Easy Recipe: Scarborough Fair Turkey

17 Dec

(This post brought to you by Emily; the wonderful turkey she made for Thanksgiving is definitely a worthwhile venture for your Christmas dinner table as well!)


Thanksgiving doesn't get any simpler than this quick turkey recipe.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine….

— Anonymous

What do Simon and Garfunkel have to do with Thanksgiving? Plenty, if you’re Grace’s hippie sister (which I am).

The popular ’60s duo’s recording of the traditional English folk song “Scarborough Fair” includes the lines above. In medieval England, plants were assigned meanings, so the herbs mentioned in the song actually represent character traits such as strength, courage, love, etc.

The herbs mentioned in the song also happen to taste good in poultry dishes, so I decided to give my Thanksgiving turkey a little folk-hippie twist this year. The results were so good — and the preparation so simple — that one could just as easily use this recipe for a weeknight supper.

Turkey + Crock-Pot = Awesome.

Start with a turkey breast small enough to fit in your Crock-Pot with room to spare. If it has a string bag around it, that’s fine; just leave the string on for now, and you can remove it with scissors and a knife after it finishes cooking.

A rubber garlic peeler speeds this job up.

Pierce the turkey with a knife in a few places to allow your seasonings to penetrate the meat, then cut two lemons in half, squeeze them over the turkey, and throw them into the Crock-Pot. Next, separate all the cloves from a bulb of garlic, peel them, and add them to the pot. (An inexpensive garlic peeler or rubber jar opener will speed up this process and won’t take up a lot of room in a drawer; if you don’t have one of these handy gadgets, I highly recommend buying one.) You can spread the roasted garlic on bread or just eat it along with the turkey once it’s cooked.

Olive oil helps tenderize the meat.

Season the meat with dried parsley, rubbed sage, rosemary, and powdered thyme to taste. I used about two tablespoons or parsley and a tablespoon each of the other spices, but you can adjust the amounts to suit your own palate. Drizzle the whole mess with about a quarter-cup of olive oil, cover, and cook on high for a couple of hours, then switch to low for several hours longer. I let mine go overnight, and it turned out fine.

You can "carve" this turkey with a fork.

After the turkey is done cooking, remove the lemon peels and the string bag (if there is one) from the pot and serve the meat with dressing and a big helping of ’60s folk-pop music. 🙂

What I love about this recipe is the fact that by cooking slowly in its own juices, the turkey becomes very tender, and the olive oil gives it a texture almost like duck (which I personally find infinitely preferable to turkey).


5 Responses to “Easy Recipe: Scarborough Fair Turkey”

  1. Gracie December 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM #

    OMG this sounds wonderful, Emily, and as an added bonus I am now humming Simon and Garfunkel on a quiet Friday afternoon at work! Can’t beat it!

  2. Gracie December 17, 2010 at 2:53 PM #

    P.S. I am loving your groovy green-flowered melamine plate, Em. Cute, cute, cute!

  3. Mom December 17, 2010 at 4:24 PM #

    I bet it would make a terrific open-face sandwich. Maybe with some of your dad’s green beans? Something very nice to come home to after sloughing through snow and ice all day. Man, talk about comfort food! That would be like a hug from your mother. . .{{{Emily & Grace}}}

  4. redforkhippie December 17, 2010 at 9:30 PM #

    Ron’s old Corelle has survived much better than my Franciscan over the course of our marriage. He’s broken half of my Franciscan bowls and a couple of teacups, but his Wal-Mart Corelle seems to be impervious to the perils of life in a cabinet above tile floors. (That, or he secretly hates my brown-and-avocado Madeira and has been systematically arranging “accidents” for it since we got married….)

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