Sunday, November 19, 2006

Orange-Sage Sauce for Roast Turkey


I’ve finally made it to the turkey. Having prepared all these dishes and written about them throughout the week, I have to keep reminding myself that the real Thanksgiving holiday is still to come. With all the Christmas food displays and decorations that have gone up in the past week, I feel like Thanksgiving is already behind us. Happily, my mind is just playing tricks on me. I will be able to eat all this fantastic food again on Thursday with my big extended family.

When I cooked the whole T-Day spread for Mike and me, a 10 lb. turkey wasn’t practical, even for someone who loves leftovers as much as I do. A mere fraction of a bird does the job, so I like to roast a large turkey breast, bone-in, when it’s just the two of us. The one we bought was big-about four pounds, and it provided enough gorgeous, juicy meat for a feast and several sandwiches afterwards. I coat the bird (or partial bird) with olive oil, salt and pepper, over and under the skin; squeeze the juice of half an orange all over it and nestle the spent orange in the cavity; and stuff a bunch of sage between the skin and breast meat. I follow the cooking guidelines in my Betty Crocker cookbook (about 1 ¾ hours at 325 degrees), covering the bird with foil once it browns on top, and otherwise I don’t touch it.

The breast meat, often derided for being dry and stringy, is incredibly moist and succulent. We honestly didn’t need any sort of gravy, but I love my orange-sage sauce. It’s perfect if you don’t care to recycle your turkey drippings, or you’re just not crazy about basic, brown gravy. Now that it’s almost time for Mike and I to head off to Connecticut, I can’t wait for the cooking and feasting to begin again. I have had one of the busiest, happiest years of my life in 2006, so I have more than a lot to be thankful for.

Orange-Sage Sauce for Roast Turkey
Makes 1 cup. Double recipe to serve more.

½ tblsp. olive oil
½ tblsp. unsalted butter
2 tblsp. minced shallot
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. no pulp orange juice
¾ c. low sodium chicken broth
1 bunch of sage (or small handful leaves) plus 2 tblsp. chopped sage leaves
1 tblsp. corn starch mixed with 2 tblsp. water
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the oil and butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the orange juice, chicken broth and bunch of sage. You don’t have to take the sage leaves off the branch; just leave the whole piece to infuse the sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the sauce is at a steady simmer. Cook until the sauce is reduced to about one cup. Remove the sage.

Add slightly less than half of the cornstarch mixture and stir to thicken. If you want the sauce to thicken further, keep adding more of the cornstarch mixture. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over roast turkey and garnish with chopped sage leaves.

8 comments:

peabody said...

This sounds wonderful.

peabody said...

wThis sounds wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these recipes...I've been trying to track down thanksgiving recipes that were simple but not simple in taste. I am doing the cooking for the first time, for people who don't celebrate the holiday (over here in CH) and so i need something easy and good, like this!

Anonymous said...

The combination of orange and sage sound so mouthwatering. I wish we were making a turkey! (We're having a vegetarian Thanksgiving.)


Ari (Baking and Books)

Rachel said...

This really sounds amazing!

home cook said...

Wow, I totally love this blog. It’s so clean, professional looking, and I love the recipes to be found here! You totally have a new reader!

Julie said...

Thanks, everyone! Jessica, it is great that you're cooking for the first time. I'm sure the meal was great. Home Cook, thanks so much!

Skywolf said...

Wow... I'm just roasting a duck that I rubbed all over with sage before cooking, and wanted to find an orange sauce recipe to go with it. On a whim, I Googled 'orange and sage sauce' to see if there were any recipes that would incorporate the sage flavour, and your blog was the first page that came up! This recipe looks great. Perfect for what I'm looking for - and I have all the ingredients! I hope it goes as well with duck as it does with turkey.

Thank you very much! :)