Stuffed Turkey with Prunes: Tacchino Ripieno

TOTAL TIME: 3 hr 55 min
Prep: 1 hr 25 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 2 hr 30 min
YIELD: 1 1/2 quarts


  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) whole turkey breast, removed from the bone, halved and butterflied by your butcher
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork shoulder
  • 10 Italian prunes, pits removed, cut into quarters
  • 12 chestnuts, roasted, peeled, and halved
  • 4 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch parsley stems
recipe tools


1/2 cup brown chicken stock, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the pancetta pieces and cook until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the ground pork and cook until starting to brown in its own fat, stirring regularly. Drain all but 4 tablespoons of the fat from the pan, then add the prunes and chestnut, and continue cooking for 8 minutes, until the prunes start to really soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, about 20 minutes.
Add the bread crumbs, the Parmigiano, the eggs, the pepper, nutmeg, and herbs and just bring together, stirring with your hand. Over-mixing here can result in a lead torpedo for a stuffing, so don't.
Place the 2 turkey pieces on a cutting board and divide the stuffing between them. Roll each of the breasts like a jelly roll and tie them firmly with butchers twine. Place the 2 breasts, skin side up, on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and pour 2 cups wine over them. Season with salt and pepper, and place into preheated oven and cook uncovered until dark golden brown outside and a meat thermometer reads 165 at the thickest part of the breast, about 1 hour, plus or minus 10 minutes.
Remove and allow to rest 15 minutes before carving. Add remaining 1 cup of wine to the roasting pan and deglaze, scraping with a wooden spoon. Add chicken stock and cook for 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Carve turkey into 1-inch slices and serve with pan sauce.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over high heat until smoking. Add all the chicken parts and brown all over, stirring to avoid burning. Remove the chicken and reserve. Add the carrots, onions, and celery to the pot and cook until soft and browned. Return the chicken to the pot and add 3 quarts of water, the tomato paste, peppercorns, and parsley. Stir with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned chicken and vegetables bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat and cook at a low simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours, occasionally skimming excess fat. Remove from heat, strain, and press on the solids with the bottom of a ladle to extract out all liquids. Stir the stock to facilitate cooling and set aside. Refrigerate stock in small containers for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts



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