The other night I complained to Danny “I just want to get in my kitchen and cook for two days solid”. And I completely meant it.
This month is among the most exciting for whipping up tantalizing appetizers and show-stopping desserts, but I’m way behind. Yes, we’ve been back and forth from the hospital with Clara a lot, getting interrupted sleep and trying to prep for Christmas, too. It’s been okay, really; I know others are far worse off than we are, but man, I miss my kitchen.
So when I recently had an afternoon to throw something together for dinner, I put a spin on a familiar favourite. This new recipe is a direct result of craving holiday comfort food yet having limited time to prepare it (like last year’s Slow-Cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk).
I tend to stress eat and can’t subside on granola bars and wraps from the hospital cafeteria when times get tough. I need a meal. Well, enter the sheet pan turkey dinner.
It has all the key elements of a holiday meal, roasted up together so the flavours marry, and served up family style. I can promise you the sheet pan turkey dinner meets all the criteria of a well-rounded comforting meal – and makes your house smell like Christmas Day, too.
Happy Holidays indeed.
Now I am not at all suggesting that this is your simplified holiday dinner for the 25th, it’s a little rustic for that, but it is a pretty darn great weeknight meal (even if the roasting time is longer than most).
Roasting an entire dinner on a sheet pan is one of my favourite tricks for a quick meal. Although I haven’t seen the awesome sounding cookbook Sheet Pan Suppers yet, I get it why the author Molly wrote it, I really do. Whether you call it ‘one-tray’ or ‘one-pan’ or ‘sheet-pan’ dinner, it’s worth having a couple of these recipes in your back pocket.
I’ll usually roast up sausages like Rebecca has here, prepare Allison’s chicken dinner, or stuffed salmon and surround it with heaps of vegetables. These dishes are invariable delicious and ever so simple.
With this new sheet pan supper, the turkey skin gets crispy, while the legs stay moist. Some of the stuffing soaks up the turkey juices, while the rest get toasty on top– it’s the best of both worlds. The vegetables have both crispy edges and soft interiors. It’s almost impossible not to have seconds.
A few notes on this freshly concocted family favourite:
- You could switch out the sweet potatoes for cubed regular potatoes – or serve the dish with a side of perfect mashed potatoes. I went with sweet potatoes because they are exactly what I want to be eating with turkey and stuffing.
- I chose turkey legs because I prefer brown meat. I’m guessing the same dish could be done with two turkey breasts (and probably in even shorter time). If you try them out, please leave a comment and tell us how it went.
- It’s imperative to have the turkey at room temperature when it goes in the oven. And don’t skip the resting period, otherwise you’re not going to have tender poultry.
- I like my green beans very al dente, but if you want them slightly softer, add them to the pan at the same time as the rest of the vegetables.
- Speaking of beans, this dish would be far better with Brussels sprouts, but I have three children who adore green beans, so this one is for them.
- You can roast your own chestnuts, but I buy mine cooked, peeled and vacuum packed from the grocery store.
You probably have most of the other ingredients on hand, so add fresh turkey to your shopping list and put this Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner on the menu this week. I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a good solid dinner to keep up the ChristmasiscomingChristmasiscoming pace this December.
|Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner|| || |
- 2 fresh turkey legs, separated at the joint.
- salt and pepper
- 1 large sweet potato, about 1 lb
- 1 large red onion, peeled
- 3 large stalks celery, washed
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- fresh thyme
- 2 cups cubed hearty rustic-style bread
- 4 Tablespoons chicken stock
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground savory
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup cooked, peeled chestnuts
- 1 1/2 cup snapped green beans
- Preheat oven to 400F. Season turkey pieces all over with salt and pepper. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover the pan with aluminium foil. It should be sealed.
- Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Remove foil (keep it for later) and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Peel or scrub sweet potato and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cut onion into 8 sections. Cut celery into 1-inch sections. Combine all three vegetables in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Remove turkey from the oven and increase the temperature to 425F. Spread the vegetables around the pan in a single layer. Return to the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
- Place the bread cubes in a bowl and pour over the chicken stock and 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Toss bread cubes with ground savory and more fresh thyme. Combine cranberries, chestnuts and green beans in the vegetable bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove pan from oven (yep, one more time!). Tuck the bread cubes around the turkey. Sprinkle the cranberries, chestnuts and green beans all over the sheet pan. Brush turkey with remaining melted butter. Roast everything for 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.
What sort of comfort food do you crave over the holidays?