There is probably no other food that comes close to evoking images of celebration, family, friends, and giving thanks than turkey. November and December are the months most noted as the season for enjoying turkey but it’s wonderful taste and nutritional value should not be reserved just for the holidays. Turkey’s lean meat is available year round thanks to the availability of individual turkey pieces such as breast, tenderloins, cutlets and ground turkey. These are quick and easy alternatives to cooking a whole turkey making it more convenient for everyone to incorporate turkey into their diets.
Turkey is a very good source of protein. A four ounce serving provides about 65% of the daily value for protein. Turkey also possesses about 11% of the daily value for saturated fat which is about half the amount of saturated fat found in red meat. Turkey also contains the trace mineral selenium, which is a major component of several metabolic pathways, including antioxidant defense systems, immune functions and thyroid hormone metabolism. Studies have also shown selenium to be cancer-protective by inducing DNA repair and synthesis to damage cells among other protective actions.
Turkey has also been shown to be a good source of B vitamins for energy and cardiovascular protection. Niacin and vitamin B6 are found in the most abundance in turkey. Niacin is essential for the conversion of the body’s proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into usable energy, as well as optimizing blood sugar regulation. Vitamin B6 is essential for the body’s ability to process carbohydrates to provide for storage in muscle cells and liver. Other vitamins and minerals found in turkey include tryptophan and phosphorus.
When looking to add lean meats to your diet try giving turkey a shot. Its high protein and B vitamins content help to keep your body, and hair alike, healthy and thriving. With Thanksgiving just around the corner it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for a turkey. Look for whole turkeys that have a solid shape, look plump and have rounded breast. When purchasing a whole turkey or turkey parts, the bird should feel pliable when gently pressed and should not have an “off “ smell. If possible try to purchase a turkey that has been organically raised as these methods of raising turkey are both more humane and healthful.
Apricot-Glazed Turkey and Sweet Potatoes
This recipe is a quick alternative to roasting a whole bird and paired beautifully with sweet potatoes and and a sweet apricot glaze. Great for small families or the recipe can easily be modified for larger dinner parties.
2 1/2 pound(s) sweet potato(es), peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp table salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, divided
1/2 cup(s) apricot preserves
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 pound(s) boneless, skinless turkey breast(s), use a whole 2 lb roast*
1/4 cup(s) white wine
1/2 cup(s) canned chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a large rimmed baking pan with nonstick foil (or coat with cooking spray).
Put potatoes in pan and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper each. Toss to coat. Push potatoes to once side of pan, keeping them in a single layer.
In a small cup, stir together preserves and mustard until blended and set aside. Sprinkle turkey with remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place turkey on empty side of pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread ¼ cup apricot mixture over turkey.
Place pan in oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Pour remaining apricot mixture over potatoes and toss to mix and coat.
Roast, tossing potatoes once or twice until cooked and lightly browned and turkey is cooked. About 25 to 35 minutes more.
Remove potatoes from pan and set aside. Remove turkey to a cutting board and let stand 5 to 10 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil (this allows turkey to reabsorb juices.) Pour any resulting juices back into roasting pan.
Meanwhile, place roasting pan on stove top over high heat. To deglaze pan, add wine and then broth. Scrape bottom and sides of pan with a wooden spoon to incorporated pan droppings. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce reduces and begins to thicken; about 1 to 2 minutes. The alcohol will burn off.
Place turkey on a serving platter and spoon potatoes into a serving bowl. Pour sauce over turkey and serve. This recipe yields about 3 ounces of turkey and ½ cup of sweet potatoes per serving.
You may have to purchase a 2 pound boneless turkey breast with skin depending on your local grocery store. Remove skin before cooking.
Whenever you roast turkey or chicken, it is best to use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. The internal temperature should be a minimum of 165°F. Make sure to measure at the thickest part of the meat, without touching any bone if there is bone present and make hold probe until the temperature stabilizes.
Until next week…