The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 10.07.05


How about a turkey curry for Thanksgiving dinner?

Perhaps you have wondered why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving In October while our American neighbors to the south do so in November. My research shows that this discrepancy is largely due to an earlier harvest season up here in the north.

This is an apt theory that goes along with frost dates and declining sun days. It's nice to know that we Canadians are first at something finally. For those that have relatives in the south, this prompts an opportunity to gather up the clan and celebrate two Thanksgiving days or have another if you missed the first.

Historically, Thanksgiving Day involves turkey and an acknowledgment of the founding Pilgrims who arrived in the New Land. However, the native indigenous people of North America were already celebrating harvests in their own traditional ways with foods such as succotash, pumpkin and squash, fish, and wild meats. We borrowed the notion from the aboriginals and stuck with it.

Three centuries later the cultural landscape has changed dramatically to include all manner of celebration and while turkey still tops most menus, the ways in which we truss and cook the bird varies greatly.

Down south they often deep fry them and sometimes will even stuff them with chicken and duck to arrive at a self- basting concoction known as Turducken.

Up here in the north we may smoke them, (we don't inhale) and might stuff them with apples, wild rice and oysters.

We bacon-wrap them and inject all manner of marinating fluids to produce a moist and juicy turkey and if that fails we undercoat the skin with pounds of butter.

We employ rocket science for proper turkey preparation and Martha has made millions selling her turkey-tooling techniques.

If your ancestral family arrived on the Mayflower then you probably continue to present a turkey as per family tradition. However, if you are a fairly recent arrival (Air Canada) then you most likely have tuned a turkey to suit your tastes. The following turkey recipe celebrates an arrival of spice and our newfound love of multi cultural flavors. For that we should be grateful this Thanksgiving Day, don't you think?

Prepare a whole turkey any way you like (rubbed with Tandoori paste and roasted perhaps), then put the leftover meat to mildly spicy good use.

Curried Turkey with Jasmine Rice

Turkey with apples, raisins and vegetables in a fragrant curry sauce, served over jasmine rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-tablespoon curry powder
1/2-teaspoon salt
1/2-teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8-teaspoon ground cloves
1-cup turkey or chicken broth
3 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey
1 large apple, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2-cup raisins
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups hot cooked jasmine rice
Shredded coconut, (optional)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Cook a few minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.

2. Add flour, curry powder, salt, turmeric and cloves; cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually add broth, stirring until well blended. Cook 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in turkey, apples, raisins, lemon peel, lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Cook 5 minutes, or until apples are crisp-tender and mixture is hot, stirring occasionally.

4. Serve over the rice. Top with coconut, if desired.