Turkey ballotine

Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for two? This stuffed and rolled turkey ballotine recipe (with step-by-step images) is perfect for a seasonal celebration when you don't want to roast a whole turkey but still want to impress! What's more, you can prepare the turkey ahead so there's no last-minute panic. All you need are your favourite trimmings for an intimate feast!

Serves 2

Serves 2




  • 1 large turkey breast (about 700-800g)
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

For the stuffing:

  • 100g pork mince
  • 1 rasher of streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • ½ large flat or field mushroom, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 sprig of tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped (or parsley)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking instructions

To butterfly the turkey breast:

  • Start by butterflying the turkey breast. Lay the whole breast out on a board in front of you and place your palm flat on top to hold it steady. Hold a large sharp knife parallel to the board and slice horizontally through the middle of the breast, stopping just before (about 1cm) before the edge so that you do not cut all the way through. 
  • Open up the breast like a book to create one even thin layer - trim or firmly flatten any much thicker sections to ensure it is all the same thickness. Season with a little salt.

To make the stuffing:

  • For the stuffing, put the pork mince, chopped bacon, mushroom, onion, tarragon and breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix well to combine - you can scrunch together by hand or mix thoroughly with a spoon to ensure the mince is broken up and everything has blended together evenly.
  • Spoon the stuffing over the middle of the butterflied breast in an even layer, leaving a border around the edge. 

To roll the ballotine:

  • Roll up the breast over the filling to create a tight cylinder. 

To stretch the bacon:

  • Take each streaky bacon rasher and stretch out with the flat blade of a knife to make it slightly longer.

To wrap the ballotine:

  • Wrap the rashers around the rolled breast, overlapping in a criss-cross pattern on the top and tucking the loose ends in underneath. 

To cook and serve:

  • Wrap tightly in clingfilm, twisting the ends to seal, and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day to firm up. 
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.
  • Unwrap the clingfilm and place the roll on a lined baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes. 
  • Drizzle over the maple syrup then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, basting every 5 minutes in the syruppy juices. Check the meat is cooked all the way through - it should be piping hot in the middle and the juices will run clear when cut into. 
  • Leave to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing into rounds. Serve with traditional festive trimmings or with sweet potato mash and a green bean casserole for Thanksgiving.