For Thanksgiving, a Worthy Alternative to the Traditional Bird

November 17, 2016 3:02 pm Last Updated: November 18, 2016 11:45 am

If you don’t want to roast a whole turkey, or you’re just looking for a new tradition, try this boneless stuffed turkey breast. The butchery is easier than you think, but you can always have the butcher do it for you! The chestnuts and the liver in the stuffing add a great nutty flavor that pairs well with the turkey breast without overpowering the meat.

Boneless Stuffed Turkey Breast 

Amount Makes

6 to 8 servings


For the Turkey:

  • One whole 4-5 pound boneless breast of turkey (both breast lobes attached, skin on)
  • 1 recipe stuffing (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped fine

For the Stuffing:

  • 6 cups dried bread cubes for stuffing (seasoned store bought varieties are fine)
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces chicken livers
  • 12-14 chestnuts


Make the Stuffing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference. After slitting the shells, transfer the chestnuts to a rimmed baking pan, and roast them in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes. While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin. Chop the chestnuts.

Mince the celery, onion and parsley. Set aside.

Mince the chicken livers very fine.

Combine the chestnuts, celery, onion, parsley, liver, butter, cream, bread cubes and spices in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Turkey

Place the turkey skin down on a cutting board and slice open the middle of each breast, cutting away from the center. You knife will be parallel to the cutting board, slicing toward the outer edges of the roast. You are opening up the breast meat to even out the thickness of each breast. The new meat flaps should open up from the middle of each breast like pages of a book folding out to each side.

Season with the thyme, sage, salt and pepper.

Place stuffing on the breast and fold the edges of the turkey “envelope” over the stuffing. You should have a “football” of turkey.

Flip to skin side up. Roll and tie turkey with butcher’s twine.

Rub the turkey with butter and sprinkle with paprika and sea salt.

Place the turkey on a rack fitted into a large pan.

Roast at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Raise temperature to 400 degrees and continue roasting until internal temperature of the meat is 160 degrees. Keep an eye on your roast, this may not take as long as you think.

Let rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Andrew Zimmern, a three-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher, is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the culinary world. As the creator, EP and host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods series, he explores cultures in more than 100 countries as he shines the spotlight on impactful ways to think about, create and live with food. His newest series Driven By Food premiered on the Travel Channel in August 2016. He has written thee books and is the co-founder of Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen, at Target Field in Minneapolis and Kauffman Field in Kansas City.