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Home > Restaurants > Recipes > Roasted Turkey Ballottine Wrapped in Bacon

Roasted Turkey Ballottine Wrapped in Bacon

Provided by: Chef Daniel Boulud

  • Type of Dish: Main Courses
  • Cuisine: American, French
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review

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Boulud loves his adopted homeland, but “let’s not kid ourselves,” he says. “Turkey is bland. You need bacon, spices.” His flavorful Thanksgiving turkey two ways keeps the breast from drying out before the legs are done.


12-pound fresh turkey, divided; legs reserved for braised recipe (Ask your butcher to remove and bone the breasts, and bone the legs)
2½ ounces diced white bread (about 2 cups)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon quatre épices (available at Kalustyan’s, 123 Lexington Ave., nr. 29th St., or substitute pumpkin spice and a bit of black pepper)
1 pound raw pork sausage meat, without casing
Liver and giblets, coarsely chopped
Salt and white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 pounds thinly sliced bacon
6 tablespoons butter, softened


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak the bread in the milk for 15 minutes; strain. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, and celery and sauté, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with the soaked bread, parsley, rosemary, quatre épices, sausage, liver, giblets, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Knead to combine. On a flat surface, arrange a 2-foot-long double layer of plastic wrap. Place half of pork mixture in a horizontal line, about 12 inches long, in the center of the plastic wrap. Lift the plastic wrap up and over the sausage, then roll while tucking under and twisting at the ends, making a tight log about 1¾ inches in diameter. Repeat with the other half of the sausage stuffing. Place the sausage rolls in the freezer to chill quickly. Meanwhile, if you have a whole turkey, remove the breasts and discard the skin. Butterfly the thicker end of the breasts, folding over toward the thinner end to form a shape as close to a rectangle as possible. Cover one breast with plastic wrap, and, using a meat mallet, pound the meat to about ½ inch thick, 1 foot long, and 8 inches wide; repeat with other breast. Season the surface of the breasts with a sprinkling of salt and white pepper. Remove the plastic wrap from a sausage log, and place the log in the center of the flattened breast. Shape the breast around the sausage. Arrange the bacon in overlapping slices in vertical rows, on a 12-inch board, making a 12-inch-long-by-9-inch-wide rectangle. Place the turkey roulade in the center of the bacon, and wrap up and around to fully encase the breast. Repeat with second breast. Lay a 2-foot-long piece of heavy aluminum foil on a flat surface, and spread half of the butter evenly on top. Place turkey roulade in the center, then roll the foil around the roulade as tightly as possible, twisting at the ends. Tie with butcher’s twine to secure. Repeat with other turkey roulade. Place both logs on a baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes, turning the logs ¼-turn every 10 minutes. Remove foil, and baste roulades with the pan juices; return to oven and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the bacon has cooked and the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. Cut the roulade into ½-inch slices. Serve hot. (Published 2009)