November, 2012 — the Thanksgiving Issue
This year we offer a different take on the traditional Thanksgiving meal. In response to a number of reader requests, we went small and intimate with a holiday feast for two. Cooking time has been minimized and flavors have been kicked way up in some unexpected ways. We brine a turkey breast in buttermilk to make it more tender, juicy and flavorful. Asparagus spears are wrapped in crispy prosciutto with a dollop of luscious Boursin cheese inside, and the bright flavor of grapefruit is melded with nutty wild rice. Finish the meal off with an easy smoke-roasted apple dessert that might very well become a new favorite.
We wish each of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
P.S. Here are a few of our favorite holiday recipes from the past:
Asparagus Wraps with Crispy Prosciutto and Herbed Cheese
This dish makes a fantastic appetizer. It tastes phenomenal and is super easy to prepare. Crispy prosciutto wraps tender asparagus with a cheesy, garlicky surprise inside. The richness of the Boursin is balanced by the hint of lemon.
- 1 pound (1 bunch) asparagus, medium-sized spears
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces Boursin garlic herb cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- About 10 slices prosciutto (1 slice for every 3 asparagus spears)
Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat, about 400°F.
Trim the toughened bases off the asparagus spears and discard, leaving each spear the same length. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a medium bowl and toss in the asparagus to thoroughly coat.
Work together the Boursin cheese and lemon zest to thoroughly combine.
Lay out a slice of prosciutto. Place three asparagus spears across the end of the slice and add a 1 1/2 teaspoon-sized dollop of cheese mixture on the center of the asparagus. Roll the prosciutto tightly around the bundle. Repeat, rolling 3 spears into each slice of prosciutto.
Grill the wraps over direct heat, turning frequently, until the asparagus is marked and the prosciutto is crispy. Serve hot.
Buttermilk-brined Turkey Breast
Buttermilk tenderizes poultry while adding a subtle, yet distinctive, flavor. We ratchet up this flavor with a little hot sauce in the brine, a liberal dusting of our savory Triple S Rub and a bit of wood smoke. Don't worry about the hot sauce. This recipe is not at all spicy.
After just 75 minutes on the grill, the turkey breast turns out tender and juicy with a beautiful and crispy skin. Any leftovers are perfect for roasted turkey sandwiches. You may even want to cook a double batch.
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) hot sauce (Tabasco is a good choice)
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 bone-in, skin-on turkey breast, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
- Triple S Rub (smoky seasoned salt)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups wood chips
Tips for Preparing this Recipe on a Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill
A Kalamazoo K750 Series Hybrid Fire Grill will hold the desired 350° temperature with a single main burner running on medium. Preheat the grill with all main burners on high, then turn off two adjacent main burners and the ignition burner. Turn the remaining main burner to medium to cook the turkey.
Place the smoking envelope inside the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer above the active burner. When it comes time to bump the temperature, toss a handful of wood chips directly into the drawer above the burner. Place the turkey breast with the skin side down on the warming rack above these wood chips to finish cooking.
Prepare the “brine” by whisking together the buttermilk, salt, hot sauce and granulated garlic. Rinse and dry the turkey breast. Place in a large, zip-top bag and pour in the brine. Remove excess air, seal and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
About 45 minutes before cooking, remove the breast from the brine. Pat dry, and season liberally with Triple S Rub on all sides. Let the turkey rest and rise toward room temperature.
Place the breast directly on the grill grate in the indirect zone with the skin side up. Place the smoking envelope above the fire. Close the hood and roast at 350°F for about 1 hour. After the first 30 minutes, brush the top of the breast with olive oil. After the full hour, raise the temperature to 400°F to crisp up the skin (either turn the heat up on the grill, add some dry wood chips to the hottest zone of the grill, or move the breast to a warming rack elevated above the hottest part of the grill) and finish roasting the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 155°F. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes while the internal temperature rises to 165°F.
Slice the breast away from the bones, and then slice crosswise into 1/2 inch thick pieces.
Grapefruit Wild Rice
We took grapefruit off the breakfast table and put it into this delicious wild rice side dish. Yes, you read that right. Grapefruit takes center stage here. The bright citrus flavor and the nutty taste of the wild rice are a perfect complement to grilled meats. So quick and incredibly easy to prepare, the key is selecting a sweet grapefruit. Leftovers can be served cold as a refreshing salad.
- 3 cups cooked wild rice (1 cup uncooked)
- 1 large, sweet red grapefruit
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted (or try walnut oil instead)
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pepper to taste
Supreme the grapefruit, and then slice the segments crosswise into smaller pieces. Quickly transfer them to a small bowl to collect the juices.
Place the hot, cooked rice in a medium mixing bowl. Transfer the grapefruit pieces from the small bowl into the bowl with the rice, leaving the juice behind. Whisk the butter into the juice in the small bowl. Add the butter mixture to rice. Add the parsley and salt and fold together. Season to taste with black pepper.
Serve hot or cold.
Smoke-roasted Ginger Apples
Cored, filled and roasted apples are a Steven Raichlen classic. I have enjoyed creating variations on the theme ever since I had the pleasure of attending Barbecue University years ago. I think this version is ideal for small holiday gatherings with the festive flavor of ginger and rich mascarpone and butter. This quick dessert cooks at the same temperature, with the same grill setup as our Buttermilk-brined Turkey Breast.
- 4 large Fuji apples
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon (loosely packed) finely chopped crystalized ginger
- 1 tablespoon plump raisins
- 1 tablespoon plus 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Use a melon baller to core the apples without punching through the very bottom. Work from the top to remove the stem and seeds while keeping the bottom intact to hold the filling.
Stir together the mascarpone and ginger to beak up the small pieces and help prevent them from sticking together. Stir in the raisins and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Split this filling into the cored apples. Stuff 1/2 tablespoon butter into each apple and then top with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in each.
Place the stabilized apples in the indirect grilling zone and add a smoking envelope above the direct grilling zone. Close the hood and cook for 1 hour until the apples are soft.