I would love to say I'm clever enough to come up with a phrase like that, but I'm not. It was the caption under a photo of Ina Garten's face (The Barefoot Contessa) nestled in swaddling cloth in the manger on a brilliant website called Food Network Humor. (Something tells me my mother wouldn't find that photo "brilliant" and would ask where I'm going to church tomorrow night).
In any case, I've started the Christmas cooking (a favorite activity now that I'm not a caterer anymore!), and just finished Ina's stuffing that she used for a Roasted Turkey Roulade. It's pretty incredible, and definitely worth trying. I followed her recipe to the letter, and wouldn't change a thing. (Don't you hate when people completely change the recipe, then give the recipe a "poor" rating on those websites???) It's from her Back to Basics cookbook from 2008. I'm doing the whole recipe as written with a boneless turkey breast.
• 3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
• 3/4 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
• 1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
• 3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
• 3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
• 1 extra-large egg, beaten
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.
Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don't mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.