Thanksgiving Turkey For One

Christmas and Thanksgiving are hard on us single people, but since Costco opened a store just an hour away, I have been able to eat turkey more often because they sell those rolled up roasts made up of just one side of a turkey breast.

I used to make a similar roast myself by boning the turkey and joining the two breasts with string. But then I had all the rest of the turkey to eat, and it was hard (but not impossible) not to waste any.

What's nice about those roasts, too, is that you can have one or two in the freezer, ready for any turkey craving that may show up at other times of the year.

This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and I wanted to try doing different things with my Costco turkey. As you can see from the picture, I was quite successful!

Eleven meals out of one turkey breast!

First, I removed the netting and scrutinized my roast. Indeed, it was made up of a whole half breast, and nothing else. The little filet had been partially detached, so I cut that off and set it aside.

I created the centre roast by cutting off the wide and narrow ends. I rolled up my little roast and tied it with string after seasoning the inside.

I discarded the skin and fatty bits from the leftover pieces and cut them (minus the filet) into chunks, which I ground with my meat grinder.



I adapted a recipe for Glazed Turkey Roast with Apples and Balsamic Vinegar that I had seen on TV this week, on the Ricardo show on CBC.

The recipe calls for a whole 2.5-lb roast, so I adjusted the quantities.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C)
2. Salt the roast all over, then brown it on all sides in a bit of olive oil in a frying pan
3. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar*, add 1.5 tablespoons of honey and a chopped French shallot (or half a small onion)
4. Roll the roast around in the sauce to coat it all over
5. Add one cup of chicken stock to the pan and roast for approximately one hour and ten minutes, or until 180 F (82 C) internal temperature. Keep checking every 20 minutes, and add small quantities of stock as necessary
6. In a separate frying pan, brown a Cortland apple which has been peeled, cored and sliced, in a spoonful of butter
7. When the roast is done, remove it and cover it loosely with foil for about 15 minutes, while you finish the sauce
8. Reduce the sauce if necessary (or add a bit of water or stock if it's too thick but it should be more of a glaze than a sauce), roll the roast around to glaze it all over, add the apples and mix well. Season to taste.

Absolutely delicious!



I ended up with exactly one pound (450 g) of ground turkey. Today I made them as follows, but of course you can use your own favourite recipe for turkey or chicken meat balls:
  1. The ground turkey;
  2. A panade of good white bread soaked in milk (two slices plus 2/3 cup milk) ;
  3. 1 egg;
  4. 1 small onion, grated;
  5. 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese;
  6. Salt, pepper and poultry seasoning;
  7. 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin**
Mix thoroughly with the hands and form balls with wet hands. Deposit them on a sheet of parchment paper.

Drop the turkey balls into simmering chicken stock to cover, and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes, until the centre is fully cooked.

I plan to use some of the balls in a tomato sauce for pasta that I will make later on in the week. I could also freeze all or some of them.



This is the little filet that I detached at the beginning, and flattened with the side of a cleaver. (I really must get one of those meat pounders!)

Since it has already been frozen, I will cook my escalope tomorrow, probably as veal piccata or maybe a saltimbocca since I have some prosciutto in the fridge and some fresh sage in the garden. The Epicurious recipe calls for the sage on the outside, but I always put it between the prosciutto and the meat, because that's the way they prepare it in my favourite restaurant in Rome. Oh, and by the way do not use dried sage for this!

Instead, you could cut the escalope into fingers, bread them and fry them, and serve them to the kids.



  • 1, 1.2-lb (500 g) roast (4 portions)
  • 3 dozen ping-pong ball-sized meat balls (5 or 6 portions)
  • 1, 4-oz ((113 g) escalope (1 portion or two portions of fingers)
  • Bonus: 2 cups strong turkey stock which will make an excellent soup or sauce base



The nice thing is I was able to prepare all those things at the same time. I mixed the meat balls while the roast was cooking. It took about two hours altogether.



$19.49 for the turkey (3 lbs/1.5 kilos). This breaks down to about $2 per meal. Right inside my budget!

*Instead of -- or in addition to -- the balsamic vinegar, I could have used some of the Pinot Griggio wine that I had with it for lunch, which turned out to be a very fine "marriage".

If you're in the habit of brining your turkey, by all means brine this roast. I didn't, and it was moist enough.

** I copied this trick from my restaurants, where we used to add a few spoonfuls of gelatin to the pâté recipe. The gelatin would turn the extra juice into a tasty jelly.

In this instance, the combination of milk/bread/gelatin plays the role of fat in a dish that is nearly 100% fat-free, so what you get is a juicy result where you might expect something rather dry.