RECIPE – Rolled Turkey Breast w/ Speck, Goat Cheese and Arugula

By Henry Gould – Oct 3rd, 2018

It’s Thanksgiving weekend! For some of you, that means going home to families houses, eating the traditional roast turkey with cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy mashed potatoes, the whole 9 yards. And that’s all great. But for others, it might mean a smaller gathering of a few friends, maybe two or three, which doesn’t necessitate getting an enormous turkey and spending half the day trying to brine it because Bon Appetit said you should.

As every cheesy infomercial always says, “There’s got to be a better way!”. Indeed… there is. Instead of struggling to wrestle a 20lb bird all over your kitchen, simplify your life with just the turkey breast, which is rolled around delicious smoked speck (similar to prosciutto), goat cheese and arugula. There’s even steps to make a wondrously easy balsamic sauce that will make your forget about grannies gravy you can stand a fork up in.

Keep in mind, this is all very easy to do. Do not be intimidated, any beginner cook can put this together. It’s also about 1/10th the work of roasting a turkey with all the trimmings, so if you were dreading the thought of that, do this instead.

Speck can be found at Oyama in Granville Island, Bosa Foods (multiple locations), or usually pre-sliced in the deli fridges at supermarkets. Feel free to sub in another cheese for goat cheese, should you have a preference.


  • Turkey breasts, boneless (1 breast will feed ~2 people)
  • Goat Cheese
  • Arugula
  • Speck, thinly sliced (or prosciutto)
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Toothpicks
  • Turkey wings, necks, or drumsticks (for the sauce)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half

Start by making the stock for the sauce. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add some olive oil to coat the entire bottom of the pot, and then add your turkey wings, necks, drumsticks (or all 3). Sear for a few minutes to give a nice brown crust, then turn over. After another few minutes, add the onion, celery and garlic and cover everything with cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a very low simmer and let bubble for ~2 hours. After cooking, strain the stock from the bones and vegetables and allow to cool. **NOTE if you have good quality bone broth or stock, feel free to use this. The cartons in the grocery store will not work**

Take your turkey breast(s) and lay on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into the turkey breasts lengthwise, about 1/3 of the way from the top. Cut across but DO NOT cut all the way through. You’re trying to open up the breast like a book. Once it’s laid open, cut from the middle of the breast back outward, so that you now have 3 segments. If you picture the first phase like an open book, you will be cutting from the “spine” of the book back outwards.

With your open turkey breast flat on a board, lay several slices of speck (or prosciutto), then a few knobs of goat cheese and a handful of arugula. Fold each side of the breast back into the middle and seal closed with toothpicks.

Preheat your oven to 450F. Rub the outside of each rolled breast with olive oil, then season aggressively with salt and pepper. Once the oven is heated, stick the rolled breasts on a roasting pan and into the oven for 20 minutes.

In a separate pan, add your turkey stock and put on high heat, reducing until it starts to thicken. At this point, season with some salt and balsamic vinegar. Ideally you want a bit of acidity and sweetness from the vinegar, without it being overpowering. Add as much salt as your palate likes. Reduce more until it starts to thicken. Stir in a knob of butter (maybe the size of a golf ball, depending how much sauce you’re making). Something to keep in mind with sauces like this: don’t be scared of adding a lot of butter because a) fat is actually good for you and b) you are only eating a small amount of sauce, not the whole pot. Plus, it’s thanksgiving…

Take the turkey breasts out of the oven – if the cheese is starting to ooze out, that’s usually a good sign the inside is cooked. If you’re unsure, cook a little longer or cut into one and check.

Slice into rounds (removing the toothpicks) and serve with the sauce.

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