“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

My facebook feed is scattered with friends and family who have dedicated an update of thankfulness for everyday in November. The political rants are becoming less and less while the thanks for family, friends, health are increasing. I appreciate their thankfulness but then quickly return to my own state of longing leaving me feeling dissatisfied.

Instead of feeling thankful for my home I lament it’s size. The sun shines and yet I focus on the cold. My body is eager, warm and alive and I concentrate on the slight tinge of a sore throat that is forming. The pantry is stocked and the fridge is filled with fresh food but I moan over having to cook another meal.

Thankfulness is as much a habit as brushing your teeth or making a cup of coffee in the morning. It’s about shifting your focus to the things that you do have rather than longing for what is not yet yours. In the midst of thankfulness we see all we are unnecessarily given and joy overwhelms the dissatisfaction.

A small home becomes a warm home filled with joyful, healthy children. The cold weather turns to thoughts of brightly colored fall leaves and anticipation of snow and warming drinks. When the time comes for me to cook my family dinner I should be overwhelmed by the fact that I have a family to feed and there is food to cook with and a stove to prepare it on with electricity to heat the pan and clean water to wash my fresh vegetables – I could go on and on.

I’m writing this post while thinking this through and am peeling back the blinding scales as I write. These last few days I’ve successfully felt sorry for myself – overwhelmed with work, exhausted by the responsibilities of being a wife and a mother and blinded by dissatisfaction. I didn’t come to this space to write about thankfulness but I’m so glad I did as I can see now how selfish I’ve been and am so thankful to be aware.

Joy returns and reroutes me outward. With a focus on thankfulness rather than lamenting over what I want differently in my life the resulting joy presses me to love and serve which ultimately leads to satisfaction greater than any “want” could ever give.

I did indeed come here to tell you about our turkey and I’m so thankful for this space to share it with you all because you need to know about this turkey.

This year will mark the second in which we’ve made a boneless turkey. A quick call to the local market and a boneless turkey is ready for pickup the next day. The bones are then saved for stock and used to make a rich gravy or saved to make the traditional leftover turkey soup.
The advantage to a boneless turkey is that carving is simple and clean, the dark meat and white meat mingle in the roll creating a harmonious flavorful meat and the options for stuffing are endless and provide even more flavor which can sometimes be lacking in turkey.

The turkey that ceremoniously lands on our Thanksgiving table this year will be stuffed with an herby, sausage-laden stuffing dotted with dried cherries and toasted hazelnuts. I’m already feeling thankful for that day and for the opportunity to enjoy this turkey again.
What a great time of year to be reminded to exercise the habit of thankfulness.


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Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing

inspired by Ina Garten

Serves 8

The most difficult part about this recipe is tying the stuffed turkey just prior to roasting. It makes the job much easier if you have an extra set of hands help you get the turkey to submit. It’s going to be messy and you’ll feel a bit clumsy. Be brave and confident as it will come together and your reward for such bravery will be a flavorful and moist turkey that will sure evoke elation and cheers as it’s brought to the table for (easy) carving.

3/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/2 cup brandy
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (homemade recipe below)
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good mustard
1 whole turkey boned (save bones, wings and giblets for gravy and stock)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Place the dried cherries in a small saucepan and pour in the brandy and 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika and a pinch of salt. Add the cherries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and hazelnuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.

Lay the butterflied turkey skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and spread the mustard over the turkey.

Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place any leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.)

Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon paprika, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.


Homemade Stuffing Mix

3 cups ½” diced rustic bread
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, sage, rosemary, thyme etc.)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt


Combine everything in a large bowl and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350*F until bread is golden and dried out, about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture halfway through the baking process. Taste and add more salt if desired.

44 Responses to “Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing”

  1. la domestique

    I do like the idea of a turkey roulade, with tender, moist meat and herby stuffing. Being thankful IS a state of mind, and you’re post has definitely given me a moment’s pause to consider all my blessings.

  2. Tracey @Cooking with Love

    I have never made turkey roulade. Surprising because I am a huge Ina fan! Will be trying this for sure. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. I am so thankful to have you as a fellow food blogger in my blogosphere life! 🙂

  3. Rachel

    This looks delicious! I also, make a sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving, but I do a traditional bird.
    I often think the same way you are speaking of, where it seems as though you have so many things to be grateful for, you always seem to crave something more, something better. It is always a good feeling to be reminded that we are human, and that others share our thoughts, even those we are not so proud of. Your words give me, also, time to reflect and to remember to be thankful every day, for just living is something so wonderful, it deserves thanks alone.

  4. ahu

    this looks beautiful, i’m ready for thanksgiving already! this will be a special thanksgiving as i am thankful to have power, heat and hot water back after almost 2 weeks without post-hurricane sandy. i’m looking forward to going out and volunteering to helping the other victims.

  5. heather

    this is fab! we make a similar stuffing with apples and dried cranberries. i usually butterfly my bird and de-bone the breast then mound it over the stuffing (julia a-z) i think i will give this roulade a go this thanksgiving!

  6. Grace @ Forsythia Root

    This is so good for me to hear! I like to think that I am a naturally grateful person and that my writing reflects that, but lately I’ve tended toward complaining about the dark and the gloom and the busyness of life. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful.

  7. Helene @ French Foodie Baby

    Love this post, and can very much relate. That mental effort to go from this constant state of dissatisfaction to gratefulness is definitely worthwhile, but not always so easy to do. I find it so important to make myself to do it as a model to my young son too. I have also found that writing for the blog has helped me sort through thoughts this way… As for the recipe, I’m intrigued, I had never thought of a boneless turkey, like the idea of dark and white meats mingling! I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks so much.

  8. Erin

    Beautiful post. We so often complain about things that are actually blessings. But there is so much to be grateful for.

  9. Shanna

    Ashley. I am loving your posts more and more these last few months. Your voice of truth and light, coupled with gorgeous (!) photos of inspiring recipes (!), makes this place such a breath of fresh air. I’m thankful for you, my friend.

  10. Kelsi

    It’s funny, my husband and I have never been so poor as this fall – he has started graduate school, and the job I took did not give me the hours I’ve needed to support our household. Between regular bills and living costs, we’ve had unexpected car troubles and a massive vet bill to take care of. We have gone over a month without a paycheck, and it’s terrifying.

    And yet in the darkest times so far…I mean, DARK: rolling pennies so I can go buy another lb. of flour to bake some bread. …we’ve felt truly grateful, for each other, for a roof over our heads, for our families and their empathy and support. We know if it got really grim we’d lave a network to lean on.

    I’ve never had to plan meals this frugally (like, scrimping on onion in a recipe so I can have enough for the soup I’ll make tomorrow), but it makes me feel far more resourceful than I realized. Being in a dire situation that at least has some light at the end of the tunnel (I got a new job this morning! He gets a stipend in February!) gives me hope that we can turn this situation into a valuable learning experience.

    So, so thankful.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Kelsi – Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m humbled by your words and your willingness to share. We’ve had many tight financial times in our marriage but your perspective is inspiring. Thank you.

  11. The Food Hound

    Love this post AND this turkey! I actually have this episode DVR’d so I can watch her make it! I need to try this boned turkey idea. I would totally try it this year, but new-fangled ideas don’t really fly with the in-laws, hah!

  12. Jody @ the hobby room diaries

    That is the third Bonhoeffer quote I’ve come across today, what a great reminder about being thankful. And I am so happy to see all the thankfulness instead of political rants!

    I have really been waffling over what to cook this year for Thanksgiving–cooking a whole bird is NOT exciting to me. At all. But this I could do and actually want to eat. So here’s my question, where did you get the turkey? I know you’re in the Seattle area as I am. I’ve called a couple places and no one will do it, so I figured I’d see where you got yours. Thanks!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Jody – Central Market and Ballard Market will do it. I’m surprised other places won’t. Silly people. Isn’t Bonhoeffer great? I started reading his biography recently. What a fascinating life. Thanks for the comment. I hope you find your turkey!

  13. molly

    I, for one, am thankful you appear here, when and how it suits, when and how you squeak it in.

    Blessings, Ashely.


  14. Ruthy @ omeletta

    “Thankfulness is as much a habit as brushing your teeth or making a cup of coffee in the morning. ” Such a beautiful line and a wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. sara

    while I can see myself making a gigantic mess trying to pull off a turkey like this, I am enamored with it. You have always been an example of someone who is aware of how hurtful our own selfishness is. We go in and out of phases of being aware to it, but are are always so humble in admitting you’ve lost track. Thanks for inspiring me. I too, will spend time to see how good I have it.

  16. lapadia

    I love Turkey Roulade, started making them some time ago, hadn’t seen Ina’s, thanks for sharing it. Mine is similar with addition of apple to the stuffing, I also line the roulade with prosciutto slices, some pressed garlic parsley, salt & pepper. But whatever you use I can definitely say it all comes out delicious…and is always enjoyed by all! BTW-cooked drumsticks on the side for those who “need” them. Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. Jana

    We have made a version of this recipe by Ina a couple of times. My favorite part is the stuffing that falls to the bottom of the pan mixed with the caramelized pan juices. So savory and with a bit of sweet from the cherries.


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