Popular dishes put you at head of the class

Congratulations, you’re hosting a graduation party. Now, what do you serve?

My inclination always is to go with something that can be made in advance, is easy to serve and appeals to all generations. Since graduation parties tend to be open houses with guests arriving and eating at different times, I like to make something that won’t keep sending me back to the kitchen.

The Pomegranate Molasses Pulled Turkey recipe is ideal for this scenario. It’s tangy but not spicy thanks to the pomegranate molasses, which can be bought at specialty, kosher and Middle Eastern markets. The turkey and sauce can be made ahead of time and warmed in a slow cooker right before your party. It’s served on soft rolls or buns with the Broccoli-Cabbage Slaw right on the bun or as a side salad.

Pomegranate Molasses Pulled Turkey

Serves 8

Pulled Turkey
1⁄2 large red onion
2 garlic cloves
3⁄4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 to 4 lb. turkey breast on bone

Sauce
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
1⁄8 tsp. salt
1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp. liquid smoke, optional

Coarsely grate onion and garlic into large slow cooker. Add pomegranate molasses, stock, sugar, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Stir well. Remove skin from turkey breast if desired. Slash turkey breast down to bone in 4 places. Place in pot meat side down. (If the breast is too large for your cooker, cut in half first.) Cover slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8-10 hours or medium for about 6-8 hours (times are approximate and will depend on brand and size of slow cooker as well as other variables). Meat should be very tender and falling off bone. Remove turkey from slow cooker, let rest until cool enough to handle and shred meat with fork, discarding bones and skin.

To make sauce, heat cooking liquid over high in slow cooker with lid off, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in sauce ingredients — tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper and liquid smoke (if using). Cook until thickened and reduced down to about 31⁄2 cups. (This could take an hour or so. For a quicker option, remove sauce to a conventional pot and reduce down on stove and then add back to slow cooker.) Taste and correct seasoning if desired. Add turkey shreds back to slow cooker and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is heated through. Reduce heat to low to keep warm for serving. Serve on rolls or buns with Broccoli-Cabbage Slaw.

Broccoli-Cabbage Slaw

Serves 8-10

12 oz. bag premade broccoli slaw
2 10 oz. bags shredded green cabbage
1 1⁄2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
1⁄2 cup water
1 cup canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 to 2 tsp. chopped fresh jalapeño chili (optional)
1 tsp. grated ginger
1⁄8 to 1⁄4 tsp. sugar (optional)

Combine broccoli slaw and cabbage in large bowl. Mix together rice vinegar, white vinegar, water, oil, salt, pepper, chili (if using) and ginger. Taste and correct seasoning, adding optional sugar if desired. Toss half of dressing with cabbage and broccoli slaw. If slaw is not moist enough, add additional dressing as desired. (Refrigerate extra dressing for other use.) Serve on rolls or buns with pulled turkey, or on the side as a salad. (Note: If using on rolls or buns with turkey, keep slaw on the dry side.)

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Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.