Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sylvie's Turkey Breast Ballotine

For this year's Thanksgiving dinner, we traveled to a remote village close to the Mont St. Michel castle and dined in a historic stone manor with walls so thick that they trap all the aromas of the food being prepared in the kitchen. Well, not exactly, but that's how Chef Bernard Guillas describes his sister Sylvie's home in France, where she grows her own vegetables and raises chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and sheep.

Sylvie's Turkey Breast Ballotine is featured in the Wings chapter of Flying Pans - Two Chefs, One World, the award-winning cookbook by Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver.  It is also The Marine Room's featured recipe of the month. When we planned on just three of us for Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted a change from roasting an entire turkey with all the traditional sides. After spending an afternoon with Chef Bernard at Rancho La Puerta, I was inspired to prepare something from his cookbook.

Chefs Bernard and Ron have a passion for fine cuisine, travel, and life. Flying Pans takes you on a culinary voyage through forty countries, combining recipes with anecdotes, trivia, and stories. The recipes were photographed at San Diego's Macy's School of Cooking, and were all styled by the chefs themselves.

"The role of a chef is to create a feast for the senses...
 telling the tale of a region and its people via taste, texture, scent, and sight.
I am always striving to discover new styles of cuisine with original cultural roots."
 - Chef Bernard Guillas

Sylvie's Turkey Breast Ballotine

Sylvie's Turkey Breast Ballotine
Croissant Sausage Stuffing, Glazed Carrots, Cipollinis, Apple Cider Gravy
Minimally adapted from Flying Pans - Two Chefs, One World
The Marine Room's Featured Recipe for November 2011
Serves 8


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup stemmed, diced oyster mushrooms (I substituted chanterelles)
2 cups minced leeks, white part only
1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup diced sun dried tart cherries
1 teaspoon chopped sage
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chicken stock
6 links hot Italian sausages, casings removed (about 3 cups)
8 large croissants, cubed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 4-pound boneless free range turkey breast
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, leeks, hazelnuts, cherries, sage and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes without browning, stirring often. Transfer mixture to large mixing bowl. Add chicken stock. Fold in sausage and croissants.

Place turkey breast on cutting board. Butterfly-cut breast lengthwise to create pocket. Place two thirds of stuffing in center. Roll. Tie with butcher twine. Transfer remaining stuffing to baking dish. Cover.

Place turkey in roasting pan skin side up. Dot with butter. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Bake 1 hour or until center of stuffing reaches 160 degrees, basting often. Bake reserved stuffing during last 30 minutes of cooking turkey. Transfer turkey to cutting board. Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium heat to make sauce.

Apple Cider Sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 green apples, cored, chopped
4 leaves sage
2 tablespoons sifted flour
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup sparkling apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Add butter, shallots, apples and sage to roasting pan. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add balsamic and apple cider. Bring to boil. Add chicken stock. Bring to simmer. Reduce to sauce consistency. Strain through fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Relish:

1 cup dried cranberries
1 pound fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 stick cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mint sprigs for garnish

Place all ingredients, except mint, in saucepan. Cook, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have popped and reduced to relish consistency, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl, or individual serving ramekins. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with mint.

Vegetables and Presentation:

1/2 cup verjus (you can substitute ½ cup of Savignon Blanc plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
1/2 pound young carrots, peeled, trimmed
1/2 pound cipollini onions, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon minced mint
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add butter, verjus, honey, cipollini onions and carrots to large skillet over medium heat. Bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Cook 2 minutes. Uncover. Cook until liquid is syrupy. Add mint. Toss. Adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Slice turkey breast into 1-inch thick slices. Place in center of warm serving plate. Garnish with carrots and cipollinis. Spoon sauce onto plate. Serve with cranberry relish.

Fresh ingredients for the Croissant-Sausage Stuffing

Chopped and ready to be sauteed

Large Croissants

Stuffed, rolled, tied, and ready for the oven

Some of the Cranberry Relish ingredients

Cranberry Relish

This may become a new Thanksgiving tradition in our home

Newfie Notes:
  • I purchased a 4.5 lb. boneless turkey breast. When I unwrapped it, I discovered it was actually one full breast, or two half breasts. I decided to make two ballotines at that point, one from each half breast. Not knowing how to butterfly a turkey breast, I watched a few videos online. This one by Martha Stewart was helpful (but I still made John do it!)
  • My turkey breasts took a bit longer than an hour, especially after opening the oven and basting often. Be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature, and remove from oven when the center of the stuffing reaches 160 degrees F. Allow to rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
  • I bought day-old croissants for half price.
  • Chanterelles are extremely expensive. The recipe calls for Oyster mushrooms.  I won't make that mistake again!
  • I was unable to find verjus. As indicated above, Chef Bernard recommends substituting 1/2 cup of Savignon Blanc plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
  • The Apple Cider Sauce is out of this world!
  • Don't wait until next Thanksgiving to try this recipe. It would be lovely for Christmas, or any special occasion.


Steph said...

Looks terrific! I've got to try the croissant stuffing...great idea. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying our wonderful "fall" weather.

Kai said...

I'm glad you ended up not spending Thanksgiving with just the three of you and gave us all a chance to taste these delicious treats. I especially liked the gravy.

Peter @Feed Your Soul Too said...

We love a fried turkey too. I love the sriracha addition. I featured this recipe on my Friday Five - Thanksgiving Turkey addition over at Feed Your Soul Too -

Peter @Feed Your Soul Too said...

We love a fried turkey too. I love the sriracha addition. I featured this recipe on my Friday Five - Thanksgiving Turkey addition over at Feed Your Soul Too -