Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Italian Thanksgiving for 8

If you've ever made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you know it's a lot of work. And if you only have one oven, as I do, it really creates a challenge timing everything perfectly. Add relatives and it's enough to bring tears! But guess what? You don't have to roast a whole turkey, when you can make "Turkey Osso Bucco". I know traditional osso bucco uses veal shanks, but it is a wonderful method of preparing turkey, as well. The turkey is braised with vegetables, fresh herbs, wine, and stock, then topped off with an aromatic gremolata. Trust me, this recipe tastes as good as your house will smell! No one will miss the often bland roast turkey! To make it a complete holiday meal, I would start with an antipasto platter, then serve it with a simple green salad, risotto or polenta, or even mashed potatoes, and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the amazing sauce! Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc would compliment it nicely. End it with a slice of pumpkin pie and you'll have a unique and memorable Thanksgiving, with a lot less trouble!

Turkey Osso Bucco

Serves 8


1 half-breast of turkey, cut into 4 pieces (ask your butcher)
2 turkey thighs (or 6 thighs, if you don't want to use the turkey breast, thighs will ensure it is moist and flavorful)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
Canola oil, enough to coat the bottom of your pan
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 generous tablespoon tomato paste (I buy Amore Tomato Paste in a tube - great invention!)
1 cup dry white wine (I use Madiera - I love it with turkey and think it adds better flavor than white wine)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or less depending on the size of your pan, see below)
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pat the turkey pieces dry with paper towels to ensure even browning. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess.

In a heavy roasting pan or any oven-safe pan large enough to fit the turkey pieces in a single layer, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, over medium/medium-high heat. Add the turkey and brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

To the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Season the vegetables with salt and cook until they are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return the turkey to the pan. Add enough chicken broth to come two thirds up the sides of the turkey pieces. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaves, and cloves to the pan. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan with lid (if it has one) or cover tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Braise until the turkey is fork tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes, turning after 1 hour.

When the turkey is almost done, combine the gremolata ingredients in a bowl with fingers. Slice the turkey (it's so tender, it usually falls off in pieces) and arrange in shallow serving bowls. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper (go very light on the salt, because the gremolata is salty), and ladle some over each serving. Sprinkle each serving with a large pinch of gremolata.

Recipe adapted from Giada's Kitchen by Giada de Laurentiis.

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