Saturday, November 7, 2009

Overlooking November

It is amazing to me that November gets almost completely overlooked these days.  Now that Halloween is passed, many stores are putting skeletons and tutus on deep discount to make room for wreaths and wrapping paper.  Those in the world of academia (including myself) walk around humming Christmas tunes, in an attempt to tune out the impending pre-Christmas exams (for now, at least).  The blogosphere is filled with holiday recipes and crafty home-made present ideas.  What happened to Thanksgiving?  Don't we know that Santa doesn't come around until the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, only after the giant Turkey and pilgrims have already passed? 

Well, despite those Bing Crosby tunes going through my head and the Peppermint Mochas that I've been sipping recently, I don't want to overlook Thanksgiving!  Not only is it a much-needed day for me to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for, but it is a fabulous cooking day!  I am not ready to give up pumpkins, cranberries, and caramel apples; all of those tastes that embody fall.  And of course, who can forget the Thanksgiving turkey? 

My dad has cooked our Thanksgiving bird on the smoker for as long as I can remember.  My mom would finish out the rest of the meal with corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, cranberry wine salad, and the most amazing Cajun cornbread dressing you can imagine.  I'm sure there were other variables in the meal (like, for example, something green?), but these were the staples. 

I've tried my hand at roasting turkeys and turkey breasts in the past few years.  They have been good, but I have found a recipe for roast turkey breast that is a winner.  It doesn't have the wonderful smoked flavor of my dad's, but I think it's pretty fabulous!  We were able to share this meal with some friends last night, with our guest of honor, Ruthanne.  It might not have been Thanksgiving Day, but we were all thankful.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

from Ina Garten at the Food Network

1 Whole (Bone-In) Turkey Breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Rinse the turkey and pat it dry.  Place the turkey, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.  Alternately, cut two yellow onions into eights and scatter in the bottom of the pan, and place the turkey on top.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.  Using your fingers, separate the skin of the turkey from the breast.  Rub half of the seasoning paste in between the skin and meat.  Rub the rest of the paste over the top of the skin.  Pour the wine in the bottom of the pan.  Roast the breast for 1 hr 45 minutes to 2 hours, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the meat (check in several places).  Remove the breast to a serving platter (if desired) and cover with foil.  Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before you carve it. 

If desired, make the pan juices into gravy to serve with the meat (although you will find that it is so tender, juicy and flavorful, you probably won't need it).

Please excuse the poor lighting in these photos; the sun sets around 4:00 these days! 
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Lauren said...

One of my favorite Thanksgivings was cooking with you last year! Love you!

Barefoot Belle said...

Lauren, we're going to miss being with you this year. It's just not going to be the same.