We're having pumpkin pie for dinner, I announce one day. The next day, I tell my husband there's pecan pie for breakfast. I've lately been testing bunches of Thanksgiving recipes in preparation for several holiday-themed stories. Thanksgiving has been in my head and on the table.
But we're just two people, unable to eat a whole turkey, though we could maybe use up half -- with too many leftovers. And I'm not so interested in leftover white-meat turkey. Plus my husband's a leg man. His grandmother, Bubba, called the drumstick laba in a Ukrainian dialect and would give him a whole one to munch on. Like people carry around at the Iowa State Fair. Only they might put it on a stick.
I'm a thigh person. Turkey thighs have everything going for them. Skin that gets crisp and crackling, interior fat that self-bastes them so they're never dry, and flavor -- they've got lots of deep flavor. In a (reasonably) small package. Two of my Pan-Roasted Turkey Thighs are enough for a generous meal for two. With only enough left over for one more day, not an eternity.
Pan-Roasted Turkey Thighs
- 2 large turkey thighs, 2 to 2 1/4 pounds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices
- 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim excess fat from turkey thighs. In a cup, mix thyme, salt and pepper. Rub all over turkey.
Heat 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add turkey thighs, skin side down. Cook until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook about 3 minutes more. Add vegetables around and push some under thighs, stirring a little to mix with the pan juices.
Place in oven and roast 30 minutes. Stir the vegetables and check to see there is a little liquid in the pan, a few tablespoons. If not, add some broth or water. Roast 30 to 40 more minutes, checking the liquid 2 or 3 more times. You don't want the pan juices to burn but you don't want the turkey to steam either. Add a few tablespoons broth or water if pan is looking dry. Turkey is done when it's fork-tender on the underside, near the bone.
Cut the turkey thighs into chunks, and serve with the roasted vegetables and pan juices. Makes 2 to 3 servings with leftovers.
-- Miriam Rubin
Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce
I love cranberry sauce. I like it tart with pieces of apple (or sometimes pear) and chunks of orange. That's this year's version. It's a keeper.
- 12-ounce bag cranberries, picked over and rinsed
- 1 large medium-tart apple, not peeled, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 medium navel orange, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Stir together all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until most of the cranberries have popped, the fruit is tender and the sauce has thickened. Cover and let cool.
Makes about 4 servings.
-- Miriam Rubin
Miriam Rubin: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @mmmrubin.