Chyrel's Recipes From Friends

 Clay Pot Turkey

Clay pot cooking lends a flavorful steamed / roasted flavor
that is quite unique.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
2-1/2 tablespoons Italian olive oil
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon chili con carne seasoning
2 tablespoons caraway seeds, partially crushed
3/4 cup dry sherry
1 whole turkey breast (6 - 7 pounds), bony back section of bone split
6 - 8 large shallots, peeled, each cut in half
4 large cloves garlic, peeled, each cut in half
2 large onions
2 large yams
1-1/4 - 1-1/2 pounds white turnip
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely minced dill
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water (optional)

1. Prepare marinade in a large flat-bottomed bowl or Dutch oven: Combine vinegar, orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon oil, seasonings, caraway and 1/4 cup sherry. Add turkey, turning several times to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Soak clay pot (including cover) in tepid water for 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Fit work bowl of food processor with steel blade and, with machine running, drop shallot and garlic clove halves through feed tube. Scrape into measuring cup. (You will need about 2/3 cup firmly packed mixture.) Gently separate skin from flesh of breast; push half the mixture under skin on each side of breast, smoothing out and patting down skin to distribute evenly. Cut away any surplus skin.

4. Fit food processor with slicing blade. Using gentle pressure, thinly slice onions. Slice peeled yams and turnip separately. Heat remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion and saute over medium heat until onion begins to wilt (about 2 minutes). Add yams and turnip. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Continue sautéing until volume begins to diminish (about 8 minutes).

5. Spoon half the vegetable mixture over ridged bottom section of clay pot. Drain turkey, pouring marinade into a saucepan. Place turkey over vegetable mixture, bony side down. Spoon the remaining vegetable mixture over breast.

6. To marinade in saucepan add remaining 1/2 cup sherry, cayenne, salt and lemon juice. Heat until bubbly. Gently pour over turkey and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle dill over all. Cover pot securely.

7. Position oven rack in bottom third of oven. Set thermostat at 400°F. Place pot on rack in cold oven and bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven. Open cover just a crack and let steam escape for 10 minutes. Place turkey on large warmed serving platter. Tent with foil to keep warm.

8. Pour remaining contents of clay pot into colander with large skimming cup underneath. Drain well. Arrange vegetables around turkey. Re-cover while sauce is reheated and thickened, if desired.

9. Pour de fatted sauce into saucepan (there will be about 2 cups). Over high heat, reduce to 1-1/4 cups. If adding thickener, dribble in cornstarch mixture and stir until lightly thickened. Spoon some gravy over turkey and vegetables; serve remainder in gravy boat.

Variation: Add 3/4 cup fresh rinsed and picked-over cranberries when reheating marinade (step 4).
Note: The clay pot, which looks like a covered casserole, is available at many stores that sell kitchen utensils.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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