The most difficult task of the Thanksgiving dinner is cooking the turkey. One part comes out perfectly while the other is dry, and it always takes so darned long. This recipe allows you to cook the turkey in about an hour and a half. The meat remains moist and eveny cooked. If you want to have dark meat too, you can use the whole turkey and roll it up in the same manner as the breast, but it will take longer to cook.
Recipe courtesy of Carolyn Wente and Kimball Jones
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Serves 8 to 10:


Roasted Root Vegetables


To prepare the ballotine: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay out the turkey breast on a flat surface with the skin side down. Pull the fillet (the piece that is loosely attached to the center of the breast on the opposite side from the skin) toward the middle of the breast so that it lays flat. Split open the large end of the turkey breast, while still keeping it attached to the rest of the breast, and lay next to the fillets. You should have a turkey breast that is roughly rectangular. Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until the surface is even and flat. Season the flattened breast with kosher salt and Szechuan peppercorns. Sprinkle the surface with the chopped herbs. Cover with the prosciutto. Starting with the end closest to you, roll tightly into a cylinder and tie every 2 inches with the butcher's twine. Season trhe outside with Kosher salt and Szechuan peppercorns. Place in a roasting pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until an internal temperature of 140 degrees is reached. 

To preapre the roasted vegetables: Toss the onions, carrots, turnips, and parsnips in the oil and vinegar. After the ballotine has been cooking for 45 mintues, add the vegetables to the roasting pan. When the ballotine and vegetables are cooked, remove them from the oven. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil. To serve, remove the strings from the turkey (scissors work best for this), slice, and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Wine Notes To satisfy everyones taste, it is traditional to serve both red and white wine at the Wente family Thanksgiving dinner. More importantly, it is not necessarily the turkey that you are trying to pair with the wine. The other side dishes, gravies, and stuffing may have the stronger flavors and intensity with which the wines need to be paired. For a white wine, we usually serve a Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend or a full-bodied Chardonnay--both providing enough flavor and weight. We generally tend toward a light to medium-bodied red wine with nice acid, balanced tannins, and rich fruit, such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot. Whatever you choose, remember that there is no one right answer to a melting pot of traditions and flavors.

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