February 22, 2019
Turkey Breast à la Ficelle

Turkey Breast à la Ficelle

by Berkeley Wellness  

In French, à la ficelle literally means “on a string,” and it’s an apt description of a dish in which a large cut of meat—usually a beef roast—is tied with string and then suspended “on a string” in a large pot of broth to cook. A portion of the vegetables that cook along with the turkey get puréed into a surprisingly buttery tasting sauce.


  • 1 large skinless, boneless turkey breast half (about 1½ pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary, minced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 white turnip (6 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 parsnip, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, cut into chunks
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic


  1. Place the turkey breast on a cutting board with one short end facing you. With a sturdy, long, thin-bladed knife, cut the turkey breast horizontally and lengthwise, starting at the thin side and cutting toward the thick side. Do not cut all the way through. Open the turkey like a book.
  2. Sprinkle the turkey with the salt, rosemary, and pepper. Scatter the parsley leaves down the center. Starting from one long end, roll the turkey breast up and tie with kitchen string (leaving an 18-inch length of string coming off the middle).
  3. In a large pot, combine the carrots, leeks, turnip, parsnip, tomato, celery, and garlic, and enoughwater to cover the turkey by 2 inches (put the turkey in the pot to make this judgment, but remove before bringing the poaching liquid to a boil). Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 10 minutes; then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Tie the long piece of string to the handle of the pot so that the turkey is suspended in the broth, not touching the bottom. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the turkey is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Lift the turkey out and place on a cutting board. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve, reserving the vegetables and ½ cup of the liquid, and transfer to a food processor.
  5. Measure out 1 cup of the vegetables and add to the processor. Process to a smooth puree and transfer to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until piping hot, about 5 minutes. Thinly slice the turkey and serve with the sauce and vegetables.
Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 310 calories, 2g total fat (1g saturated), 105mg cholesterol, 6g dietary fiber, 27g carbohydrate, 45g protein, 450mg sodium.

A good source of: beta carotene, folate, niacin, potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Also see Best and Worst French Foods.