Tacchino alla Porchetta

by Matt Molina

Executive Chef, Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza


Molto Batali July_03_15_2011_5

I love turkey thighs for their versatility. You can braise them, confit them or even chicken fry them. Here, I like to treat them like porchetta. If you’re lucky and there’s any left over for the next day, it makes for a perfect panino.



Note: if you prefer a meatier porchetta filling (like the one in the above photo), add sautéed ground turkey meat and/or pancetta (8 ounces each) to the filling. 




Serves 8 people

For the porchetta filling

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions,1 sliced in 1inch-thick rounds and 1 minced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 tablespoons fresh fennel fronds, chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper, plus some to taste
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons fennel fronds

2 tablespoons fennel pollen
4 deboned turkey thighs (about 5 pounds)

Butchers twine
2 fresh fennel bulbs with fronds, cut off stalks, halve bulbs, remove core, slice 1-inch thick

Salt and pepper, to taste


To Prepare Porchetta Filling

Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat with 4 tablespoons olive oil for two minutes. Add onion, garlic, fennel seed, 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper to taste; sweat for 7 minutes or until tender, turn off heat. Stir in rosemary and the chopped fennel fronds. Transfer onto a plate. Cool in refrigerator for 5 to 7 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix the seasoning by stirring together fennel pollen, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 tablespoons pepper.


Rub 1 teaspoon of the seasoning into each turkey thigh, lay turkey skin side down and divide filling over the four thighs. Roll each leg like a jelly roll, tie once lengthwise with butcher’s twine, and then tie four times horizontally.


Heat a Dutch oven or a heavy roasting pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear each side of the turkey rolls until browned, about two minutes each side. Turn off heat and remove turkey rolls. Add onion and fennel bulbs to the pan, stirring the vegetables, deglazing the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.


Place turkey back in the pan, on top of the vegetables, and roast in oven for 45 minutes. When done, remove turkey from pan and strain vegetables and liquid with a fine mesh strainer, reserving jus and vegetables, leave oven on.


To Serve Turkey

Remove twine from turkey thighs and slice into 1-inch thick medallions.


Serve alongside a salad and with other leftovers.






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