Thanksgiving Shortcuts : Turkey Dinner With Asian Accent


The only way to spend less than an eternity cooking a Thanksgiving dinner worth being grateful for is go to a potluck where you prepare the mashed potatoes. Otherwise, spending two days in the kitchen is just part of the tradition.

But there is a way to put turkey on the table without all the day-ahead fuss of mixing old-fashioned dressing, the cumbersome cleaning of the bird, the tedious tying up of the turkey’s limbs and the last-minute dishing up of endless accompaniments. It’s a menu that is far from American in flavor even though it features turkey and some of the traditional vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and onions.

With a Taste of Asia

Ginger, garlic, soy sauce and plum wine add an Asian flavor to this turkey dinner that is good enough to be grateful for on Thanksgiving or any other day. In addition, it will find it’s way into the good graces of the cook for the comparatively little time it takes to put together.


By choosing a boneless turkey breast instead of the whole bird, roasting time is cut considerably. And since most of the side dishes roast along with the bird, there is little to do during the short time it is in the oven other than toss together a salad of romaine, green onions and oranges. Bottled plum sauce might make a good stand-in for cranberry sauce to complete the Asian flavor of this not-so traditional menu for an American holiday.


1 cup plum wine

3 tablespoons soy sauce


4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

2 tablespoons sugar

1 (4- to 5-pound) whole turkey breast, boned

1 pound parsnips

1 pound carrots

2 to 3 small onions

2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Bottled plum sauce, optional

Combine wine, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sugar in shallow baking dish. Add turkey and turn to coat all over. Marinate overnight in refrigerator. Or, let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes.

Remove turkey from marinade, reserving marinade. Shape turkey into oblong roast and tie securely at 1-inch intervals with kitchen string. Place on rack in open roasting pan. Pour marinade into pan.

Trim root ends of parsnips and carrots, leaving about 1-inch of stems on tops. Arrange parsnips, carrots and whole unpeeled onions around turkey in pan. Tent pan with heavy foil, crimping around edges to seal.

Pierce potatoes in several places and arrange on top rack of oven. Place turkey on lowest rack of oven and roast turkey and potatoes at 325 degrees about 1 1/2 hours.


Remove turkey and potatoes from oven. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Remove foil and vegetables. Keep vegetables warm. Brush turkey with vegetable oil. Return to oven and roast, uncovered, 10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, honey and sesame oil in small bowl. Brush over turkey and roast 5 minutes longer or until brown and thermometer inserted in turkey registers 180 degrees.

Bring liquid in roasting pan to boil over high heat and cook until liquid is slightly reduced and thickened. Slice turkey and arrange on warm platter with vegetables, cutting onions into halves. Strain sauce and serve with turkey and vegetables, along with plum sauce. Makes about 6 servings.