- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a turkey dinner, but a whole turkey is more than any twosome should face. To enjoy a taste of the holidays without excessive leftovers, serve turkey drumsticks.

The rich-tasting dark meat is readily available fresh in most supermarkets during the holiday season. You can buy drumsticks individually or in packages of two.

Although one drumstick looks hefty enough to serve two, it contains a lot of bone and cartilage, so two portions are actually a good idea.

To get the best flavor and tenderness, braise drumsticks instead of roasting them as you would a whole turkey. Simmer the poultry in a well-seasoned chicken broth, then thicken the broth to serve as a gravy for the finished dish.

Turkey isn’t the only course you can adapt for two. Cranberry sauce is a delightful part of the Thanksgiving menu, and you can make just enough for the holiday meal.

Round out the meal with baked yams, mashed and flavored with maple syrup and Wild Turkey bourbon.

You can make this delicious meal in about two hours, less than half the time of the usual Thanksgiving feast. Start the turkey drumsticks two hours in advance, then roast the yams. Make the cranberry sauce about 15 minutes before dinner.

Braised turkey drumsticks with hot cranberry sauce

TURKEY:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 turkey drumsticks

Salt and pepper

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon flour

Hot cranberry sauce (recipe follows)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Season turkey with salt and pepper to taste. Add turkey, celery and shallot to the Dutch oven. Brown turkey on all sides over medium-high heat. Pour off the fat and remove the turkey.

Add chicken broth to pan, and scrape up any browned bits. Return turkey to Dutch oven, reduce heat to low and cover.

Simmer turkey for 1½ hours, turning after 45 minutes. Place flour in a cup. Stir in 2 tablespoons chicken broth from the Dutch oven to make a paste. Stir paste into liquid in Dutch oven and mix well. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Serve turkey with gravy and hot cranberry sauce on the side.

Makes 2 servings.

HOT CRANBERRY SAUCE:

1 tablespoon butter

1 jalapeno chili, cored, seeded and minced

1 celery stalk, trimmed and diced

2 or 3 tablespoons brown sugar

1½ cups fresh cranberries

Juice of 1 orange (about 3 tablespoons)

Melt butter in a medium pot. Add the chili and celery; saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until tender. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the cranberries and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until berries pop and the mixture thickens, stirring constantly.

Before removing from heat, taste sauce. If it isn’t hot-sweet, add remaining tablespoon brown sugar. Cook for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar.

Roasted and mashed yams with Wild Turkey

2 medium yams

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon Wild Turkey or other bourbon

Salt and pepper

Puncture yams in several places with the tip of a knife. Place in a baking dish. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until yams are tender to the touch.

Peel and place in a bowl. Add maple syrup, butter, Wild Turkey or other bourbon, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash with the back of a fork and stir until light.

Makes 2 servings.

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