Encouraged by our success in the Daring Cooks ballotine challenge back in April this year, we decided to attempt a ballotine of Turkey for Thanksgiving. It was a bit of a gamble: we were expecting guests, and although they were all family or friends who would be forgiving of a culinary debacle, we obviously wanted the day to go well. Thankfully (hah!), with a little help from Jaques Pepin’s excellent Youtube video we were able to remove the turkey bones without tears (either pronunciation/definition works – neither ripping nor sobbing was involved…)
Here, then, is a summary of our Turkey Ballotine adventure. The stuffing is made of parsley and lemon, a classic combination. The following quantities prepared enough stuffing for our 15lb bird: it can be scaled down according to the size of your fowl, though larger birds will still only need this quantity as their cavities do not get much larger than those of a 15lb bird.
Parsley and Lemon Stuffing12oz fresh breadcrumbs
Grated zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup chopped parsley
6oz melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and parsley in a food processor, and season to taste. Mix in the melted butter with a fork, then mix in the eggs. (We prepared everything in advance except for the egg, which was added just before stuffing the bird)
1. Our beautiful Diestel turkey (from Guerra’s of San Francisco, of course). We rubbed the skin with salt the previous day and air dried it in the refrigerator overnight, then rinsed off the salt before making the ballotine:
2. Deboned and ready for stuffing! AS Jacques Pepin puts it, we have rearranged Mother Nature – the turkey tenderloins fit nicely in the gap between the breasts and the legs:
3. With stuffing in place:
4. Ready for the oven – we rubbed some herb oil over the skin before roasting at 350 °F for about 2 hours. We made a little platform from potatoes and carrots, so that the turkey wouldn’t sit in its fat/juices.
5. Et voila! The rendered fat was used to make the roux for our gravy, and the pan juices made a wonderful natural gravy browning.
The carved bird can be seen at the top of this post. Thanks to Jeff, Myint, Phil, Deepa, Luke and Jack for sharing Thanksgiving with us this year!