A sumptuous meal in under an hour? It's really possible.
The pull of turkey and all the trimmings around Thanksgiving runs deep. Even if you're time-pressed or cooking for a very small group, it's hard to give up the fantasy of a golden roasted bird, savory stuffing, and sumptuous sides-especially for pale imitations like turkey-cranberry roulade or Cornish game hens.
To satisfy your inner grandmother and appeal to your outer overcommitted self, we've put together a speedy yet classic feast. A split, bone-in turkey breast over a mound of cornbread stuffing gives the impression of a whole bird, but cooks in under an hour. And the rest of the menu-velvety squash soup, tender broccoli rabe, rich chocolate-cinnamon pudding cakes-can be put together while the turkey roasts. Compared with the usual marathon cooking session, our abbreviated meal will take you less time, leave you with less cleanup, and, if you are only two people, still stock your fridge with plenty of leftovers.
- Decorate a Day Ahead
Buy any flowers, iron the linens, and polish the silver if necessary. Then set the table.
- Don't Forget the Drinks
If you're serving white wine and/or Champagne, chill it in advance. And be sure to start making ice ahead of time.
THANKSGIVING DINNER IN UNDER AN HOUR
- Quick Winter Squash Soup with Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Roasted Turkey Breast with Corn Bread-Sage Stuffing and Brandy Gravy (see recipe below)
- Broccoli Rabe with Pine Nuts and Raisins
- Microwave Chocolate-Cinnamon Pudding Cakes
- Up to two days ahead: Shop for everything, making sure the butcher halves the turkey breast for you. Buying the corn bread two days ahead will give it a chance to get stale.
- Earlier on Thanksgiving day:Crumble the corn bread and set it aside. (If it isn't stale, first dry it in the oven.) If you have time before the final countdown, prep as many ingredients as you can: Chop all the garlic you will need (2 cloves total for the stuffing and the broccoli rabe) plus the onion, celery, and sage for the stuffing and the shallots for the soup. Grate the nutmeg for the stuffing. Trim the broccoli rabe. Store the prepped veggies in the refrigerator until needed.
- 60 minutes ahead: Preheat the oven for the turkey and make the stuffing. Prep the turkey, place it in the pan with the stuffing, and put it in the oven to roast.
- 45 minutes ahead: Defrost the squash in the microwave, assemble the soup, and start it simmering.
- 40 minutes ahead: Toast the pumpkin seeds and set them aside.
- 35 minutes ahead: Sauté the broccoli rabe, cover it, and start it simmering (stir it occasionally).
- 30 minutes ahead: Zest and juice the lime for the soup while the broccoli rabe simmers.
- 20 minutes ahead: When the broccoli rabe is tender, remove it from the heat and cover it to keep warm. Assemble the pudding cakes, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them.
- 10 minutes ahead: When the soup has thickened, remove it from the heat. Add the lime, salt, and pepper, and cover it to keep warm.Make the gravy; cover it to keep warm.
- Dinner time: Remove the turkey from the oven when the juices run clear. Tent it with foil and let it rest on the countertop while you serve the soup. If necessary, gently reheat the soup. Garnish it with the pumpkin seeds and serve. If necessary, gently reheat the broccoli rabe and the gravy. Serve the turkey with the stuffing, gravy, and broccoli rabe.
- 10 minutes before dessert: Microwave the pudding cakes, then let them stand, steaming, for 7 minutes.
Whip the cream. Serve with the pudding cakes.
ROASTED TURKEY BREAST WITH CORNBREAD-SAGE STUFFING AND BRANDY GRAVY
Epicurious | November 2005
by Melissa Clark
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 to 55 minutes
The Thanksgiving turkey conundrum: How to keep the breast meat from drying out while the dark meat finishes cooking? By roasting a bone-in turkey breast by itself, we've eliminated the stress and cut the cooking time by several hours. What you get is perfectly moist, tender white meat with crisp, salty skin-all in under an hour. If you don't have time to make the gravy, skip it. This succulent bird doesn't need it.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 4 cups stale corn bread, crumbled into large pieces
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- One 3 1/2- to 4-pound bone-in turkey breast, halved at the breast bone (see Tips, below)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- One 1 1/2-ounce container veal or chicken demi-glace
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425°F and grease 9-by 13-inch roasting pan.
In large skillet over moderately high heat, melt butter. Add onion, celery, garlic, nutmeg, pepper, and bay leaf, and sauté until vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in sage and cook 30 seconds more. Stir in stock and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Put corn bread in large bowl and pour vegetables over. Toss to mix well. Add eggs and stir to combine.
Rinse breast halves and pat dry. Season generously with kosher or coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and rub all over with olive oil.
Mound stuffing in center of roasting pan and arrange turkey on top, making sure breast halves aren't touching. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of turkey (do not touch bone) registers 170°F and juices run clear when pierced with fork, 45 to 55 minutes.
Make gravy while turkey is roasting:
In small saucepan over moderately high heat, combine demi-glace, 1/2 cup water, and brandy. Bring to boil, stirring until smooth. Stir in butter, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until gravy thickens, about 1 minute. Stir in cream and season with freshly ground pepper. Serve hot, over turkey and stuffing.
It's easiest and fastest to ask your butcher to split the turkey breast in half for you. But this can also be done at home: Use a heavy, sharp knife and don't be afraid to whack the breast at the wishbone several times until it comes apart. Slicing the skin down along the breastbone before you start cutting is also helpful.
If your corn bread isn't stale, spread out slices on a baking pan in a 200°F oven until they feel dry and crumbly. (Depending upon how moist the loaf is, this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.) Then crumble up the slices. Any leftover stale bread-rolls, focaccia, even bagels-can be substituted for the corn bread.
In the gravy, bourbon, whisky, wine, port, or vermouth can be used instead of brandy.
Text and recipes by Melissa Clark, photo by Lara Ferroni
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM