Every Thanksgiving I receive calls from “Thanksgiving cooks” in a panic after pursuing the many pages of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living along with the piles of cookbooks they have purchased just for this occasion.
Very few New Yorkers cook daily in their homes and over the years less and less working Americans have the time or the energy to cook this holiday meal with so many expectations.
Stop worrying! Put down that cook book because these thanksgiving recipes can and have been made by many of my friends who use their ovens to store wine or who think a refrigerator is a water bottle cooler.
So now you can take your turn to making Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a dish to friends and stop panicking!
The Thanksgiving Meal
A whole turkey- I don’t think so!
This is a dish I developed when living in a studio apartment in Soho where I had a half stove and a mini fridge. I couldn’t fit a whole turkey if I wanted to.
Here is a foolproof time line
11:00 Butterfly, season and marinate turkey, refrigerate.
12:00 Prep- wash and cut all veggies, set dinner and buffet tables with cutlery, glasses, napkins and plates.
12:15 Place bread rolls in basket and cover with cloth to keep fresh. Put stick of butter out on plate so that it’s room temperature at dinnertime.
12:30 Blanch haricots verts, sauté mushrooms and shallots and set aside. Whip cream and cover with plastic and place in refrigerate.
01:30 Make cranberry sauce and set aside.
02:00 Prepare stuffing, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
02:30 Assemble the roulade, brown the roulade in pan and immediately deglaze with cup of white wine while scraping the pan. Place browned roulade in roasting pan along with yams and pour in the deglazed liquid from pan. Cover with foil and refrigerate pan.
03:30 Take a shower and get ready!
04:30 Put olives, hummus, nuts and flat bread on table.
04:50 Put turkey roulade pan in the oven and set timer for 30 minutes.
05:00 Welcome guests and enjoy your cocktail hour but keep your eye on the clock.
05:20 Remove turkey from the oven. Lift turkey roulade out of pan and place directly on cutting board (same cutting board will later go directly to table), tent the roulade on the board with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Leave yams in pan covered with foil so that you don’t have to reheat them.
05:40 Slice roulade on board, heat and toss haricots verts and place in platter. Remove yams from pan and place in bowl. Pour drippings into two separate gravy boats (one for each side of table). Place cranberry sauce on table and call dinner guests to the table.
Purchase a 2 lb turkey breast from the butcher and ask him to “butterfly it”. That just means that they slice it lengthwise so that you can roll it and stuff it. Just in case you want to do it yourself follow the instructions below.
How to butterfly, stuff & roll a turkey breast
1. Place the turkey breast on a cutting board. Starting on the rounded side, make a horizontal cut with a chef’s knife, about halfway down, to within 1 inch of the other side. 2. Open up the breast. Cover the breast with plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin or meat mallet to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap. 3. Spread the stuffing over the breast, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Roll the breast up into a cylinder. 4. Secure the roulade by tying it with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals.
When a whole bird is just too much–time and effort, as well as size–there is a quicker, simpler way: what’s known in French cuisine as a roulade. Using a boneless turkey breast, butterflied and flattened, you can serve a beautiful spiral of juicy meat.
Turkey Roulade with whole wheat and fresh herb Dressing aka Stuffing
1 two-pound boneless turkey breast half
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup of white wine (preferably Chardonnay)
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon lemon juice
To Prepare Turkey
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove skin from turkey breast and trim off fat. Butterfly the turkey breast (see above). Cover with plastic wrap and flatten the turkey breast slightly with a mallet. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Spread the stuffing over the breast and roll the breast up into a cylinder. Secure with kitchen string. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roulade and cook, turning from time to time, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Immediately add white wine to pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Remove from heat. Bake the roulade until it is no longer pink inside and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170°, 25 minutes to 30 minutes. Transfer to a carving board, tent with foil and keep warm. To prepare gravy: Strain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook for 2 to 3 minutes to intensify the flavor. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl; add to the simmering gravy, whisking until lightly thickened. Add mustard and lemon juice, whisking until smooth. Season with pepper. Heat through. Remove the string from the roulade. Rest on a cutting board for 20 minutes and carve into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with gravy.
Wishing everyone a hearty appetite and a great thanksgiving!
– Seasoned Chef