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Three Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Recipes for One Person

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

A traditional roast turkey Thanksgiving dinner for one person

A traditional roast turkey Thanksgiving dinner for one person

Are you spending Thanksgiving alone this year? Do you think that means you have to do without the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner? While it stands to reason that even the smallest of turkeys is likely to be too much for one person, the good news is that this absolutely does not mean that you cannot enjoy a freshly prepared, Thanksgiving turkey dinner, with all the trimmings of your choice. It simply means that you may have to be a little bit more creative with your Thanksgiving dinner menu and make the most of what will be very specific cuts from the bird.

Supermarkets in modern times offer a wide choice of turkey meat in small, manageable portions, which do not involve buying a whole bird. You may wish to buy a drumstick, a thigh, a breast steak or portion, or even simply some diced meat from the breast or thigh. There are any number of ways in which these turkey portions can be made to form a delicious turkey dinner for Thanksgiving or any time of year. Why not take a look at what your supermarket offers in this line and plan what you are going to come up with?

This page is devoted to looking at the traditional—and the somewhat less than traditional—in terms of turkey recipes, in an attempt to help anyone spending Thanksgiving alone at least enjoy their dinner on the big day:

Three Turkey Dinner Recipes for One Person

  1. Easy Turkey and Vegetable Stir-Fry
  2. Breaded Turkey Breast Fillet With Brussels Sprouts and New Potatoes
  3. Sage and Onion Turkey Burger With Garlic Mayo and Fries
The turkey and vegetable stir-fry is garnished with freshly chopped parsley prior to serving

The turkey and vegetable stir-fry is garnished with freshly chopped parsley prior to serving

1. Easy Turkey and Vegetable Stir-Fry

There is a strong possibility that although you do want to enjoy turkey when spending Thanksgiving alone, you do not want to put in a great many hours' preparation on a meal for one person. This makes a turkey stir-fry the perfect choice. It is quick and easy to prepare but still includes that principal ingredient of fresh turkey.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound diced turkey breast meat
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ white onion
  • Generous handful of bean sprouts
  • 2 medium closed cup mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
The turkey pieces are velveted to help protect them during cooking.

The turkey pieces are velveted to help protect them during cooking.

Step 1: Velvet the Turkey Meat

The first step is to begin the process of velveting the turkey meat. This is a Chinese procedure, used to help protect what is usually chicken from the intense heat of the stir-frying process and keep it deliciously tender and moist.

  1. Add the egg white to a glass or stone bowl, large enough to subsequently contain the turkey and allow you room to stir it around.
  2. Spoon in the corn starch and season with up to a quarter teaspoon of salt.
  3. Stir to form a smooth, fairly thin paste before adding the turkey and stirring to coat it evenly and well.
  4. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Vegetables prepared for stir-frying.

Vegetables prepared for stir-frying.

Step 2: Prepare the Vegetables

While the turkey is velveting, use some of the time to prepare your vegetables. Remember when stir-frying that the different foodstuffs should be cut in to fairly large pieces and be as uniform in size as possible. Half the onion again and split it into leaves. Deseed and slice the red pepper and thickly slice the mushroom. The bean sprouts should be washed and shaken dry.

The turkey has to be drained prior to being stir fried.

The turkey has to be drained prior to being stir fried.

The partially cooked turkey is removed from the wok.

The partially cooked turkey is removed from the wok.

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Step 3: Drain and (Partially) Cook the Turkey

It is important to drain the turkey when you remove it from the refrigerator. Pour it into a colander and stir well to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Add some oil to your wok and bring it up to a high heat. Stir-fry the turkey only for about 1 minute until it turns evenly opaque and is sealed. Remove it to a small dish or bowl with a slotted spoon.

The turkey and vegetable stir-fry is just about ready to serve

The turkey and vegetable stir-fry is just about ready to serve

Step 4: Stir-Fry Vegetables and Add Turkey Back In

Add a little more oil to the wok if required and bring back up to heat before adding the onion and red pepper. Stir-fry for about 1 minute. Put the turkey back in, along with the mushrooms and chili flakes and season. Stir-fry for 1 more minute before adding the bean sprouts for a third and final minute.

You could serve this stir-fry with rice or noodles, but this is a fairly generous portion—it will depend on how hungry you are likely to be and perhaps how many other courses you have decided to prepare. Plate the stir-fry and garnish with a little freshly chopped parsley.

Schnitzel-style breaded turkey breast fillet is served with herb new potatoes and spiced Brussels sprouts.

Schnitzel-style breaded turkey breast fillet is served with herb new potatoes and spiced Brussels sprouts.

2. Breaded Turkey Breast Fillet With New Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is based on the Austro-German dish called schnitzel. Turkey is a very popular choice for making schnitzel in some parts of Germany and Austria, and this recipe is a fairly straightforward idea for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Ingredients

  • Small baby new potatoes*
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices of bread, made into crumbs
  • 6 ounces turkey breast fillet
  • Large Brussels sprouts*
  • Butter
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • Wedge of lemon and parsley sprig for garnish

*The quantity of potatoes and Brussels sprouts depends on personal choice (essentially how big an appetite you are likely to have).

Step 1: Prepare the Potatoes

The potatoes should be prepared first. Wash them—but do not peel them—and add them to a pan of slightly salted cold water. Place on a high heat until the water boils, and then reduce to simmer for 25 minutes.

Beaten egg and fresh breadcrumbs are used to coat the turkey fillet.

Beaten egg and fresh breadcrumbs are used to coat the turkey fillet.

6 ounce turkey breast fillet.

6 ounce turkey breast fillet.

The breaded turkey breast fillet is shallow fried in vegetable oil.

The breaded turkey breast fillet is shallow fried in vegetable oil.

Step 2: Bread and Cook the Turkey Fillet

Break the egg into a flat-bottomed bowl, season with salt and pepper and lightly beat. Spread the breadcrumbs on a dinner plate. Bring a little oil gently up to heat in a non-stick frying pan. Draw the turkey steak through the beaten egg and pat on both sides in the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process for a thicker and more even coating. Fry gently for seven or eight minutes each side until done.

Brussels sprouts are prepared for the pot.

Brussels sprouts are prepared for the pot.

Step 3: Prepare and Cook the Sprouts

The sprouts will take 10 to 12 minutes to cook, depending upon their size. Trim the very end only off the remaining stalk and remove any loose or withered leaves. Do not make a cross in the base of the sprouts—this serves only to make the sprouts fall apart in the cooking water, significantly and adversely affecting presentation. Add the sprouts to a pan of lightly salted boiling water and adjust the heat to achieve a gentle simmer.

Step 4: Drain and Season the Vegetables

Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot. Add a little butter and the dried dill. Swirl to coat the potatoes in the seasoned butter. Drain the sprouts and return them to their pot. Add butter and the ground nutmeg. Swirl again to coat.

Plate the turkey and arrange the potatoes and sprouts alongside. Garnish with the lemon wedge and parsley and serve.

This half pound sage and onion turkey burger is served on a toasted bread roll with garlic mayo and a side of fries

This half pound sage and onion turkey burger is served on a toasted bread roll with garlic mayo and a side of fries

3. Sage and Onion Turkey Burger With Fries and Garlic Mayo

This is a really simple burger recipe with no breadcrumbs, egg or other often-added ingredients. However, the way that the fries are prepared for this recipe means that they will require to be started a couple of hours in advance of service.

Ingredients

  • 1 modest-sized baking potato
  • ½ pound ground turkey
  • ¼ white onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 soft bread roll
  • Salt and white pepper
A baking potato is ideal for a portion of fries.

A baking potato is ideal for a portion of fries.

The fries are parboiled first.

The fries are parboiled first.

Step 1: Prepare and Parboil the Fries

A modest-sized baking potato makes a decent portion of fries.

  1. Peel the potato and slice and chop it into fry shapes.
  2. Put the fries into a wire basket and a pan of cold, unsalted water. The basket makes it easy to lift the fries from the water (rather than draining them through a colander at the risk of breaking them).
  3. Bring to a boil on a high heat before reducing to simmer for 5 minutes only.
  4. Pour the water out of the pot and fill it with cold water before lowering the basket of fries back into it for 5 more minutes. This helps to cool the fries quickly and prevents them turning grey or black.
  5. Lift the basket back out the water and allow to drain. Place the fries carefully into a plastic dish with a lid and then into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Lay the chilled fries on one half of a clean tea towel and pat them dry.
The chilled fries should be patted dry before being fried.

The chilled fries should be patted dry before being fried.

Step 2: Cook and Refrigerate the Fries

Fry them at 300ºF/150ºC in oil for 5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper, cover and allow to cool. Put them back in a dish and the refrigerator for a further 30 minutes.

You can now move on to preparing and cooking your burger and the remainder of your meal.

The burger ingredients are mixed by hand in a bowl.

The burger ingredients are mixed by hand in a bowl.

Step 3: Make the Burger Patty

Put the turkey, diced onion and sage into a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the ingredients well by hand before rolling in to a ball. Flatten the ball between your palms to form a burger between 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

The burger is gently shallow-fried in oil.

The burger is gently shallow-fried in oil.

Step 4: Fry the Burger

Bring a little vegetable oil up to a medium heat in a non-stick pan. The burger will require to be gently fried for around 10 to 12 minutes on each side until done, depending upon thickness. Do not press down on the burger as it cooks, as you force the juices out in to the pan. Turn it only once and check for doneness by piercing with the point of a sharp knife and checking the juices run clear. Push the pan off the heat to rest the burger while the fries are finished.

The fries are drained on kitchen paper after their final deep fry.

The fries are drained on kitchen paper after their final deep fry.

Step 5: Finish the Fries and Make the Mayo

Put the fries back into the fryer at 350ºF/170ºC for a further 5 to 6 minutes. Put the mayo in a small bowl and hand grate in the peeled garlic clove. Stir well. Remove the fries to some fresh kitchen paper and allow to drain.

The toasted roll is plated with the fries, ready for the rested burger and garlic mayo.

The toasted roll is plated with the fries, ready for the rested burger and garlic mayo.

Step 6: Toast the Roll

Cut the bread roll in half horizontally and toast under a hot, overhead grill. Lay the two halves of the roll on your serving plate, cut sides uppermost and the fries alongside. Lay your burger on the bottom half of the roll and spoon on some mayo before service.

A table set for one person is a sad sight at Thanksgiving, or any holiday time of family celebration

A table set for one person is a sad sight at Thanksgiving, or any holiday time of family celebration

Do You Know Someone Spending Thanksgiving Alone?

The potential reasons why someone is spending Thanksgiving alone are many and varied. There are even some who will be spending the day alone very much through personal choice! In most instances, however, it will not be through choice, and particularly for elderly people forced to spend Thanksgiving alone, the despondency can be overpowering.

Can you bring joy to someone this Thanksgiving? Can you perhaps fit an extra chair in at your table and serve another portion from your turkey? It may be a distant family member you haven't considered, or simply an old friend who lives nearby. If you can save someone from sitting alone to eat their Thanksgiving dinner, your simple act of kindness may bring a level of joy which you can't begin to imagine...

Have a Happy Holiday!

Hopefully you will have a wonderful time this Thanksgiving, however and wherever you happen to be spending it. If you are spending it alone, hopefully these dinner recipes have given you some idea for how to make your day a little better.

Thank you for visiting this page and any comments or feedback which you have may be left in the space below. Coming very soon: More Thanksgiving turkey dinner recipes for one, to help you find the option best suited to your tastes and dietary requirements and make the most of Thanksgiving.

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