Thanksgiving dinner is quintessentially American, a culinary celebration of our nation that surpases any other holiday in popularity. No matter what your religion, ethnic background or social circumstance, if you are an American, you will most likely join in this holiday festivity. It is a holiday born out of a sense of love to neighbor and signifies that first embrace between different cultures in our territory. It was around the first Thanksgiving table that our nation became what most distinguishes it from others around the world: a true melting pot of fused flavors, ingredients and cooking techniques from around the world.
Although there are many other holidays--both civic and religious--that are celebrated throughout the year, no other is as universally American as Thanksgiving. To date, American families gather around their tables to give thanks for blessings received; most repasts will include a plump turkey, cranberries in some form or another and delectable side dishes.
Family members will travel great distances to congregate with their loved ones, making this the time of the year when more Americans travel than any other. In those instances in which the logistics of travel become impossible to resolve, those who find themselves far away from family or even distant from the shores of our great country, will most likely still commemorate the holiday with a celebration of their own. This Thanksgiving Day will find countless Americans abroad--including those who have bravely chosen to serve our country--partaking with others around their own communal table, loving their neighbors and making new friends.
With so much in the way of inspiring diversity to choose from among the flavors that make up our American cuisine, I have developed a recipe for turkey with a southwestern twist. Ask your butcher to butterfly the turkey breast for you. If you have larger gatherings make two or three turkey rolls. It takes less than two hours to prepare but tastes as if it took days to make.
So this year, gather around your family table, give thanks for blessings received and treat your loved ones to a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.
Santa Fe Rolled Turkey Breast
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo or bulk sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
1 cup minced cilantro (leaves and stems)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 (3-4lb.) butterflied turkey breast with skin
Salt and pepper
4 1/2 cups chicken broth (more, for basting)
1 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons masa harina
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the chorizo and cook it, while breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it has rendered (3-4 minutes). Add the shallots and saute for another 3-4 minutes or until the shallots have just begun to caramelize. Remove mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly (8-10 minutes). Place the chorizo mixture in a medium bowl, add the smoked paprika, cilantro, breadcrumbs and egg, stirring well; set aside. Place the turkey breast between two large sheets of plastic wrap; using a mallet, and working from the inside of the turkey breast, out, flaten the breast until it is about one and a half inches thick. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and season turkey breast with salt and pepper. Spread out the breadcrumb mixture over the breast, making sure to leave a small rim around it. Working from the long side of the breast, bring the two side edges over the filling, then roll it up until you have a roll. Using kitchen twine, tie the roll, in order to hold the filling. Place turkey roll on a buttered roasting pan, skin side up and seam side down. In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup of rum and the chicken broth, and pour it around the base of the turkey roll. Roast the turkey for 45 minutes, uncovered, basting every 20 minutes with the juices--if juices are reducing too quickly add more broth to the pan. Cover breast and roast for an additional 35-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. Remove turkey from the oven, transfer it to a serving platter and tent it with foil while you make the gravy. Strain the juices into a bowl (you should have about 2 1/2 cups, if you have less, adjust with more broth). Place the roasting pan over the stovetop over medium-high heat, and while stirring, add the ramianing rum, deglazing the pan, making sure to scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pan; add the strained juices and stir well. In a spearate bowl, make a paste with the butter and masa harina, and slowly add bits of this paste to the gravy, while whisking vigorously. Bring gravy to a simmer, taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Strain gravy into a gravy boat; keep warm. Remove ties from the turkey breast and slice it thinly accross; serve with the gravy. Yield: 6-8 servings.
Copyright © Sandra A. Gutierrez, 2007. All Rights Reserved