Turkey Dinner For Two Made Easy? Absolutely! Using a Dutch Oven, the intensely flavored spice-rubbed turkey breast is prepared with a favorite side of mashed sweet potatoes, and is ready to serve in just under 2 ½ hours.
When we think of dinner for two, a Turkey dinner is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. After all, there’s always a slew of side dishes, one too many holiday desserts and a big ol’ turkey that can feed a crowd plus leftovers.
If you’re unable to spend Thanksgiving with your extended family, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the ultimate day of comfort food – or the promise of those turkey leftovers.
Along with having the right amount of leftovers to make soup or sandwiches the day after the feast, this recipe for two will make your Turkey dinner feel special.
JUMP TO THE SECTION TO LEARN:
- WHAT'S IN THIS DISH?
- HOW A TURKEY DINNER FOR TWO IS MADE EASY
- WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS DISH
- RATE THE RECIPE
WHAT'S IN THIS DISH
- Harissa - I have been seeing harissa chicken popping up on menus around town. Harissa, is a chili-paste with origins from North Africa. I set out to create my own harissa by “blooming” garlic, paprika, coriander, Aleppo pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg in olive oil.
- Lemon Juice and Zest to balance out the flavors in the Harissa.
- Split Bone-in Turkey breast – Most split breasts are around 3 lbs., the perfect amount for two with leftovers!
- Sweet Potatoes pair nicely with this dish and are a common ingredient in many North African cuisines.
- Half-and half to achieve a creamy rich mashed sweet potato side.
- Cilantro to add a bit of fresh flavor.
Pro Tip: If you can’t find Aleppo you can substitute ½ teaspoon paprika and ½ teaspoon ground red pepper flakes.
HOW A TURKEY DINNER FOR TWO IS MADE EASY
How? By using one pot, our Dutch oven! With the Dutch oven we achieve not only a perfectly roasted turkey breast, but a creamy rich side dish to accompany it.
TIPS FOR MAKING A SPICE RUB
Let’s talk about how to bring some intense flavor to the turkey breast. Harissa is a common condiment in North Africa which is simply a paste made from ingredients such as dried chilies, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
To “wake up” the dormant flavor in our dried spices we are going microwave the garlic, paprika, coriander, Aleppo pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg with olive oil, microwaving until bubbling and fragrant.
Once the harissa is cooked, we will rub about a tablespoon of harissa onto each side of the breast. Place on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for about 1 hour. This method will achieve a crispier skin and allow the flavor to penetrate.
MASHED SWEET POTATOES MADE EASY
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into ¾ inch pieces, so that they will cook at the same rate as the turkey. We will place the potatoes in the bottom of the Dutch oven and rest the turkey on top.
This allows the potatoes to soak up the turkey’s flavorful juices and means we do not have to add any additional cooking liquid to the pot. The potatoes take on some of the flavors from the harissa – oh my, they are so good!
Roast the turkey and potatoes for about an hour, uncovered. Then at the very end of the cooking time we will crank the heat to 500 degrees to achieve a perfectly bronzed skin.
While the Turkey rests, we will mash our potatoes, stirring in half and half and some cilantro for a rich, creamy texture with a hit of fresh flavor.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS DISH
Here are my favorite turkey dinner side dishes that keep this dinner easy.
- Cranberry Sauce - I would be remiss if I did not pick up a can of whole cranberry sauce. Eating Turkey without our cranberry sauce is, I don’t know, not even a consideration.
- Grab some buns from the bakery
- Toss a simple green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette found in the Blueberry Salad with Sweet & Spicy Pecans recipe post.
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Turkey Dinner For Two Made Easy
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- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground dried Aleppo pepper Note: If you can’t find Aleppo pepper you can substitute ¼ teaspoon paprika and ¼ teaspoon finely chopped red pepper flakes.
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 1 3 to 3.5 -pound Split bone-in turkey breast
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- ¼ cup half-and-half warmed
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Microwave 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, paprika, coriander, Aleppo pepper, cumin, cinnamon,nutmeg and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl until bubbling and very fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring halfway through microwaving. Let cool to room temperature. Mix lemon juice and zest into the paste mixture. Measure out 3 Tablespoons of harissa to rub on the turkey breast and reserve the rest for serving.
- Place breast, skin side up, on counter. Remove any excess fat. Using your fingers, carefully loosen and separate turkey skin from the breast. Peel back skin, leaving it attached at top and center of breast. Rub 1 tablespoon remaining harissa onto the breast, then place skin back over meat. Rub 1 tablespoon remaining harissa onto underside of breast cavity. Place turkey on large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Toss potatoes with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt (about ¼ teaspoon), arrange in even layer in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and gently massage the remaining 1 tablespoon harissa over the skin. Place turkey, skin side up, on top of potatoes. Transfer pot to oven and roast, uncovered, until turkey registers 130 degrees, 1 to 1¼ hours.
- Now, remove pot from oven and crank up the heat on the oven to 500 degrees. When oven reaches 500 degrees, return pot to oven and roast, uncovered, until turkey skin takes on a nice golden brown and breast registers 160 degrees, 15 to 30 minutes.
- Remove pot from oven. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Time to make the potatoes. Using potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth; cover to keep warm.
- Stir in enough warm half-and-half to achieve desired texture. Sprinkle with cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Carve turkey and serve with potatoes, passing reserved harissa separately. Enjoy!
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