible when rolling it, so I rubbed some on the pounded breast meat before spreading the stuffing on top. Let sit until ready to stuff, roll and tie. OR, if you remove the skin in one piece to wrap around the stuffed and rolled turkey breast when ready to roast, of course you'll have no problem saturing the breast with the rub, inside-out.
Make the Butter Pecan - Apple Stuffing
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, or don't if you are toasting the pecans in a skillet.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and stir together with the chopped pecans until fully coated. Spread the butter coated pecans in an even layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 350° for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring them around once half way through. until pecans are toasted (you'll be able to smell them). Remove from oven, and let cool.
  3. Alternatively, In a pan or skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add pecans and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes. Spread across sheet of foil or parchment to cool.
  4. Place bread cubes or pieces in a large bowl. Melt the other 4 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan and add the onions, leeks and garlic. Saute until soft. Pour on top of bread. Melt the last two tablespoons of butter in the same pan and sauté the apples until lightly browned. Add the herbs and sauté for another two minutes. Scrape it all into bowl with the bread, onions, leeks and garlic. Stir in buttered pecans.
  5. Stir together chicken broth or stock and cream. Warm in a pot on the stove,. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour over stuffing mixture in bowl. IMPORTANT - the juices from the turkey will moisten the stuffing, so if you like a really moist stuffing, add all the chicken broth-cream mixture like I did, which makes the turkey breast easier to roll. If not, add liquid until it's the consistency you prefer, and use less in the turkey.
  6. Let cool completely before stuffing turkey breast ( I refrigerate it for 1 hour after it cools to room temperature)..or, you can bake this stuffing on its own. Spoon into a lightly buttered baking dish, cover with buttered foil, and bake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 35 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more to brown the top. Since you will have leftover stuffing, you'll need to do this anyway.
Assemble and Roast
  1. Make sure the whole breast is butterflied and pounded flat enough that the two breast halves come together. If proving difficult, have someone really strong or your butcher do this because I had a hell of a time and never got them pounded together or as flat as I wanted, not to mention, my arm still hurts. But, I forgot to butterfly the breast prior to pounding, so that's why.
  2. Rub the meat with half the ancho-scallion butter, then spread about two to three cups of stuffing all over the meat...pushing it to about 1-inch from the ends of the pounded meat. Make sure you don't spread it to the past that since it will ooze out when you roll it. Some will ooze out anyway..but don't worry about it.
  3. From the long end..start to roll the breast. Once rolled as much as you can roll it without losing half your stuffing...grab the whole piece of skin you set aside in the fridge and wrap it carefully around the turkey roll, making sure you cover as much area as possible without tearing it. Using cotton twine, tie the skin wrapped roll at 1 to 2-inch intervals. There are various methods of doing THIS and THIS, but since my stuffing was oozing and the skin wasn't covering completely, I just made simple double knot ties 2-inches apart, using about 6 pieces of long twine. To make it more secure, I also tied it vertically by taking an extra long piece of twine and weaving it through the horizontal ties on both sides....tying both ends of the twine together, tightly, on one end. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Place rolled turkey breast on a lightly oiled rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet covered with foil. Rub the tied roast..all and bottom, lifting as you go along, with the remaining ancho - scallion butter.
  5. Place on the middle rack of your oven, and roast for 20 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and roast for another 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 155 degrees F in the middle. If not stuffing the breast...roast until the thickest part of the breast registers 145 degrees F.
  6. Let rolled breast sit for 20 minutes before slicing..then slice into about ½ to 1-inch slices and arrange on a platter. Enjoy!
*If you can't find a whole, rolled,boneless turkey breast with skin in your meat section, buy a whole turkey and have the butcher cut it off for you (which is what I did..using the rest of the turkey for roasted legs and stock), or buy just a whole turkey breast and have the butcher debone it for you..or do it yourself if you feel comfortable
**Ancho chiles are fully ripened, dried Poblano chiles. They can be found in small cellophane bags in most supermarkets.
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at