Turkey and Stuffing en Croute. In plain English, as the term, "en croute" means in pastry in French. To me, this looked almost like a Thanksgiving play on Beef Wellington (except for the obvious holiday substitutions). I was excited when I found this in the frozen section. If you can plan a day ahead and give yourself an hour or baking, then this makes a really nice dinner. My household is smaller. Two people and a cat to be exact. Unless we are having company making anything bigger than a roast chicken isn't going to happen. However, Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing en Croute was pretty solid.
You'll need to leave yourself a bit of extra time for this product. From the freezer, you'll need to allow it to defrost for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Out of the box, you are getting three distinct bags: the turkey en croute, gravy, and cranberry sauce. While the directions don't mention it, be sure to put the seam side down to make sure this stays sealed. After an hour in the oven, you'll have a very presentable dish.
The key to success here is allowing this the time to rest. I wish I would have waited another 2-3 minutes before cutting into it. My first slice wasn't as pretty as the ones I waited a bit longer on. Now, there is one other point that is important to note. Puff pastry can be a bit of a pain to cut into and still have pretty slices when you are done. The box says there are 8 servings, but I would imagine that you might mangle this trying to cut it so small. I think 4-6 slices is a bit closer to reality. It did not help that the first slice I cut into on the end did not actually have any turkey in it. While this might be a carb-lovers delight, it might disappoint a dinner guest without planning for leftovers.
Once I got past the first slice that just happened to have no turkey in it, I found the rest of the product to have a filling amount of turkey. Now, this stuffing is quite different from say Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Stuffing. Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute is less health-conscious and meant for the carb lovers. I liked every bite. There was a nice crispness from the puff pastry which was coated in butter and herbs. The turkey was cooked through and was nice and tender. The stuffing was quite soft (so crispy stuffing lovers be aware). The stuffing also lent certain flavors to the turkey, like the taste of black pepper, but otherwise was nice and flavorful.
As an added bonus there was gravy and cranberry sauce already packaged. While I thought the bags seemed a bit small to go along with "8 servings," I almost found them to be not too necessary either. The cranberry sauce was tart and acidic. It had a distinct flavor of citrus in addition to cranberry. The gravy was just ok. It wasn't as flavorful as I would have liked, but I did not want much of it anyway because I did not was to ruin the crispy puff pastry. If you know your dinner guests are gravy lovers, then consider picking up some extra gravy. Mine did not fill even one of my coffee creamers to make for a pretty presentation.
Overall, this was very good. It was tasty and would make for an impressive looking meal for dinner or guests. For $12.99 this like most of Thanksgiving in a box minus the veggies and mashed potatoes. To not have to stress or prep, this was a good value. I'll pick up a few of these to keep in the freezer for a nice Sunday dinner. It would be nice to serve this as a Friendsgiving dinner as well.
Here is the visual rundown of what you get if you buy this product:
The box of Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute:
The nutritional information:
How to prepare:
Out of the package you get three plastic bags:
After being cooked you get:
And sliced up you get:
While not perfect, there was one slice that came out as all stuffing. While some wouldn't see that as a problem (who wouldn't love pastry wrapped stuffing), serving this you'll have to adjust. Here is the side by side on two different slices of Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute:
Would I repurchase this? Yes, I would actually consider keeping a few of Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute in the freezer before they are gone for the season. It made for a carb-lovers delight. Other than a few minor issues, I really liked this. For me, this was worth the money, just in the time-saving aspect alone.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!
Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute
Product Name: Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute
Product Description: Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute is a returning classic perfect for smaller gatherings.
Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute is a returning classic perfect for Sunday dinner or a small gathering on Thanksgiving.
- Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing En Croute is a Thanksgiving dinner (minus the mashed potatoes) in one single frozen box.
- It's a massive time saver and is super presentable.
- If you like this product, it appears to be a seasonal one.
- While most of the turkey was evenly distributed, I did have one slice that did not have any. I'm also not sure why this is about 8 servings.
- I think 4-6 is a more reasonable number (more on this issue below).
- Be sure to defrost for the 24 hours otherwise the puff pastry will be very dense.
This actually looks delicious and might be a very nice option for a small Thanksgiving dinner.
I couldn't agree more and I think it would be nice for any dinner get together. Only bummer is it appears to be seasonal.
Do you think it is safe to leave this in the fridge for a couple of days before cooking?
Hey CJ! The first time I made it, I followed directions. I liked it so much I went back and purchased two more. The second one I made sat in my refrigerator for 2 days. I'm proud to announce I'm alive and well after eating that one too (and those who shared it with me are also in good condition). I don't think the concern would be the turkey, but with the condition of the pastry it comes in. I wouldn't want it to be exposed to too much liquid it is coated in butter and has the turkey/stuffing combo which is moist as well. I personally thought the first one I made came out better. So I would not push it too far past the 2 days. I hope that answers your question!
Mike in VA says
Safe? Almost certainly. Good idea? I dunno. I took mine out of the freezer probably 36 to 40 hours before putting it in the oven (busy day and I thought I might forget to start thawing it precisely 25 hours before I planned to serve it. See my comment below - It didn't leak, but just sort of sank so it was considerably flatter than when it started - tasted fine but just didn't look as pretty on the plate as the pictures. But do they ever?
Unfortunately, both stores in my city were out of these about two days after they arrived. Pfffffffft, Trader Joes. You don’t get very many of any one product making it almost impossible to buy.
That's such a bummer Jen! I really wish they had more inventory of certain items.
We are baking this today as we are just dining a deux and love leftovers. But it’s been in our fridge since the weekend so it might be soggy!
Hey Maureen! Let me know how this turns out. I am interested in hearing. Thanks for stopping by!
It was very good! If my husband put it on two layers of cookie sheets instead of just one it wouldn't have burned on the bottom. Nevertheless it was still tasty and moist. It wasn't soggy as I feared. We will try to buy a couple more!
That's for getting back to me on this. I know puff pastry can be temperamental so this is fantastic to know! Happy Thanksgiving and yes stock up. This is a seasonal item 🙁
I let mine defrost in the refrigerator for a bit more than a day and a half so I wouldn’t forget to defrost it in time. It came out of the oven flatter than in your (or Trader Joe’s) pictures, with stuffing which should have been around the top and bottom of the turkey squeezed out toward the sides. It tasted fine and everything was cooked properly, it just didn’t look as pretty as the picture on the box. But I find that true with just about every prepared/frozen food, so I wasn’t disappointed.
I wondered if perhaps the 24-hour defrost is somewhat critical in having it keep its shape – maybe 24 hours leaves it just cold enough to hold up until things start cooking inside enough to support the weight of the turkey. I don’t have a great oven, but I do have a good oven thermometer, so I know I was cooking it at the correct temperature.
Probably just over-thinking it, but then I’m an engineer, not a chef.
By chance did you put it in the oven seam down? That might explain why it might it leaked. Thanks for your detailed comment. I would be interested to see if that had something to do with it. That was one thing that was not mentioned in the directions.
Mike in VA says
Yes, it just made sense to me to put it with the seam down. It didn’t really leak (there was no excess juice on the parchment lining the pan. It just sank.
Bummer. I hope it tasted good. I had some minor dripping but nothing more than a tablespoon. Interesting. I hope it tasted good.
Do you think it’s okay to defrost for 15 hours?
Hey Di! Yes you should be fine. I've tried it defrosted for 24 hours and straight from the freezer. The only difference was the pastry seemed denser when cooked straight from the freezer
We didn’t read the directions until 5h before meal time. Putting it under dripping cold water for 4h.
Hey Christopher! Cold water defrosts really well. I'd love to hear how it turned out!
By the time I heard about this last year, they were gone. I was told they only have it “during” the holiday season. Of course, we were in the midst of the holiday season but it is a limited item and because it is good, it goes (like the Chocolate Passport and other items). This year I got there right after Halloween and bought 2. I agree that it really does not feed 8. 4-6, depending on appetite. We had 3 meals from it with vegetables. They could leave out the gravy and cranberry sauce but the turkey is quite good. I have looked up recipes to try to make it myself off season. I cut 2 slices for Thanksgiving dinner with vegetables,coffee and dessert, which I packed into a thermal travel contrainer and kept all warm, and took our dinner down to Plymouth, MA where we sat in our car (in the slashing rain), overlooking Plymouth Harbor and the Mayflower. It was a different Thanksgiving for us.
I made this today, after defrosting 24 hours. The entree came out great. I didn't have parchment paper, so I baked it on aluminum foil sitting on a broiler pan -- I poked little holes in the aluminum foil to help it brown underneath, and I oiled the aluminum foil. It came out perfect in about an hour, although it did stick to the aluminum foil.
The instructions called for the gravy to be added to 4 - 6 cups of boiling water -- oh, that was waaaay too much water! It was like water with a hint of gravy. I reduced it and added cornstarch and barely saved it. Still not very flavorful, but not a deal breaker The cranberry sauce was really good, but if we'd had eight people, each person would have had about a tablespoonful. Luckily, there were only two of us
So, if I were to make it again, I'd have parchment paper on hand; I have some extra gravy from another source or use only 1 - 2 cups of water to the small amount of gravy included, and I'd have some extra cranberry sauce to supplement the small packet of cranberry sauce that is included.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this!
B Hildy says
You do not open the pouch with the gravy, you drop the pouch in the boiling water and it heats up that way.