Roast Boneless Turkey with Chestnuts and Dried Cherries

Sunday November 20, 2016

This rolled and stuffed turkey breast is a wonderful alternative to the whole stuffed bird at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is easier to prep and takes up lots less room in the fridge. I have made this umpteen times for catering. I learned the original recipe from Charlotte Coombe, cooking teacher and caterer in the Napa Valley who studied decades ago as the first student with Jacques Pepin.  She showed how to bone out a whole turkey, but I have made it beginner-easy with a ready-to-cook boned, rolled roast easily available at your butcher’s.  Be sure you have kitchen twine when making this recipe. The canned vacum-packed whole plain chestnuts (do not confuse with the sweet maron glace pieces or the spread) are quite moist and will meld into the stuffing nicely. I use Clement Faugier brand, which is imported from France and common in well stocked supermarkets.

Serves 6


  • Stuffing
  • 6 ounces dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup Madeira wine
  • 3/4 loaf day old French or country bread, torn in hunks
  • 1/3 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 loose cup chopped vacum-packed chestnuts
  • One 6-pound boneless, rolled turkey breast (a whole breast)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • Gravy
  • One 1-ounce package turkey gravy mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup Madiera wine


1.  In a small bowl, combine the cherries and Madeira.  Macerate 6 hours to overnight at room temperature.

2.  In a skillet, melt the butter.  Add the onion and celery;  cook until soft and translucent.  Add the apple, cooking for a few minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

3.  Place the bread in the food processor and process to make 3 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs.  Add the parsley and the sage and process to chop together.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the onion mixture, chestnuts, and the soaked cherries to the breadcrumbs.  Thoroughly mix.

4.  Preheat the oven to 425º.  Cut the ties and lay the boneless turkey breast out flat, skin side down, and season with salt and pepper.  Pack the stuffing on the turkey in an even layer.  Reroll and tie in 4 places with kitchen twine.  Place in a roasting pan and smear with butter.  Lower the temperature to 350º.  Roast for 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer reads 160º.  Let rest, covered with foil, for 20 minutes before carving.  Remove the string.

5.  Prepare the gravy mix by combining the mix, water, and Madeira in a saucepan.  Pour off the fat in the roasting pan and pour any juices into the saucepan.  Blend with a whisk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, bringing to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 2 minutes, until thickened.  Makes 1 1/3 cups.  Serve immediately with the slices of turkey.
Adapted from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2000, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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