4 Birds Roll with Mushrooms and Prunes – Gluten and Dairy Free

Four birds roll is an easier version of three birds roast, a delicious festive dish I always make for our Christmas lunch. The main advantage of this dish is the option to serve it either warm, or as a cold cut, that accommodates our unpredictable weather on Christmas day. Don’t get me wrong, three birds roast is a wonderful dish, made from deboned chicken, stuffed with duck and quails breasts and chicken mince stuffing with prunes. But it demands more time and effort to make and has a strict timeline for preparation, occupying whole day. So, this year I decided to simplify the process of preparation, leaving practically same ingredients for the dish, adding just mushrooms, cooked with onions as one extra stuffing layer. Preparation in advance, when the roll is frozen before being put into butchers net, is an extra advantage. The roll/s could be made 1-2-3 weeks before the festive day, slowly defrosted before roasting, and roasted on the day or the day before, if desired for cold cuts.

In essence, 4 birds roll is poultry meat dish with three separate stuffings – chicken mince, mushroom and prunes. No grain, starches or any thickeners are added. When olive oil and butter are used to cook ingredients, the recipe is gluten free, when coconut and olive oil are used – the dish becomes gluten and dairy free, and satisfies Paleo protocol.

Quantity of ingredients is flexible and depends on how large you want the roll to be. From 6 chicken  maryland fillets and 6 large breast fillets, both with skin on, 4 duck breasts, 4 quail breasts, 8 turkey breast strips and 1 kg of chicken thigh mince,  I made 3 rolls, one extra-large and 2 large, fitting wide bread loaf pan with extra long and regular length.


for 1 roll, quantity of meat pieces depends on their size

  • 2 large chicken maryland fillets skin on
  • 2-3 large chicken breasts skin on (ask your butcher to have some extra skin on each breast)
  • 1-2 duck breasts skin on (I used  4 duck breasts for 3 rolls)
  • 2 quail breasts (I use the rest of quail carcasses to prepare the filling for ravioli)
  • 2-4 thin turkey breast strips
  • 300-400g chicken thigh mince
  • 1 leek/onion for chicken mince
  • 1 egg (optional) for chicken mince stuffing
  • 1 onion for mushrooms
  • 200g Swiss mushrooms
  • 8-10 pitted prunes (I used organic, to exclude sulphur preservatives)
  • 1 long sweet red chilli pepper
  • cold pressed olive oil
  • unsalted butter/coconut oil

seasoning and spices

  • homemade garlic sweet and hot chilli paste
  • 1 heaped tea spoon of cumin for chicken mince stuffing
  • coriander stems and sea salt preserve
  • fresh thyme
  • cumin and fennel seeds
  • sea salt and coarse black pepper

Roll assembly is carried out in extra wide bread loaf tin, lined with baking paper. Paper sheet size should be enough to wrap the roll before freezing.


chicken mince and leek stuffing

  • heat 1 table spoon of olive oil and 1 table spoon of butter in a pan
  • add fennel seeds
  • slice leek in semi-circles and saute until soft and translucent
  • add an egg (optional), sautéed leek, cumin powder, garlic and chilli paste, salt and pepper to chicken mince
  • combine all ingredients


  • heat butter/coconut oil in a pan
  • add sliced onions, fry them on medium heat until soft and translucent
  • add finely chopped mushrooms
  • season with salt and pepper, stir
  • cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes, if all liquid is gone and pan bottom becomes dry, add 1 table spoon of water and continue cooking

birds fillets, breasts and strips

  • separate quail breasts from the carcass, use the rest of the carcass for another project
  • wash and dry meat on paper towel
  • carefully separate skin from duck breast
  • slice duck breast in 2 pieces
  • slice chicken breasts in 2-3 pieces depending on their thickness, leave 1 cm meat layer on pieces with skin on
  • use garlic and chilli paste on chicken breast and thigh fillers
  • tenderise turkey strips and season them with salt and pepper

roll assembly 

  • place chicken thigh fillets skin down in a lined tin, use seasoning with spices or preserves to your taste
  • add chicken mince stuffing layer on top, press it down
  • place slices of duck breast, followed by mushroom stuffing
  • use pieces of quail breasts on top

  • add seasoned turkey strips
  • place prunes on top of turkey strips, cover them with more turkey strips
  • use coriander stems blended with sea salt, place sweet chilli pepper, sliced in half

  • apply another chicken mince stuffing layer
  • use pieces of chicken without skin to cover mince layer, use duck skin on top
  • cover other surfaces of the roll with chicken breast pieces with skin, so the whole roll is covered with chicken or duck skin
  • make skin overlap, fix skin in positions with toothpicks
  • cut extra length, leaving only up to 5 mm of toothpicks sticking out
  • wrap the roll tightly in baking paper
  • place in a zip-lock bag and freeze

  • defrost the roll in refrigerator, it takes 36 to 48 hour to defrost
  • before defrosting put butchers mesh on a roll
  • remove toothpicks before baking

  • line deep roasting pan with aluminium foil, use two layers to avoid roasting juices escaping
  • use 2 layers of baking paper
  • brush baking paper with olive oil
  • place fresh thyme sticks, fennel and cumin seeds
  • put the roll breast side up
  • tightly wrap the roll first in baking paper, then in aluminium foil
  • preheat fan forced oven to 200C
  • roast for 60 minutes
  • open the parcel, but leave foil or baking paper up, protecting the roll, reduce the temperature to 150-160C, roast for 30 minutes
  • expose the roll to the heat, fold or cut foil and baking paper
  • roast until the skin becomes light brown colour
  • turn the roll over thigh side on top
  • continue roasting until thigh side top becomes light brown
  • carefully remove the netting
  • remove all liquid from the parcel (if refrigerated the liquid separates in 2 fractions, light mixture of chicken and duck fat on top and dark brown juice that will set into jelly with deep and intense flavour, I use both fractions in my cooking)
  • cover the roast with baking paper, kitchen towel and return it to a switched off oven to rest, it might take 4-7 hours
  • if roasting is done in the afternoon, you can leave the roast in the oven overnight, it will reach room temperature by the morning
  • when used as a warm dish, long resting can be omitted

Photo below shows gluten and dairy free roll, freshly roasted, before resting. It was made as a Christmas gift for your friend.

Our extra-large roll (photo below) after overnight resting, just before slicing. Slow cooking and long resting make the roll super tender, even with breast pieces becoming soft. Resting the roll with breast side down helps juices to infuse breast meat, making it extra flavoursome and tender.

We happily enjoyed the roll starting on Christmas lunch and finishing it on New Year’s Eve.

The rest of quail meat cooked with vegetables was prepared as the filling for quail and leek ravioli. The were prepared in advance, frozen, and later cooked for Christmas lunch. I like to serve them with two sauces, mushroom and horseradish with dill and sour cream.

4 thoughts on “4 Birds Roll with Mushrooms and Prunes – Gluten and Dairy Free

    1. Thank you! It is actually not that difficult to make, especially compared with three bird roast. The most difficult part is to apply butchers net, but as I freeze the roll anyway, it works nicely. I made three of them. The last one is still in the freezer.

    1. Thank you! You are absolutely right, even with all bones taken out by butcher leaves so many other things to work out. Takes for ages, especially closing all gaps. This way it is quick and simple. I would like to have more mushrooms next time, though.

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