Thanks For Shortcuts
Thanksgiving favorites with less fuss.
Special to the Jewish News
n a few short weeks, we'll celebrate
Thanksgiving. And unless you can't stand
turkey, the loss-leader deals many retailers
offer will compel you to buy this holiday
staple and serve with all the accoutrements.
So how to prepare good Thanksgiving fare
without dedicating days to the process? Use
shortcuts. Buy frozen squash (peeling the hard
vegetables can be a chore). Use mixes and "doc-
tor" them. Make stuffing or dressing with just a
few ingredients and forget cramming them into
the bird cavity (which means you'll have to cook
the turkey immediately).
Instead of the whole turkey (which takes hours
and hours to cook), try preparing just the breast
(unless, like my family, you're dark-meat eaters).
The point? Keep the flavor, skip the endless
preparation. You can be just as thankful with less
fuss. The recipes below offer about half the
preparation of other "like" recipes. Easier would
mean having your meal catered.
ROAST HERBED TURKEY BREAST
Make one breast for about eight people and dou-
ble or triple as needed. Since presentation is so
important, decorate the turkey slices with fresh
whole sage leaves, washed ivy leaves (even from
your garden) or a generous sprinkling of fresh
1 cup chopped. carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
1 bay leaf
1 6-7 pound bone-in turkey breast with skin
3 T. olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 t. dried thyme
2 t. dried sage
1 T. minced garlic
1 cup white wine, any kind
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
4-6 T. extra-fine flour (such as Wondra)
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine carrots, celery,
onions and bay leaf in a roasting pan (I like to
use the disposable aluminum pans) and toss well
to combine. Place the turkey breast skin side up
over the vegetables. Brush the turkey breast with
olive oil and sprinkle the salt, pepper, thyme,
sage and garlic over it (use your fingers to "mas-
sage" the ingredients into the skin). Pour the
wine and broth around the turkey.
Roast, uncovered, for 20
minutes. Reduce heat to
325F and continue roast-
ing the turkey for about 1
hour, spooning some of
the liquid in the pan over
the breast every 20 min-
utes. Remove the turkey
to another pan, tent with
foil, and keep warm in a
200F oven for up to two
Strain pan juices into a
medium saucepan over
medium-high heat and
bring to a boil. Slowly add
in 4 T. of the flour and
whisk until incorporated.
Reduce heat to a simmer
and whisk frequently until
the sauce is thickened. If
the sauce is too thin, add
more flour. If it is too
thick, add some chicken
broth to thin.
Adjust the seasonings,
adding more salt and
white pepper if needed.
Slice the turkey against
the grain on a cutting
board and arrange the slices on a serving platter.
Pour any accumulated pan juices into the gravy
and, serve the turkey with the gravy on the_side.
Makes 8 servings.
MAKE-AHEAD MAPLE MASHED SWEET
POTATOES WITH CANDIED PECANS
Adding eggs to these sweet potatoes keeps them
fluffy if you are making this dish ahead of time.
The texture and flavor are extremely light.
1/2 pound (8 oz.) chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white, any size
4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (or
yams), peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
3 T. pure maple syrup
salt and white pepper to taste
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325F. Spray a baking sheet
with non-stick cooking spray. Combine pecans,
sugar, and egg whites in small bowl and toss
well. Spread the nuts on the prepared baking
sheet and bake, uncovered for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool com-
pletely before loosening the nuts from the pan
with a spatula and ',.reaking them into small
pieces with your fingers. Set aside or store in a
zippered sandwich bag until ready to use.
Place the sweet potato chunks in a large pot
and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a
boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-high
and boil the potatoes until very tender, about
Drain the potatoes very well (do not rinse) and
transfer them to a large bowl. Add the melted
butter or margarine and the syrup and beat with
an electric mixer or mash until smooth. Season
to taste with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and
mix well until incorporated.
Transfer the mixture to an attractive baking
dish or casserole that's been sprayed with non-
stick cooking spray. (You may make the dish up
to this point a day ahead and cover it with plas-
tic wrap and chill.)
Place the potatoes in the preheated oven and
bake, uncovered, for 1 hour. Just before serving,
sprinkle the pecans over. Makes 10-12 servings.
5-INGREDIENT BREAD STUFFING
The ingredients are few, and the result is a fuss-
free, quite simple-tasting stuffing. If you'd like to
"doll it up," add any or all of the following: 1/2-
cup of minced celery to the mixture (cook with
the onions), and sauteed mushrooms, sliced