Monday, December 7, 2015

Turkey Without All The Trimmings

I wasn't going to post this. After all, it barely qualifies as a recipe. It's not particularly pretty, even if it does taste good, and it only has two ingredients. But in the end, I decided someone might appreciate it.

Some of my friends have already had their big family Christmas get togethers. There are a lot of new traditions because families are so large and people live so far away. You might be one of those who wants turkey for two without a fuss at Christmas. Or maybe you're going to a relative's house for dinner. You won't have a fridge stuffed with leftovers for the turkey sandwiches you love so much. Or you're going to a friend's house for dinner, and she's serving ham. Waah! You wanted turkey! Or maybe you just can't deal with all the work. After all, a big Christmas dinner involves a lot of cooking. So here's my quick and easy solution.

In all honesty, I cook this at least once a month. It's fast, it's easy, and my dogs and cats can eat it, too, as long as it's relatively plain. The oven does all the work!

Now, if you must have some of the traditional side dishes, then pick the ones that are important to you. Cranberries or stuffing, perhaps? It's still an easy meal.

I usually (gasp) roast the turkey and the sweet potatoes without any seasoning. Seriously, turkey and sweet potatoes don't need a lot of help. If you're inclined, you can always rub your turkey with salt, pepper, and herbs or baste it with butter. If you're big on the skin, then by all means season it. If you discard the skin anyway, then leave it plain. Oh, and no skin for the dogs or cats, please, it's too fatty for them.

I recommend using small sweet potatoes. Have you seen the ones the size of a small watermelon? Don't use those because this won't cook long enough. When you take the sweet potatoes out of the oven, the peels will almost glide off. You can mash them if that's what you want, or top them with marshmallows and stick them back in the warm oven, or serve them sliced. They're so good for us! And they're so naturally sweet. They really don't need a lot of help for terrific flavor.

If your turkey breast doesn't want to sit up properly, you might want to use a V-shaped rack. You can also use the sweet potatoes to prop it up a little but don't crowd it so that the meat doesn't cook.

Roast Turkey Without the Trimmings

1 turkey breast
2 to 6 smallish sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse the turkey breast, pat it dry, and set it in a large baking pan. Wash the sweet potatoes, remove any price or brand stickers, and pop the potatoes into the pan. Plan on the turkey breast roasting for about 1 1/2 hours. I usually set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes and then check it periodically after that.

Be sure to let the turkey stand for 30 minutes before cutting it! Otherwise, it will be dry.

Speaking of cutting - I heard recently that the best way to cut the turkey is against the grain. So slide a knife along the top of the breastbone, pull off the meat in a big chunk, and slice against the grain. It's not pretty, but it's very tender!

Pop the turkey breast and sweet potatoes into a baking pan.

The peel glides off!

See how easy they would be to mash?

Or just slice them!

Slice the meat across the grain.

The juices from the pan. The fat rises to the top in the fridge and you can use the rest when you warm leftovers!

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