Italian friends of mine go a
step farther in flavoring and protecting the breast meat of their
turkey by spreading a paste of roasted walnuts and herbs liberally
between the meat and skin. The result tastes like stuffing and
resembles it somewhat in texture. To roast nuts at home, place
them on an ungreased baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about
8 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Making the perfect gravy to
accompany this feast starts by packing the breast cavity with
an apple and shallots, then deglazing the roasting pan with apple
cider and the reserved pan juices. Spooned over the sliced turkey
and served with walnut stuffing, the combination
offers an unexpected and unforgettable meal.
Walnut-Stuffed Turkey Breast
with Cider Gravy - Makes
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled,
cored and quartered
3/4 lb. large shallots, quartered
3 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. flour
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup roasted walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground sage
2 tsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6-7 lb. whole turkey breast
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In food processor, pulse roasted
nuts with thyme and sage until coarsely ground. Add 1 teaspoon
oil, 1 tablespoon water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and generous pinch
of pepper. Whirl to a grainy paste.
Using hands, separate skin from
turkey breast, taking care not to tear. Lift skin and push half
of walnut paste under skin on each side of breast. Pull skin
back into place and spread nut mixture in an even layer by smoothing
the skin, using gentle pressure. Coat skin with remaining 1 teaspoon
Place breast upside-down on
rack in roasting pan. Place apple and as many shallots as fit
into cavity. Push three short bamboo skewers across opening to
hold the filling in cavity, and turn breast right side up. Add
broth and remaining shallots to pan.
Roast breast for 30 minutes.
If breast is browned, tent loosely with foil. Reduce heat to
350 degrees and continue roasting until instant-read thermometer
inserted almost to the bone registers 160 degrees, about 60 minutes.
To re-crisp skin, remove foil for last 20 minutes. Transfer turkey
to platter. Strain pan juices into measuring cup, discarding
solids. Skim off as much fat as possible.
Set roasting pan on stove over
medium-high heat. Pour in cider and vinegar, and boil, scraping
up brown bits sticking to pan with wooden spoon. When liquid
is reduced to 1/4 cup, off heat, whisk in flour. Return pan to
heat, and stir until boiling gravy thickens, about 5 minutes.
Pour into a sauceboat.
Remove turkey skin. Lift off
walnut mixture, and set aside. Slice breast, arranging meat on
a warmed platter. Set walnut stuffing beside it.
Add apples and shallots from cavity, if desired. Serve, passing
Per serving: 300 calories, 9
g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 11 g carbohydrate, 44 g protein,
1 g dietary fiber, 200 mg sodium.