Marcus Samuelsson is what you might call a global chef. He was born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden and trained in both Scandinavia and Europe. His previous cookbooks focused on Scandinavian cooking (Aquavit) and pan-African cuisine (The Soul of a New Cuisine). This is perhaps one of the reasons why the Obamas chose him to cook their first state dinner last night, in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Samuelsson's far-ranging background and interests are the focus of his new cookbook, New American Table, which is as much of an American travelogue as it is a cookbook.

It therefore seems fitting that it would be Samuelsson's recipe for the most American of meals that we pick for today. “This turkey breast, flavored with the traditional rosemary and sage, is also dusted with chili powder and served with a side of collard greens as a nod to Africa,” writes Samuelsson. The chef created this recipe to go with the Swedish and Filipino Christmas menu that he is often served by friends. As Samuelsson said in our interview with him, “we are all immigrants.” This is particularly resonant on Thanksgiving.

Turkey Breast with Collard Greens and Stuffing

From: New American Table, by Marcus Samuelsson.

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

one 6-pound bone-in turkey breast

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

½ yellow onion

½ cup herb mix (recipe follows)

stuffing (recipe follows)

collard greens (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Rinse the turkey breast under cold water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper on all sides and in the neck cavity. Stuff the garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, and onion into the neck cavity and seal closed with a wooden skewer or toothpick. Generously rub the herb mix over the turkey and under the skin.

3. Place the turkey skin side up on a rack in a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Roast, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160°F and the juices run clear, about 1½ hours.

4. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Before carving, remove and discard the seasonings from the neck cavity. Serve with the stuffing and collard greens.

Herb mix

Makes: about 2⁄3 cup

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove minced

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

2 tablespoons finely chopped sage

2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

2 teaspoons mild chili powder

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, and chili powder and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and combine with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


Makes: 3½ cups

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted, skinless peanuts, coarsely chopped

½ loaf white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 garlic cloves, cut in half

3 shallot, coarsely chopped

1 medium pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (5 cups; see Tip)

2 quinces or pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes (4 cups)

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tablespoons herb mix (see above)

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup dark raisins

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the peanuts and bread cubes and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, quince, cinnamon sticks, and herb mix and sauté for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, orange juice, and honey. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Add the thyme, salt, raisins, and the reserved peanuts and bread cubes. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and stir in the parsley.

Collard greens

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

6 bacon slices

½ cup coconut milk

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon coarse grainy mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves cut in half

4 cups very thinly sliced collard greens (about 2 bunches)

4 cups very thinly sliced bok choy (about 2 heads)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil. Crumble into small pieces. Set aside.

2. Bring the coconut milk and soy sauce to a boil in small saucepan.

Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and crumbled bacon.

Set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large straight-sided sauté pan over low heat. Add the garlic and slowly toast until pale golden brown, about 10 minutes. (Be careful not to let it burn.) Lift the garlic out of the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. In the same pan, add the collard greens and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the greens start to wilt, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk mixture and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender and the sauce has thickened.

5. While the collard greens are cooking, bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a separate pot. Blanch the bok choy for 30 seconds, and fold into the collard greens during the last minute of cooking. Stir the reserved garlic into the greens and serve.

LA Weekly