Turkey Ballotine



1 (8-10 lb) TURKEY BREAST, bone-in

16 oz TURKEY BREAST, fat and sinew removed, roughly chopped

1 tsp cayenne powder

Freshly ground nutmeg Pinch

1/2 c ice chips

Kosher salt To Taste

1 Pint heavy (40%) whipping cream

Extra virgin olive oil As needed




Carefully remove turkey skin in one piece. Wrap, chill and reserve.

Carve the turkey meat from the bone. Save the bone for stock.

Slice 6 (4-ounce medallions) from the breast meat.

Slice an additional 16 ounces of breast meat and reserve for the forcemeat.

Save remaining turkey for another use. Wrap, label and chill or freeze.

Carefully clean each medallion of sinew and fat.

Wrap a large cutting board in plastic wrap. Place 3 layers of plastic wrap, one atop another, to form a thick sheet about 8 x 11-inches.

With a meat hammer or the flat of a heavy chef knife, pound each of the medallions between the plastic until very thin and roughly 24 inches around (6x4). Cover and chill.

Lay out the reserved chilled skin and remove any fat deposits. Cut 6 pieces slightly larger than the size and shape of the turkey medallions. If there is not enough skin, substitute fat, using other turkey, chicken skin or caul fat.


Chill turkey, cream and the food processor work bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse chopped turkey, cayenne and nutmeg until a paste forms.

Add ice and salt. Pulse until a ball forms.

With the processor on, drizzle the cream in slowly until incorporated. At this point, the forcemeat should appear smooth and fluffy, but be tightly bound. If it looks grainy, add a touch of cold water. If it is still in a ball, add more cream. How it looks is more important than the exact measure of ingredients.

Place mixture in a chilled bowl. Cover and chill. Measure 1 tablespoon of forcemeat, form into a patty, and cook until done. Taste for spice and salt and adjust seasonings, if necessary.


Fill a pastry bag with the forcemeat. Use a plain round tip to avoid creation of air bubbles.

Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board.

Put the chilled skin, outside down, on the lower half of the plastic, but centered.

Place one turkey medallion atop the skin, centered.

Pipe a 1-inch diameter line of forcemeat down the center of the turkey. (Do not worry about the ends, as they will be discarded prior to serving.)

Wrap the turkey around the mousse to form a log, then reposition it so that the seam is pointed down.

Wrap the skin around to complete the ballotine.

Smoothly, roll up the ballotine, in plastic, taking care to make it tight. Tie one end as close to the ballotine as possible.

Make sure there is no air in the wrapping, then begin twisting the other end until the package is turgid. Tie it securely.

Repeat with remaining turkey.


Cook the ballotines in a low-temperature water bath. Heat a very large pot of water to 180 degrees F. (At this temperature, curls of water vapor will just be beginning to form.) It is important that the water not exceed 180 degrees F, as the forcemeat will begin to break.

Place the ballotines in the water. Cover so they stay submerged. Cook for 30 minutes.

While the turkey is cooking, fill a large container with ice water. It should be large enough to hold all of the ballotines with good circulation between them.

After 30 minutes, remove one ballotine and measure the internal temperature in the center. The targeted temperature is 165 degrees F. If necessary, return to the heat and poach until the turkey reaches 165 degrees F. Measure the internal temperature for all pieces to ensure each reaches 165 degrees F. Immediately transfer to the ice bath and submerge until cold.

Drain and store in refrigerator up to two days.


To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove ballotine from plastic and place on a cooking tray with a little water, seam side down, until an internal temperature of 140 degrees is reached.

Then, place in a hot skillet on medium-high heat on the stove with a little olive oil. Turn and roll until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

Slice into medallions and serve.