Personally, I love turkey, and I actually eat it often in various different ways. However, we all know during the festive period turkey is a staple product that many people love to hate. I will agree that a whole roasted turkey is pointless, often dry and not worth the effort and time…which is why I always opt for a turkey breast crown instead. This year, I decided to try something different and Jamaican inspired because… why not? My jerk spiced turkey breast roll is stuffed with a sweet and savoury plantain stuffing and I think it’s a great combination of tradition and culture. The orange and maple glaze bring a sweeter dimension to this table centre piece that creates a flavour that is not like normal everyday jerk, but something more festive and special!
You can buy a deboned turkey breast crown from most butchers and they can butterfly it for you on request. Alternatively, most supermarkets will sell it and this year I bought one from Iceland for £16. It comes lightly seasoned and tied up, so I just removed the string and washed the meat off with cold water and lemon juice.
For this special time of year, I would highly recommend using my jerk seasoning recipe to create your own seasoning, just so you can really brag about this dish when the compliments start rolling in hehehe. It’s best to make it quite spicy so that the flavour is not lost when you add the sweet glaze on top.
You can get suitable string from any butchers if you ask nicely or you can buy 100% cotton string from most homeware shops or even supermarkets.
Jerk Spiced Turkey Breast Roll
Prep time: Overnight
Cooking time: approx. 1 hr 20-40 mins (40 mins per kg)
1 large boneless turkey breast crown w/ skin on (approx. 2-2.5kg)
1 cup of Jerk Seasoning
10 tbsp pure maple syrup
Juice of 2 large oranges (with pulp)
Lay turkey breast onto a flat surface – skin side down, cover with cling film and use a rolling pin or meat tenderiser to even out the meat (if necessary)
Drop about 2 tbsp of jerk seasoning on the inside of the breast and use fingers to rub it in.
Turn the breast over with the skin side up and rub another 2 tbsps into the meat
Fold in half and leave to marinate overnight or for as long as possible.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 180°C.
Lay back out flat, skin side down & place the stuffing on one side and then carefully, tightly roll it up. You want to make sure that whatever direction you roll it, the skin ends up at the top of your roll.
Use kitchen string to tie it in 2.5cm intervals (approx. 2 fingers width)
Rub another 2 tbsp of jerk seasoning on the top of your turkey roll. Use a knife to poke little holes into your roll & push seasoning into these holes.
Place the stuffed and tied breast in a roasting tin and add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the tin.
Cover with tin foil and roast the turkey breast in the middle shelf of the oven for approx. 1 hour.
During that hour mix your maple syrup, orange juice and 2 tbsps of jerk seasoning together in a bowl to create a glaze and set aside.
For the last 30 mins remove the foil and baste the roll with the glaze. Turn the oven up to 200°C and baste with juices in the bottom of the pan every 5 -10 mins.
Check that it’s cooked by inserting a metal skewer to the centre to see that the skewer is very hot and the juices run clear when removed.
Sweet & Savoury Plantain Stuffing
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: N/A
3 ripe plantains, chopped into small cubes
500ml sunflower oil
80g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp garlic granules
1 tbsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tbsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 large egg, beaten
Heat sunflower oil on a high heat.
Deep fry the pieces of plantain until golden brown and then set aside.
Sweat the onion in the olive oil, until soft but not coloured
Mix together the onion, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, egg, fried plantain and breadcrumbs.
Cover with cling film and set in the fridge until you are ready to stuff your turkey.
Making my own breadcrumbs just doesn’t appeal to me, and I really like the “Waitrose Cook’s Ingredients – A Handful of Breadcrumbs”. They are perfect for a good stuffing base and adding your own ingredients to it.
Your plantains need to be as ripe as possible; the outer skin needs to be completely black and it should feel quite soft.
The riper the plantain the sweeter it will taste once cooked. Although I fried it for this recipe it can also be boiled for a healthier alternative. I wouldn’t recommend baking the plantain as I personally don’t really like the texture.