Marinated Boneless Turkey Breast Roast with Pancetta Gravy


6 to 8 (with enough for leftovers)

Prep Time:

20 minutes + Marinating

Cook Time:

90 minutes



About this Recipe

Recipe from Set for the Holidays
Appetite for Random House, 2018

Gluten Free (without the gravy)

This marinated turkey recipe, which I call my turketta, strays from the traditional whole turkey. It’s a nice option if you have a small kitchen or if your family insists on turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you’d rather not serve the same menu twice. Porchetta is a boneless herb-rubbed pork loin that is roasted until the skin crisps up. Here I use similar flavours but with turkey. For a fully gluten-free option, substitute Caramelized Onion Cream for the gravy.



  • ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chili flakes
  • 2 tsp (10 g) salt, plus extra for the turkey
  • 1 tsp (2 g) chili flakes
  • ½ tsp (1.5 g) black pepper, plus extra for the turkey
  • 2 turkey breasts, each about 2.2 lb/1 kg
  • 3 Tbsp (45 g) butter


  • 1 cup (125 g) uncooked diced pancetta
  • 3 Tbsp (45 g) combined pancetta fat and butter
  • ¼ cup (35 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium or no-salt-added chicken or turkey stock
NOTES: Traditional porchetta seasoning also includes rosemary and fennel, but I find these flavours can be overwhelming and not always family-friendly, which is why I don’t use them in this turketta.

To serve, untie the turkey, cut into 1/2-inch (12 mm) slices and serve with the gravy.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

To make a marinade for the turkey, purée the oil, onion, garlic, lemon zest, sage, thyme, salt chili flakes and pepper until evenly combined.

Step 2

Remove and discard any bones from the turkey breasts. Place the turkey, skin side down, in a casserole dish or other pan. Set aside 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the marinade for the sauce and pour the rest over the turkey. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the turkey marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours(or up to 24 hours)

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Using butcher’s twine, tie the turkey breasts together, skin sides facing out, leaving as much of the marinade between them as possible. Pat the outside of the breast with paper towels and transfer to a roasting pan. Rub the turkey skin with butter and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Roast the turkey, uncovered, for 20 minutes. reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and roast for 60 to 70 minutes more, basting the turkey with the juices often, until the centre of each breast registers 170°F (77°C) on a meat thermometer. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest while you prepare the gravy.

Step 5

For the gravy, use the roasting pan if it has toasted bits that aren’t burnt, otherwise heat a clean medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Spoon the cooked pancetta onto a plate and drain the fat into a measuring cup.

Step 6

Measure 3 Tbsp (45 mL) of the fat back into the pan, supplementing with butter if needed. Add the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the roux becomes the colour of peanut butter, about 7 minutes.

Step 7

Add the reserved 1/4 cup (60 mL) of marinade, stirring well, and then whisk in 1 cup (250 mL) of the stock, waiting until it begins to bubble before whisking in the remaining 1 cup (250 mL). Bring the gravy to a simmer, add the cooked pancetta and season to taste with salt and pepper.