Apple & Cranberry Turkey Roulade

apple and cranberry turkey roulade

I’m so over the need to pull off a Norman Rockwell-worthy holiday dinner. Seriously, how many people really bring a whole, perfectly cooked turkey – beautifully garnished and presented on an heirloom platter, to the table for carving? Well, ok, my mom and dad pulled it off, but I’m convinced they were the exception to the rule.

big dave turkey

That’s Dad with Mom’s perfect turkey, ready for carving.


There are many reasons you’ll love this Apple & Cranberry Turkey Roulade. First, it tastes like the holidays – without all the mess. Second, it’s easy to know when it’s done. And third, you can make it ahead of time. And one more – it’s beautiful!

Husband and I had been married for exactly two months and lived in our new home for just six weeks when we hosted our very first Thanksgiving dinner. And in true Type-A form, I insisted on doing it all myself.

We avoided any major disasters, however, I do remember using every pan, gadget and kitchen appliance that we owned to produce the meal – most of which were making their inaugural appearance. And coordinating the oven and stovetop usage took more math skills than I retained from my schooling.

Thanks to some coaching from our dearest friends, we even made the turkey the night before, to give us a little breathing {and oven} room on the big day. {If you insist on cooking a whole bird, this is a great idea. Just slice and cover with pan juices and extra broth. Cover tightly with foil and reheat – in broth – before serving}.

While helpful, we still didn’t carve the dang thing until the wee hours, and after discarding the carcass and cleaning up THAT mess, we only had a few precious hours of sleep before we had to get up and get ready for the main event.

My watch says 12:30... a.m.

My watch says 12:30… a.m.


With the holidays approaching, I wanted to give this recipe a try. I’m pleased to say it got an immediate “two thumbs up” from Husband.

It’s easy enough to make anytime the turkey craving hits {I’ve made it twice now for weeknight meals}. And I’ll be making it when I’m in charge of a holiday meal. Because in my book, cooking a whole turkey is for the birds.

Apple & Cranberry Turkey Roulade
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, chopped {optional}
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1½ cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 3 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 medium)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 (12-ounce) turkey tenderloins
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cook bacon {if using} in a large skillet over medium heat 7 minutes or until bacon begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in onion, chopped rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook for 8 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup broth, apples, and cranberries. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid evaporates and apples are almost tender (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Set aside 1 cup apple mixture.
  3. Slice turkey tenderloins lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, the other side. Open halves, laying tenderloins flat. Place each tenderloin between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to ½-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Discard plastic wrap.
  4. Sprinkle remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper evenly over both sides of tenderloins. Spread ⅓ cup apple mixture over each tenderloin; roll up jelly-roll fashion, starting with long sides. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine.
  5. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add tenderloins; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add remaining ½ cup broth and rosemary sprigs; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°. Remove tenderloins from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Slice crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices.
  6. Strain cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Combine flour and ¼ cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Return flour mixture and the remaining cooking liquid to pan. Stir in reserved 1 cup apple mixture; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly. Serve with turkey.


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