Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating it.
Though in India we have our own harvest festival called “Sankranti” where we thank God for the blessings of a good harvest, but two American holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween are catching up fast with the globe-trotting urban Indians. MNC’s too now a days host Thanksgiving lunch / dinner for their employees, thus bridging the gaps between two different cultures or may be a reason to lighten up the workloads. Moreover 5-star restaurants find this a unique opportunity to drive up footfalls post Diwali season. Between Diwali and Christmas, the month of October and November looks very dried up , and to maintain the fervor of festivals, the momentum seems to continue with the Halloween and Thanksgiving. Stress levels are rising up among urbanites and people need to relax, thus craving for a festive occasion that too centered around food seems to gather pace in recent years. Plus having experienced the festival in US, they wanted to experience and enjoy the same fervor at home. But roasting a turkey or a duck or chicken needs culinary expertise and to fill up this the cities five-star restaurants begins this tradition of hosting three course Thanksgiving dinner.
In India there are hardly any markets that sells turkey on a regular basis except the one in Kolkata. For the dwindling population of Anglo-Indians in Kolkata, no Christmas dinner is complete without steaming roasted turkey. So if you are drooling over the thought of roasted turkey then look no further and head straight to New Market. One or two shops are there who keeps this tradition alive since pre-independence times by farming the desi turkey breed. In Bangalore, you can try the Russell market or Auchan (Spar) hypermarket and Nature Basket.
Turkey meat is leanest of all and healthier than chicken in respect to fats, calories and other nutrients. For this reason it has become the preferred meat for many. My personal preference would always be the turkey breast and fillet. This is the healthiest part of the bird and is just not only easy to cook and serve but consumes less time and hassle free preparation.
The most popular way to cook the turkey breast is to roast it in oven. Roasting should be properly done to ensure that the breast will be moist and tender with excellent flavor. Generally a seasoned bread crumbs form an appealing crust for turkey but you can simply stick to herbed spice rub. Flavours from fresh herbs are just unmatched. Sage and thyme are two indisputable herbs when it comes to season the poultry and rosemary too goes excellent with it. Stuffing the turkey breast with garlic, onions and lemons keep the meat tender and juicy, and roasting enhance the flavour of garlic and infused the meat with such heady garlicy flavour that it has become my favourite way to roast the meat. Roasted garlics are secret of making flavoursome turkey or chicken roast. Here is a beautiful article written by Emma of Cooknovel.com on how to roast the garlic perfectly.
Sage is perhaps the most understated herb of all three and here I have opted for an excellent garlic sage brown butter sauce that I have used for basting the turkey breast. The gravy is must if you are serving turkey breast fillet without any stuffing inside. On previous occasions I have opted for apple cider gravy and this time I have prepared a beautiful and very garlic y gravy. While roasting the turkey, keep in mind the temperature controls of your oven, and in between keep brushing the turkey breast with sage butter sauce.
- Turkey breast: under 2 pound
- Butter : 4 tbsp
- Olive oil: 2 tbsp
- Garlic: 1 clove (chopped)
- Sage (fresh): half cup (chopped)
- Pepper to taste
- Pan juices / chicken broth low sodium : 2 cups
- Garlic: around 20 cloves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- All purpose flour: 2 tbsp
- Butter: 3 tbsp
- Melt the butter in pan over low heat and add the oil, heat it and then add the chopped garlic in it.Fry it for a minute.
- Add the chopped fresh sage in the garlic butter and keep stirring it and cook for two three minutes till the garlic gets a brown hue.
- Season it with ground black pepper.
- Wash the turkey breast and pat dry it.
- Heat the oven to 450 F.
- With basting brush apply generously the sage butter sauce over the turkey breast.
- In a wide roasting pan, place the turkey breast on a rack in roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey for 20 minute, reduce the temperature to 350F and roast it further for around one hour or the meat thermometer reads 155F or till done.
- After every 20 minute, open the oven and keep brushing the turkey breast with sage butter.
- Remove from the oven, cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving it into slices.
- Grease a pan lightly and roast the cloves of garlic till nicely browned.
- In a separate pan, melt the butter, add the flour and mix it well. Cook the butter-flour mix over low heat, stirring often until the mixture attains a faint brownish hue.
- Whisking constantly gradually pour the pan juices or the chicken broth.
- Add the roasted garlic in it, cover and keep simmering it for another 10 minutes.
- To finish the gravy, pour it in a mixer and blend it until smooth.
- Serve the sage butter roasted turkey with garlic gravy.
The meat was succulent, the flavor of sage was well expressed and the roasted garlic gravy complements it well. We had enjoyed it with corn bread, baked sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.