TURKEY AND CRANBERRY ROLL

Serves 8-10

We moved to Israel in 1998 – and our first year living far from home, I was determined to bring north America with me to our small apartment in Tel Aviv – no matter how challenging it proved to be.

I had wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving, but a whole turkey wasn’t readily available. To get one I would have needed to order the turkey a couple of weeks in advance from the butcher, and if cooking a whole turkey wasn’t intimidating enough, having a discussion with an Israeli butcher about why I felt I needed a whole turkey was enough to put me off the whole errand. Instead, I went for the readily available turkey breast, often the ‘chicken’ schnitzels served on an industrial level in Israel are actually turkey schnitzel, meaning that there was no scarcity of turkey breast available. I then cramped the turkey breast with loads of autumnal flavors and used a Simon and Garfunkel song as my guide as to what herbs I should use.

Now if you don’t think that two nice Jewish boys from Queens, New York are good guides in how to flavor turkey stuffing – try it out – I promise you will be pleasantly surprised!

  • 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked (3 cups cooked)
  • 100g pecans, finely chopped (¾ cup after being chopped)
  • 50g (⅓ cup) dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • ½ tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 kilo (3.3 lbs) turkey schnitzel (skinless boneless breast)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. If starting with raw rice, cook the rice until tender and set aside to cool. Heat oven to 180℃ (350℉).
  2. Make the rice and cranberry stuffing: place the rice, chopped pecans, cranberries, ginger, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme in a large bowl and mix well, season with salt and pepper, add the eggs, and mix until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Place enough aluminum foil on the kitchen counter to make a square of about 50x50cm (20×20 inches) spray the aluminum foil with oil spray or grease lightly with vegetable oil, season the aluminum foil with salt and pepper. Lay the turkey fillets side by side on the aluminum foil, top the turkey fillets with baking paper or plastic wrap and using a rolling pin or meat mallet, pound the turkey to a 40x40cm (16×16 inches) square.
  4. Remove the baking paper or plastic wrap from the top of the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Spread the rice mixture in a long log shape towards the center of the flattened turkey fillets. Roll up firmly, using the aluminum foil. Place in a roasting dish with deep sides and roast for 1 hour.
  5. Remove foil, brush the turkey roll with olive oil and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until browned on the surface. Remove from the oven and tent with foil and let the turkey roll rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.