Happy Thanksgiving 2013

TEXT by Jonathan MacKay | PHOTOGRAPHS by Erin Monett


—Thanksgiving dinner, 2011—

MY FOVOURITE HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR IS THE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING. The leaves are just cresting their peak colours, the days are sunny and warm and the nights are threatening frost, which is so nice for sleeping.  This Sunday is our family dinner—a long time tradition of family, turkey and merriment in a small family cottage on Skeleton Lake.  Tomorrow we will go for a long walk with the dogs through the forest of crunchy leaves, earth smells and glimmers of sunshine—all the cousins, grandparents and kids in tow. Charlie (our daughter) will have her first experience from the vantage point of my back pack, and the older kids will make giant piles of leaves to roll around in.  There are two extra seats this year, and I for one will be raising a toast to my dear parents, who passed away this spring.  I will be contributing the squash, carrying on the torch which was my mom's special recipe, the best I have ever had.  

So, if you're not planning to get up early and roast an entire turkey, or if you are a small intimate gathering and wondering what to do for dinner—here is a great Turkey breast recipe from Volume 4.  Roasted parsnips would accompany nicely.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend—I know I will.




Serves: approximately 4



  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 oz. grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup port wine
  • 2 small apples, diced
  • 1 cup cranberries, whole, fresh, or frozen
  • 2 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 oz. cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp. salt


In a medium saucepan, sauté onions in oil until they are translucent, and deglaze with port. Add apples, cranberries, and ginger while port reduces by half. Once this is done, add cider vinegar, water, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly. Add lemon zest and salt and reduce to a syrup-like consistency, stirring constantly to prevent sugar from burning. Add water if needed. Remove from heat and set aside; mixture will thicken as it cools. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate until use. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm for best flavour.




  • 1 large turkey breast, bone in, skin on
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1 tbsp. lemon peel, grated
  • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika


Rub turkey breast with olive oil and drizzle with lemon juice. Coat turkey breast with the remaining ingredients, massaging slightly into the meat. Barbecue or bake until the meat has reached roughly 170ºF internal temperature and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. 

*Tip: The turkey will continue to cook as it sits. After 10 minutes it will have reached the correct temperature of 180ºF and be ready to eat, and it will retain its juices and flavour. Cutting into meat too soon will result in dryer, tougher texture.


Sage Crisps


  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 cup lemon, juiced
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 12 large sage leaves, fresh
  • Oil for frying
  • Fine mineral salt (Himalayan is perfect)


Whisk together corn starch, lemon juice, and pepper. Marinate the sage leaves in the mixture for 15–20 minutes.

Heat a deep walled frying pan filled with approximately ¼–½ inch (do not go higher than halfway up the sides of the pan) of good quality frying oil, and bring the oil to frying temperature.* Dredge the soaked leaves in the mixture to ensure even coating. Carefully and slowly lower the leaves in the hot oil, using tongs or a slotted spoon, being careful not to splash oil on yourself; turn the leaves once, and fry until browned and crisp. Remove from pan and dust lightly with salt, and set on an absorbent towel to allow excess oil to drain. Serve as a delicious garnish. 2–3 leaves each should be plenty!

* Frying Temperature is typically 350–375°F.  It is important to use an oil with a hotter smoke point (such as grapeseed), to avoid burning or combusting. Oils with a temperatures exceeding 400°F are at risk of combustion.  I test the oil by touching the surface with the item I am frying; once I achieve a good sizzle I begin. If the oil begins to smoke, it is too hot and should be removed from heat immediately.