Turkey and Ham Roll

Hope your Thanksgiving was as good as ours.  It was quiet, just a little family.  We had Pulled Pork that Don had put on the smoker for a while before I put it in the slow cooker overnight.  Also, smoked turkey legs, thighs, and wings.  I used the breast meat for the recipe below.  Kathy brought homemade wholewheat bread, and made arepas, and praline liqueur whipping cream for the desserts.  I know…… it was fabulous.  The sides were cream cabbage, made like the Cream Brussel Sprouts, and a turnip, plantain, and garlic mash.  For dessert we had Pumpkin Flan and Sweet Potato Pie with a pecan / cranberry crust.  We gathered a few pecans after lunch, and then we sat, and didn’t get up!

As usual, I always have at least one big cooking calamity to contend with.  For this holiday, I chose to screw up the sweet potato pie.  I processed the pecans and dried cranberries and patted them in the pie pan.  Then I made the filling and it looked gorgeous and tasted really yummy.  I put it in the oven, and started on the flan when I noticed my little bowl of flour, spices, and baking powder sitting on the counter.  That was supposed to be in the pie, to help it set up and of course, flavor it.  If I had made a regular crust, it wouldn’t have been as much of a problem, I could have scooped out the filling.  I usually don’t accept defeat, so I pulled the pie out of the oven, carefully sprinkled the dry ingredients on top, and then ever so carefully, and for many more minutes than I want to think about, I stirred the dry ingredients into the crust, trying not to pick up the ground pecans and cranberries.  Whenever you feel like you want to toss something, just get a mental picture of me hunched over this pie trying to make it right!  Surprisingly enough, it turned out to be delicious.

Years ago I saw a variation of this Turkey Roll recipe on a cooking show from Italy.  It’s so versatile and so delicious, you have to tuck this away as part of your recipe repertoire.  I’m going to give you the version I used for Thanksgiving, but you can use chicken instead of turkey.  As always there’s a variety of pork products you can use including straight pork fat, bacon, ham, prosciutto, pancetta, sausage, or just ground pork.  If you don’t want pork, use ground beef.

Turkey and Ham Roll


  • Turkey skin
  • Turkey breast meat
  • Ham
  • Grated cheese (I used white cheddar)
  • Cream (about 1/2 cup)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bacon


  1. I had about a 10 lb turkey.
  2. Carefully, remove the skin from the turkey breast. It really should be a bigger piece, but we smoked the rest of the bird, so whatever I didn't have in skin, I made up for with bacon!
  3. Cut the breast meat from the bone.
  4. Using equal parts turkey breast meat, and ham, I ground everything together. No worries if you don't have a meat grinder, because the food processor will work just fine.
  5. I added 1 cup grated cheese, 1/2 cup cream, salt and pepper, and mixed well.
  6. Because I didn't have a large piece of skin, I placed bacon strips in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Next I formed all the meat into a log shape (sort of like working with a meat loaf), and placed it on the bacon strips. Then I covered the top of the roll with the skin, and brought the bacon strips up and around the sides of the skin. The ends of the roll didn't get covered with skin, so I cut bacon strips and covered the ends.
  8. Then the whole pan got covered and placed in the fridge overnight.
  9. The next day, I heated the oven to 375°, covered the pan with foil and roasted. The total cooking time was about 1 1/2 hours. I uncovered it in the last 1/2 hour to brown the top. Eat warm or cold. I made a sauce with sauteed mushrooms, capers, broth and cream, but you could just as easily drizzle with a vinaigrette.
  10. If you have leftovers, you can always fry slices, with or without a coating (like panko).
  11. Note: On a day when you're channeling Julia Childs, skin the whole bird, keeping the skin as intact as possible. Lay the skin out on a large piece of heavy foil (outside of the skin against the foil). Lay thin pieces of prosciutto on the skin. Make the mixture of ground meat. Lay it on the prosciutto, then using the skin, roll the whole thing up, and cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate overnight, then use the same baking instructions.