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Turkey on Thanksgiving can be a new and surprising experience

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Tis’ the season for a turkey!

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You can make a beautiful tradition different and delightful for you and your holiday guests.

We all understand how much it means to the family to find comfort in familiarity with what they expect to eat on this special holiday – a whole, glistening turkey on the platter surrounded by a plethora of seasonal side dishes. If you are hosting (again) and finding yourself tired enough to cry by Thanksgiving evening, or just bored with preparing the same thing in the same way, it is time to consider a change for the season.

Is this like you? Carving a big bird goes well enough for a while. Then you begin pulling it apart while bits of meat and fat are flung around. After dinner the whole thing goes into the refrigerator, already bursting with leftover sides. For a few days it comes out and goes back in covered with an increasingly ineffective, crinkled sheet of foil. Messy!

Try this: Ask your butcher to cut apart a fresh turkey so that the breast, wings, legs, and thighs are in separate pieces. Request that the breast be deboned. Then roast traditionally. This works out wonderfully, because you can remove the white meat ahead of time while it is still moist and succulent. The dark meat can stay in a little longer, nestled in the juices until it is done to your satisfaction. Reassemble your turkey by putting all the parts where one would expect to find them. Expect reactions!

Experience carving and serving with little resistance from sinewy joints. Even leftovers are more manageable all the way to turkey soup when you will not have to squeeze a ribcage into a pot, or turn it over in boiling broth.

You can take yet another step away from same old; have your butcher split the breasts still on the bone, separate the wings, and legs with the thighs intact. Then roast three different ways, at once – traditional, l’orange and barbecue! This is fun to do and easily accomplished. (See recipes below.) The variety of flavors make a traditional dinner a totally unexpected pleasure. Expect kudos for the delectable surprise.

May all good things come your way!

Tri-Turkey Recipes

Traditional – Breast, Leg, Thigh and Wing

Barbecue – Leg, Thigh and Wing

L’Orange – Breast

Ask the butcher to cut a12-15 Pound Turkey into parts (split breasts, separate legs with thighs, wings).

Preparing 2 Roasting Pans

Preheat oven to 350˚. Arrange oven racks far enough apart to accommodate 2 pans.

Traditional Roast: Line a roasting pan with 2 layers of heavy duty foil. Lightly coat turkey parts on all sides with Olive Oil, then sprinkle with Kosher Salt, fresh ground Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder and dried Thyme (Options: Use more Herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Parsley). Place Turkey skin side up with several pats of Butter on top.

Barbecue and L’Orange: In the second roasting pan, line half of it with 2 layers of heavy duty foil as shown in the photo. Lightly coat breast half on all sides with Olive Oil, then sprinkle with Kosher Salt, fresh ground Black Pepper, and Garlic Powder. Put several pats of butter on the breast with Orange slices on top. Place skin side up in its section of the roasting pan. Barbeque: For the second section of pan 2, make the second layer of foil longer, so it can be folded over and tightly sealed. Brush a wing, leg and thigh with the marinate ( marinate recipe below) and place skin side down. Seal it tightly.

Barbeque Marinate Ingredients

¾ C Catsup

½ C Olive Oil

4 T Sesame Oil

½ C Red Wine

¼ C Apple Cider Vinegar

1 T Worcestershire Sauce

1 T Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce

1 Tsp Mustard

Juice of ½ a Lemon

4 T Brown Sugar

1 T Garlic Powder

1 T Onion Powder

1 T Dried Parsley

1 T of an Herb such as Oregano, Fennel Seed, Rosemary, Thyme

Black Pepper to taste

Optional: Cayenne Pepper to taste

Mix ingredients right in the foil-lined pan (gently, so that you do not rip the foil) and taste it.

How does it taste to you?

You can make it more savory by adding a bit more Garlic Powder, Tamari/Soy, or Onion Powder, or your Herb choice in very small amounts one at a time, and tasting each time you add.

You can make it sweeter by adding a bit more Sugar, Catsup or even Worcestershire Sauce.

You can make it tangier by increasing the amount of Pepper, Wine, Vinegar, Mustard or Lemon.

Just keep tasting and adding a little at a time until it appeals to you – you cannot ruin this marinate. Let it stand at room temperature for about an hour and gently stir again before brushing on a leg, thigh and wing.

L’Orange Sauce Ingredients

¼ C Butter, plus several pats of Butter

1 C Orange Marmalade

½ C Orange Juice

¼ C Orange Liquor

½ C Dry White Wine

Optional: thin slices of fresh Ginger

Melt ¼ C Butter in a small sauce pan over low heat (do not allow it to brown). Mix in all ingredients and keep warm until you are ready to add juices from the roasting breast and begin basting (see Basting L’Orange below).

Optional Garnish: Zest of 1 Orange cut into thin slivers; peel and section the Orange or peel and section 2 Clementines; sprigs of Mint


(Times may vary according to your oven.)

Preheat oven to 325º. Roast both pans at the same time (Traditional on top rack). Do not open the oven door before 1 hour, when you will begin to baste the breast, leg, thigh and wing in the Traditional pan, and the L’Orange breast.

Basting Traditional: Baste with pan juices after 1 hour. Continue every ½ hour until juices run clear, or until a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 170˚F. Breast can be removed to rest, loosely covered with foil on the stove top. Continue basting dark meat until it is done.

Basting L’Orange: Baste with pan juices after 1 hour. Then siphon juice from the L’Orange portion of the roasting pan and add to the sauce you have warming. Increase heat to bubbling, then lower again to a simmer, stirring often so it does not burn. Reduce the sauce for about 10 minutes. Baste the L’Orange breast, then every ½ hour until juices run clear, or until a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 170˚F. Remove to rest loosely covered with foil on the stove top. Siphon the L’Orange sauce and keep warm.

The Barbeque Roast will take care of itself (Thanking all in charge of receiving thanks here!). Check it when the L’Orange is done. Lift foil carefully – steam will be very hot! Make sure juices run clear. Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.