Not all of us get to go home for the holidays. It's a sad story, but those adhering to the eight-buck budget can't necessarily afford the inflated airfare that Turkey Day travelers must endure to enjoy a table filled with family and topped with a very big, very expensive bird.
Luckily, my parents live a mere 40 blocks from my current apartment. But my culinary heart goes out to those grappling with throwing Thanksgiving dinner with friends, on a budget, and trying to figure out how to fit a turkey inside what might as well be an Easy Bake oven. For these fellow quarter-lifers, or for those too lazy to brine and bake a whole bird, I give you an everyday poultry solution: turkey piccata.
The piccata has been a quick and easy go-to meal of mine for years. But the reason why I thought of it as an answer to singles Thanksgiving is that lemony pan sauce—it cooks up in less than five minutes. First, you dredge the poultry and brown it on both sides. Then add wine, stock, flour and butter to thicken it, and lemon to add a little zing. The capers? Well, those might not quick ring as true to the holiday. But you can't argue with a 15-minute main course, and certainly not a bird that costs less than eight bucks.
Shopping List: ¾ pound turkey cutlets, $3.00; ¼ cup white wine, $0.50 (prorated); 1 lemon, $1.00; ¼ cup Purchased Chicken Stock (prorated), $0.25; 2 tablespoons capers, $0.40 (prorated).
Pantry Items: Flour, Butter, Olive Oil, Salt
Total Cost (for 2 portions): $5.15
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 turkey cutlets (about ¾ pound)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from half a lemon)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
Place the flour in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Season the cutlets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dredge the turkey in the flour, until fully coated, shaking off any excess.
In a large non-stick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add one turkey cutlet and cook until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside under a tent of foil, and repeat with the remaining cutlet.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the wine and lemon juice to the pan. Scrape up any remaining bits of meat. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining flour and butter. Add to the pan along with the stock and whisk to combine. Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the capers.
To serve, place one cutlet on each plate and divide the sauce between the two servings. Garnish with slices of lemon and fresh parsley leaves (if you have on hand). The turkey is excellent served alongside mashed potatoes.