Turkey Breast Stuffed With Pears, Fennel and Hazelnuts 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nov 19, 2014

When you're serving a crowd, instead of roasting one huge turkey or two smaller ones, try supplementing a 14-pounder with a stuffed turkey breast like this one. Sliced leftovers, plus a bit of cranberry sauce, make terrific sandwiches.

Boning a turkey breast is not difficult; check out the video online. You'll need kitchen twine.

We recommend ordering a bone-in turkey breast from your favorite butcher, because it will come with a good portion of skin attached, making the breast easier to roll up.

VIDEO: How to prepare a turkey breast for stuffing

Make Ahead: The stuffing can be prepared and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. The turkey can be stuffed, tied, wrapped and refrigerated a day in advance; bring to a cool room temperature before roasting. Refrigerate leftovers wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 4 days.

8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (from 2 ribs)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fennel (from 1 large cored bulb)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat bread crumbs (from 2 to 3 pieces crust-on whole-wheat bread)
  • 1 cup skinned hazelnuts, toasted (may substitute pecan halves; see NOTE)
  • 1 to 2 medium, firm Bosc pears or Anjou pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • One 7-pound bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
  • Pomegranate molasses, for drizzling
  • Olive oil, for coating


Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and fennel, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Season with the dried thyme and a good pinch each of salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs, toasted and chopped hazelnuts, pears, dates and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion mixture and stir to incorporate. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed.

Combine the broth, wine, cider and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a heatproof cup; microwave on LOW until the butter has melted. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour half of the broth mixture over the stuffing mixture; stir until thoroughly incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack inside a turkey roasting pan.

Line a work surface with two large pieces of plastic wrap. Place the turkey breast on top, breast side up. Feel where the breastbone is at the top, then use a sharp, flexible knife to begin making increasingly deeper cuts as close to the bone as possible on one side of it, down as far as you can go toward the backbone without detaching the flesh and skin completely. Repeat on the other side; at this point, the breastbone and most of the ribs will be exposed. Cut away/discard any excess skin on the sides; you should leave just enough to cover the meat.

Lift the bone carcass up so you can see underneath, where the flesh/skin is still attached; make shallow cuts around to release it, as needed. The bones should come free in one piece. Reserve for making stock.

The turkey breast should be open and flat on the plastic wrap, skin side down. Find the tenderloins; there will be one on either side of the center, with white tendons running through them. Detach and reserve them for another use. Make shallow cuts in any large sections of turkey flesh that remain attached to the skin; this will help promote even cooking.

Cut about 8 pieces of twine, each about 2 feet long. Run one of them vertically under the center of the breast, and arrange the others horizontally, spaced evenly a few inches apart; you are making a grid that you’ll use to tie up the stuffed breast.

Drizzle the flesh with pomegranate molasses; you’ll use about 1 1/2 tablespoons total.

Cover the breast with the stuffing; you should be able to fit all of it over the flesh. Roll and tuck each side toward the center. You’ll want to end up with the split/opening on the underside. (The neatness of this maneuver depends on whether there is plenty of skin attached to the flesh.) Tie tightly to secure the stuffed breast; transfer to the roasting pan. if some stuffing comes out either end, just tuck it back in after you've placed the stuffed breast in the pan. Rub the skin with oil, then season all over with salt and pepper.

Roast (on the middle rack) for about 75 minutes, using the remaining broth-cider mixture to baste the breast every 15 to 20 minutes; you might not use all of it. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat (not all the way into the center, where the stuffing is) registers 160 degrees, and the skin is golden brown.

Let the breast rest for at least 20 minutes before discarding the twine and cutting into 1/2-to-3/4-inch slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Toast the hazelnuts for a few minutes in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan to avoid scorching. Cool, then coarsely chop.

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Recipe Source

Based on a recipe from the blog TheItalianDish.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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