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Roasted Mango and Habanero Turkey

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Nothing freaks me out as much as cooking whole turkeys.  Part of it, I think, stems from my years as a vegetarian.  Cooking all meats makes me squeamish, but there’s also just something about turkey.  Roasting whole chickens, which is essentially the same thing just a little smaller, makes me uncomfortable, but it’s doable.  But the turkey.  The big, honking, scary turkey gives me agida.  Ogeda? The willies.

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You know what didn’t help?  This year, MY TURKEY DIDN’T HAVE LEGS.  I spent more money than I’m willing to admit on an organic free range antibiotic free Whole Foods approved turkey because Dan and I are on this kick where we’re buying ethically raised meats.  And on top of being antibiotic free, it was also leg free. And you know what helps you understand which way is up when cooking a turkey?  THE LEGS AND WINGS.  I couldn’t figure out which way was up!  It’s whole center of gravity was off, it wouldn’t sit straight in the roasting pan and it kept falling over and I’m 99% sure I cooked it upside down.

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Thankfully, even though I cooked it upside down and I had no legs to truss together and I was home sick with a nasty stomach bug, it tasted amazing.  Totally delicious.  Now, you may think that the whole habanero thing is intense and scary and way too spicy for your “not the pepper again” family, but it’s not.  First of all, roasting a habanero takes a lot of the punch out of it, and so the marinade gives the skin a little extra (very subtle) flavor, and keeps the meat perfectly moist.  It’s incredible.

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Roasted Mango & Habanero Turkey

1 habanero

1 mango

1 cup orange juice

1 whole turkey (preferably with legs)

Salt & pepper

Aluminum foil for turkey triangle

*If you’d like your turkey to have an extra punch, you can inject the marinade into the meat of the turkey.  If you’d like to do so, double all the ingredients (save the turkey) and make twice as much marinade.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Roast whole mango for 90 minutes and whole habanero for 20. Let cool.

Peel mango and use a knife to scrape pulp off into the food processor. Combine with orange juice and pepper. Blend.

Remove your turkey from it’s packaging and remove any innards. Slather with marinade. Cover in plastic wrap and marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook your turkey place in a roasting pan legs up. Tie the legs together.

Fit your turkey triangle. A turkey triangle keeps the white meat juicy while cooking the dark meat. Make a triangle out of the foil and fit it around the body of the turkey.

Heat your oven to 500. Cook turkey at 500 for 30 minutes (without triangle). Then drop the temperature down to 350, put on the triangle, and cook until the temperature of the breast is 165.

Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.

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Potatoes Au Gratin

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I am a devotee of the potato.  Mashed, twice baked, casseroled, churned into pies, fried, you name it I love it.  One of the things I receive a lot of comments on is my family’s tendency to put mayonnaise in their mashed potatoes.  Which I get, kind of, because mayo gets a bum rap, but how is it any different than putting sour cream or even whole milk in your potatoes?  We’re all trying to achieve the same thing people, creamy carby goodness.  Or in this case, one notch above- cheesy creamy carby goodness.

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The phrase “au gratin” refers to a technique where a browned crust is created with breadcrumbs or, in this case, cheese.  Potatoes au gratin are (in this recipe, at least) scalloped potatoes layered with different types of cheeses, topped with cream, and baked in a shallow dish for an extended period of time.  The end result is a crunchy top and layers of soft, gooey, incredible potatoes.  This is the kind of dish that you’ll want to make in your big casserole dish.  Because this is exactly the type of dish that my sisters and I would eat in bed while watching an entire season of Celebrity Mole the day after Thanksgiving.

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Don’t forget, springing this recipe onto your springpad, either from b&s or my springpad page, will automatically enter you to win $100!  And if you’re feeling generous, spring all my thanksgiving 2009 recipes to help me win $500!

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NEW FEATURE:  Finally, a solution to the desire to print, email, & share our recipes has arrived.  If you scroll down, just below the instructions and before the comments, you’ll see a row of icons.  Run your mouse over them and they’ll jump up to full size, revealing their function.  Enjoy!

Potatoes au Gratin

for a small casserole dish. for a larger one, double the ingredients.

5 yukon gold potatoes

1 cup heavy cream

2 garlic cloves

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Peel & slice potatoes, putting them in cold water after their sliced to prevent discoloration.

Shred your cheese. In a small casserole dish, layer potatoes and cheese until you are out of both, ending with a generous layer of cheese.

In a sauce pan, scald cream with the whole garlic cloves. Right before the casserole goes into the oven, pour the cream into the dish. Pour it along the edges so as not to disturb the layers.

Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

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When I was trying to come up with a good appetizer for this year’s Thanksgiving spread, I thought about what dish I wanted to spice up, what ingredients I wanted to use and what I wanted to pass over.  Last year, I decided to skip over the calorie-heavy favorite, the green bean casserole, in favor of other dishes.  Instead, I made apple cider green beans, which I loved but were not a complete head over heels crowd pleaser.

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I thought about other holiday favorites, and realized everything I thought of had one thing in common- it was wrapped in bacon (or prosciutto).  Perfect!  Green beans roast well because they’re a very firm vegetable, and their flavor is strong enough to stand up against bacon.  I decided to pair it with a glaze, something that would play well with the essence of bacon but also tie the dish in with the rest of the meal.  Thanksgiving is, after all, about blending dishes.

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I prepared this side dish as part of a larger meal for Springpad’s 2009 Thanksgiving competition.  Because of this, I wanted this dish to have notes of flavor in common with the other dishes in my spread.  The marinade on my roasted mango and habanero turkey was roasted mango, roasted habanero, and orange juice.  So I made a glaze for the green beans out of brown sugar and orange juice.  The orange juice tied the flavors in with the turkey (and the cranberry sauce).  I used sugar to thicken the glaze, brown sugar in particular because it’s richness compliments the bacon.  The end result was scrumptious, leading Dan to suggest (not for the first time) that everything in life is better wrapped in bacon.

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Don’t forget, springing this recipe onto your springpad, either from b&s or my springpad page, will automatically enter you to win $100!  And if you’re feeling generous, spring all my thanksgiving 2009 recipes to help me win $500!

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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

2 cups fresh green beans

1/2 lb bacon

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Toothpicks

Snap the ends off of your green beans.

Preheat your oven to 400. Cut each slice of bacon in half. Bunch together 5 or 6 green beans, and wrap a piece of bacon around them. Secure with a tooth pick. Repeat until all the beans are wrapped.

Roast for 20 minutes.

While the beans are in the oven, combine oj & brown sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.

When the beans are done, plate them and drizzle with sauce.

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