It’s been a hectic (using the term loosely here) four days since we moved into our house last Thursday. I love turkey but oddly enough only around special holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and while I wanted to do something special for the dinner, I was overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning that needed to be done in the house so the usual turkey dinner fixings would have to take a back seat for the first time. Having said that, this recipe shouted out to me as a perfect way to still celebrate the bountiful Fall harvest. While some purists might scoff at this recipe, I think it was perfect for the two of us. I scaled down the turkey portion to 3 pounds which worked perfectly.

Serves 6 to 8
adapted from Globe and Mail

2 whole large turkey breasts, skin on (about 7 pounds)

Brine Bath:
1 white onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1½ cups celery, chopped
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice mix
3 tablespoons salt

Mandarin and Cranberry Stuffing:
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 can mandarin oranges, drained but reserve 2 tablespoons of the juice

2 cups whole-wheat bread cut in small cubes
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper

Hoisin Roasting Sauce:
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

Rinse turkey breast. Add all brine-bath ingredients to bowl and set turkey in it. Cover with cold water. Let rest in brine bath in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours. To make the hoisin roasting sauce, mix ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve until ready to roast turkey.

In a large pan, sauté onion, celery and cranberries in the butter. Cook until cranberries are soft and starting to break down. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.

Remove turkey breasts from brine bath. Place on a large working surface, skin side down, and butterfly meat. Spread stuffing on top and roll the turkey around the stuffing. Wrap kitchen twine around turkey and tie tightly (please disregard my sloppy attempt…I was getting tired).

Place turkey in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 180c (350f) until the internal temperature reaches 165 F or juices run clear, about 30 minutes. Remove and glaze with hoisin roasting sauce. Return to oven and roast for another 30 minutes until golden. Let rest in juices for at least 10 minutes, then snip off kitchen twine. Slice the turkey and arrange on serving platter. Pour hot pan juices over the slices and serve.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Heaven on a plate and the aromas filled the house making it feel like home!  My husband and I were in a local wine shop, Blue Dog Wine & Spirits on Sunday and was given a couple of recommendations for last night’s meal.  In the end, we decided to go with Magdalene’s first choice; Terredora Diapaolo (Greco Di Tufo) and was a winner with this meal.  I know we will be back for more of her recommendations!  


  1. Cynthia on October 11, 2011 at 01:07

    I so want one of those thick slices!

  2. The Culinary Chase on October 11, 2011 at 14:09

    Come on down Cynthia…I have enough leftover for sandwiches! 🙂

  3. alana on October 11, 2011 at 17:20

    I just might try that for thanxgiving

  4. Rochelle on October 12, 2011 at 09:04

    I really love Turkey. Thanks for posting this. Always looking for new ways to cook it.What did you serve it with?

  5. The Culinary Chase on October 12, 2011 at 13:00

    Rochelle, I served it with mashed potatoes and squash casserole…no time for the usual accompaniments. This recipe is quite versatile so serve with whatever you like. Cheers!