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November 22, 2013

Tips for the week before Turkey Day

Turkey is the star of Thanksgiving, but roasting and carving a big turkey isn’t your only option.

Try something different — roast one or two turkey breasts. They are readily available, easier to prepare, and very versatile. They are perfect for a small group and especially so for those who want only white meat, and like extra white meat “left-overs” for a late-night sandwich.

Regarding cooking time, they take half as much time as a whole bird, and they are easy to carve — just slice and serve.

You can season turkey breasts with different marinades, rubs, and glazes, from spicy to sweet. I prefer the simple seasoning of salt and pepper after rubbing on some olive oil. My sons prefer a glaze of barbecue sauce.

Serving turkey breasts is simple, especially if you do not have huge platters. Arrange them over roasted vegetables (my choice would be sweet potatoes, parsnips, and fresh Brussels sprouts around the edge), or place one breast at each end of the table with different seasonings.

I would still make a simple gravy and those can’t-do-without mashed potatoes.

BBQ Spice-Rubbed Turkey Breast

Serves 8 to 10.

Two, 3- to 31/2-pound fresh or frozen bone-in turkey breast halves

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Thaw turkey if frozen. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large shallow roasting pan and rack with cooking spray.

Combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, cumin, chili powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Place breast halves, bone side down, on roasting rack in prepared pan. Set aside.

Mix together the olive oil and butter, spread over turkey breast. Rub spice mixture evenly over breast meat and under the skin if skin is loose enough.

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