Anticipating Thanksgiving

It’s a remarkable thing to cook an animal the size of a housepet in it’s entirety. But man, talk about a commitment. Limited to a mere once a year investment, my satisfaction and patience are seriously tested by this situation.

Behold, a solution for those with a level of patience comparable to mine:

A bacon-wrapped, intensely flavorful mini-Thanksgiving feast

Bacon Wrapped Roasted Turkey Breast with Veggies
  • turkey breast, approx. 2-1/2 lbs.
  • 1 package bacon
  • 4 to 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Cheese cloth and butchers twine
  • Assortment of root vegetables (I used small yukon gold potatoes, purple onion, and carrots- enough to lay in a single layer around the meat in the pan)
  • Olive oil

Butterfly turkey breast. Combine sage, thyme, garlic, shallots, red pepper, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Rub mixture evenly over turkey breasts. Lay out cheese cloth, a bit larger than the size of the breast, and place bacon, slightly overlapping edges, in a column down the center of the  cloth. Roll turkey breast into a tight roll and place in the center of the bacon. Braid bacon back and forth over the top of rolled turkey breast. Wrap turkey breast with cheese cloth and tie with  twine at ends and in middle. Toss veggies, chopped where appropriate, in olive oil, salt and pepper, and put in the pan. Roast at 375 degrees till the meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees (approx. 90 min). Remove from oven and let rest for 15 min. Unwrap and slice to serve.

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

Although I am an unabashed fan of pork, this recipe is just about the biggest bang you can get for your buck: an inexpensive cut, little preparation, utterly delicious. Homesick for Savannah, Georgia, I served this beast with collard greens and corn muffins. Leftovers make terrific pulled pork sandwiches and carnitas taco filling.

1 bone-in, skin-on fresh pork picnic shoulder (mine was 8.5 lb)
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Cheyenne pepper (or seasonings of your choice)

1. Rinse pork and pat dry. Score skin in a crisscross diamond pattern, making 1/8-inch-deep cuts about 1 inch apart. Separate and peel garlic cloves. In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic, salt, and pepper into a coarse paste (or mince garlic, then mix with salt and spices). Rub garlic paste all over roast. Set roast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan, preferably on a rack.


2. Roast in a 450° oven until deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 225° and bake until a thermometer inserted through the center of thickest part at bone reads 170° to 175°, 8 to 9 hours