Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!: Simple Table Decor and a Last Minute Recipe for a Turkey Glaze and Sauce

We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early this year because my oldest decided at the last minute to spend the actual holiday out of town with his girlfriend and her family. That left Wednesday as the only night we'd be all together. It was so nice having our big meal on Wednesday evening that we're thinking about making it our new holiday tradition; we've spent today relaxing and playing games. It feels to me much more like an extra long weekend, since we don't lose Thursday to all-day food prep, eating too much, and cleaning up. I simplified the menu a bit because Wednesday's busier and I hadn't even baked pies or anything. But I also benefitted from having two of the kids already home from college and work to help out yesterday, so it wasn't too bad getting everything together.

My daughter decorated the table, using Japanese maple leaves she'd pressed and an odd assortment of ornaments and candles from family childhoods, like the Thanksgiving candles my husband has used as long as he can remember and the funny little clay pots all three kids made for their kindergarten Thanksgiving feasts.
We had a turkey breast rather than a whole turkey again this year; I finally realized that since no one in our family especially likes dark meat, it was silly to wrestle with gizzards and trying to get the dark meat cooked adequately without drying out the white meat when we could just buy and cook (much more quickly) the part we all like best. Doh!

 For a couple of years, I bought breasts from Costco that came packaged with a really delicious glaze. Costco stopped carrying that brand and I was feeling sad about the glaze again last night when it suddenly occurred to me to just look up a recipe for a similar one. Doh! again.  I found a recipe that seemed promising here, but I was missing some of the ingredients. The recipe that follows is my improvised version. I also added extra liquid to the leftovers to make a sauce that could substitute for gravy (I have one kid who eats gluten-free, which makes things like gravy challenging.) Anyway, it was so good, I actually wrote it down at the urging of the whole family so I'll be able to recreate it again.

This picture shows leftovers, because I forgot to take a picture last night. And there's no sauce poured over anything because it was so popular we finished it all last night (and I noticed someone even seemed to have licked the last of it out of the pitcher).

Orange-Chutney Glaze for Roasted Turkey Breast

• 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 6 ounces orange juice concentrate (about 3/4 cup – I used about 1/3 cup because that was all I had)

• 2 tablespoons Major Grey Chutney
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

• 1 tablespoon soy sauce

• 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger

• Pan juices and/or chicken broth and/or sherry or wine

Combine all ingredients except the pan juices/broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened. Baste turkey with glaze several times over the last 20 minutes of cooking. (I draped foil over it loosely.)

Just before serving, stir in enough defatted pan juices/broth/wine to make a sauce of your preferred thickness to use in place of gravy.  (I kept it fairly thick still.)

This would also be tasty on pork I think. I'm going to try it the next time I make a pork roast. For that matter, I think it would be good as a glaze for roasted veggies, like green beans. Hmm - time for some taste-testing experiments.

Oh, one more thing: you can make a really excellent gluten-free pie crust for pumpkin pie by combining 1 cup finely chopped pecans (freeze them first to make it easier to grind them), 2 T of sugar, and 2 T butter. It tends to caramelize faster than regular crust, so bake for the minimum time and keep an eye on the pies.

And last but not least, thanks to all of you who read my blog and make such nice comments. I'm grateful for everyone who has stuck with me through a long blog-hiatus. And I also thank everyone whose blogs I follow; I feel so lucky to be part of a creative, and generous community that stretches around the world.

Happy Feasting!

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