Downsizing the turkey dinner


Keri White | Special to the JT

This is not your Thanksgiving turkey feast, but it could certainly work for a smaller meal timed to the holiday.


This boneless roast is a smaller, simpler, more user-friendly version. Sure, it lacks the visual “wow” factor of the jumbo bird, but it cooks in about an hour, which is a lovely feature from the preparer’s perspective. In addition, many of us are gathering in smaller groups these days, and this menu suits that trend well.

If you are still getting together in large crowds and want the briefer spell in the oven, simply buy a few of these and enjoy hosting in relative leisure.

Boneless Turkey Roast (Meat)

Serves 4

Brining is a flavor-infusing hack that delivers a tasty result. Turkey has a reputation for drying out, but brining protects against that unfortunate outcome.

Covering it while cooking and placing the roast atop a flavorful mirepoix (a fancy term for the carrot/onion/celery mixture lining the roasting pan) helps keep it juicy.

Some might balk at the lack of bones, as that means nothing to make soup from tomorrow. But if you save the skin, the drippings and mirepoix, you can make a reasonably good broth with the pan residue. No, it’s not the same as a bone broth simmered overnight, but it’s a decent substitute given the ease with which you create it.


For the brine:

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 2 Tbsps. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary

For the mirepoix:

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

For the roast:

  • 1 skin-on boneless turkey roast, about 2.5 pounds
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. each salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder


  • 2 slices of turkey bacon


In a large zip-seal plastic bag, mix the brine ingredients and place the turkey carefully in the bag. Seal and refrigerate for two to 24 hours. Two hours before you intend to serve, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat it dry.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a roasting pan with a cover, place the mirepoix ingredients and toss well.

Prepare the roast: Mix the seasonings in a small bowl. Coat the roast with oil and honey, and then sprinkle it with the spice mixture. Place the seasoned roast on top of the mirepoix mixture. If using, place the turkey bacon slices over the roast.

Cover and place the turkey in the oven for about an hour. (If you do not have a covered roasting pan, cover the turkey tightly with foil.) The meat should reach 165 degrees when it is done.

Let the roast rest for 10 minutes, covered, before carving. Drizzle it with pan drippings and serve.

Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Pareve)

Serves 4

There are two equally legitimate schools of thought on these sweet potatoes.

One advocates roasting them right in the pan with the turkey, atop the mirepoix, to glean all the flavorings and drippings swirling around during the roasting process. This provides a lovely blend of similar flavors that pervades the meal and results in soft sweet potatoes due to the steam coming out of the vegetables and the fact that they are roasted in a covered pan, which traps the moisture.

The other prefers to cook the potatoes in a separate pan to avoid a uniform flavor palate, and seeks a crispier texture. If you are in the former camp (which has the bonus of only dirtying one pan), you can simply toss the peeled chopped potatoes in the pan with the turkey, and they will cook alongside the bird. If you are in the latter camp, follow the directions below.


  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used assorted purple and white sweet potatoes, but any type will do.)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste


Line the bottom of a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Toss the sweet potatoes with oil, salt and pepper.

Roast alongside the turkey for about 45 to 60 minutes until the desired level of brown crunchiness is achieved.

Serve hot.


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