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Slow Cooked Boneless Turkey Breast stuffed with a turkey thigh

I haven't seen any info on this... hopefully someone can help...This was my test a few weeks ago. I boned a 12 pound turkey, and then boned the breast and the thigh. (The total combined weight was 4.5 lbs. for the two parts) I then seasoned them individually with my own mixture of herbs and butter and refrigerated it for 24 hours. The next day, I stuffed the thigh (skinless) into the breast and tied it. I wasn't sure how long to cook it, and by mistake, I used the convection oven. Well, it came out on the overdone side, and I was never sure how long it would take. I started it at 450º for 1/2 hour, then turned the oven down to 325º. I'm doing this next week for T-day and I don't want to overdo it again. This time I will use the regular oven. I do have a thermapen thermometer that I just got... and, I have probe I can use in the over too. I would like a good approximate time so I can plan the rest of the dinner accordingly... does this make sense??? Hopefully so. This is my first time using this wonderful website... I've learned so much. Thanks in advance.
Mae Raine

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  1. Hi MaeRaine, unfortunately I don't really see a way for this recipe to be workable. In my opinion dark meat needs to hit 180F for the tendons to break down and become tender, while the white meat starts drying out quickly once it hits 150F. If the breast is wrapped around the exterior of the roast it's exposed to the high, direct heat of the oven and will always dry out while the dark meat inside is still stringy and tough.

    Your idea did make me think of another turkey-stuffed-turkey recipe that I've always wanted to try though: http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/11/th... . The author gets around the problem of tough dark meat by grinding it into sausage before stuffing.

    6 Replies
    1. re: RealMenJulienne

      Thanks for the link, RealMen. No wonder you've never gotten around to trying this recipe -- lots of deboning. And getting the skin off in one piece is daunting in and of itself.

      I once deboned two rabbits to make galantines, and I will never do that again!

      Good luck, Mae!

      1. re: nemo

        I used to debone whole turkeys as large as 20-22 lbs... but that was years ago. T-day was always at my house and it was a truly impressive way to serve the bird... I used to stuff it to pop it back up. Thankfully, I never had a problem with anyone getting sick. I don't stuff them anymore, nor do I serve the whole bird. I bake the parts for stock and gravy and get to eat all the wonderful browned skin (that is the best part).

        1. re: MaeRaine

          Good for you, Mae! I think my problem was that the rabbits were so tiny that it became a tedious chore rather than a fun cooking experience. But that turkey link looks like something that could work for you, already having the deboning skills.

          And, yes, why not turkey sausage from the butcher. Saute up a bit, then adjust the seasonings to your taste.

          Please report back. This is a delightful thread.

          1. re: nemo

            That's a good idea... but why do I need to saute it up? Can't I just add some seasonings and stuff the breast raw?

            Yes, I think that rabbits would be tiny to work with. We have some rabbits in our yard that I would love to skin and debone. Not to mention I'd do the same with the tree rats (squirrels). I'm getting mean, aren't I... sorry.

            1. re: MaeRaine


              Saute only a pinch or two just to see what it tastes like. You may want to add more sage or salt or seasonings of your choice to the remaining raw sausage, then spread the raw doctored sausage on the breast, roll, bake.

              A friend told me about her great-grandmother or grandmother making something with squirrels, but these days our local squirrels are akin to inner city pigeons -- probably not a good dinner choice!

              Seriously, please report back. I'm so intrigued by this post!

              1. re: nemo

                I will definitely report back. I didn't realize you mean't "a pinch." Yes, I will do that. Had a little episode this past summer with the little tree rats eating through my screen to get to the food (which we had covered while we were away)... There are on my endangered species list, they better watch out, the have a heart trap is out.

                Thanks Nemo

    2. I was afraid of that. I don't have a meat grinder anymore. That was one of the tools I got rid of when we retired to the south and I thought I would not be doing much cooking.... I'm cooking more than ever, and having fun. Would the turkey sausage from the local supermarket work?

      1 Reply
      1. re: MaeRaine

        you could make your own turkey sausage using ground dark meat turkey.

      2. If I were going to stuff turkey with turkey, I'd stuff white meat inside of dark - debone the thigh (leave the skin on) and stuff it with a piece of the breast or tenderloin, maybe wrapped in prosciutto or something like that. That way the thigh meat would cook fully while protecting the more delicate breast.

        2 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima

          Never thought of that, sounds interesting... this year, I might just do the sausage idea. I don't want to have to do another test before next week. I'm so glad I came upon this site... what a wealth of information and ideas. Thanks everyone.

          1. re: biondanonima


            Stuff the faster cooking cut inside the slower cooking one.

            Otherwise your breast will be dry and overcooked when the thigh is done.

          2. You could do a confit of the thigh & stuff the breast with that. A friend who has a food truck in LA just did the other day.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rjbh20

              That looks absolutely awesome... If I was having a large group I might give it a try.

              1. re: MaeRaine

                Just do one bird -- this guy feeds the masses out of his food truck in LA.

                I did a sausage & breadcrumb stuffed breast awhile ago that worked really well. Still have another one in the freezer now that I think about it.

            2. What you're talking about is, essentially, a turkey Ballotine.

              I would be completely shocked if you couldn't come up with dozens of recipes for the thing once you plunk it into google.

              As a matter of keeping the thing safe and tender and tasty, I could think of no better way of cooking it than tossing it into a sous vide unit at 152-55F for a good, what, 12-16 hours, followed by a quick roast in the oven to crisp the skin (this way, the bird stays moist, the pathogens get dead and the tougher dark meat tenderizes), and voila! You look like a star!!

              1. Is your goal to have a single slice of meat which contains both white and dark turkey? Or, are you going for the visual aspect and a presentation?

                I've boned out turkey (and other poultry) in the past to serve as a log, both stuffed and not. A Turkey can produce a rolled log that exceeds 24 inches, so you would need a pan and oven that could accommodate the length. You would have a roll that is 3/4 white and 1/4 dark meat. The other option is to make separate white and dark meat roasts. Jacques Pepin has a video that shows you how it's done in only a few minutes with a sharp boning knife.

                Timing would depend on whether you stuff it or simply roll it...and the temperature at which you would roast at...225-450*

                5 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  It was my goal to have both white and dark meat. I'm not a fan of white meat. Also, the ease of cutting the meat is a plus, and of course, the presentation. I was thinking about doing one large deboned thigh, which I already have in my freezer, along with the breast. But, then I've complicated the situation even more.... I'll probably just do the one stuffed breast with ground dark meat turkey. BTW, I also do the wings with it. I put them on the side of the breast (which is on a rack), and it helps to keep the breast upright. I could always just eat the wings... If it was up to me, I'd have all dark meat, or a prime rib roast. I did that one year, thought my kids would cry...

                  1. re: MaeRaine

                    The only way I would attempt to roll and stuff the dark meat within the white meat so that you would have skin, white meat and a dark meat center so the slices would resemble a bullseye....is to roast low and slow at 190-200* for however long it take to get the center to 160ish before resting. The long and slow roast will allow the center to cook without drying out the white meat.....

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Well, I said I would report back... here goes. I decided to rethink my boneless turkey breast stuffed with the thigh just a little. I did try the sausage, but didn't like it. So, I pounded the thighs down and stuffed them inside the breast. I didn't stuff them until I was ready to cook them on T-day... but I did season the breast and thigh the day before with my own blend of herbs and spices and butter. Then before I bake it, I melted butter with some of the turkey fat from the turkey parts previously cooked and smeared that all over and basted it a few times... the result was.... awesome. Both parts were done perfectly. We like our meat a little on the pink side, no matter what it is, so I took it out at 155º and let it sit for about 1/2 hour. Thanks for all your suggestions. I've learned a lot...

                      1. re: MaeRaine

                        Glad it worked out for you. Sounds like the pounding helped to tenderize the dark meat before stuffing. Post pictures if you have them!

                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                          No I didn't take any pictures... next time I will. Thanks again for all your help.