I can’t believe it’s that time already. So we are getting a head start. Revised from November 20, 2010 for obvious timely reasons. I never went to cooking school or took home economics in high school, I was too busy blowing up the attic with my chemistry set. I did like to eat and eat …
Nov 27 2014
Republished and edited from November 25, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.
I know by tomorrow tonight you will be sick if looking at the remnants of dinner, especially that turkey carcass but you aren’t done with it yet. I’m going to walk you through making turkey stock.
First you will need a big pot, I mean big like the one you use to cook spaghetti big, at least big enough to hold the turkey carcass and cover it wiht water. Mmmm, say about 8 quarts big. I know you have one somewhere.
Next your going to peel an onion, slicing off the top but leaving the stem part intact. Cut it in half through the stem. Gather some whole carrots and a few celery stalks (don’t cut off the leaves that’s where the most flavor is). Peel some garlic, as much as you’d like (we like a lot) but at least two cloves, leaving it whole. Take some of the herbs that you used to season the turkey with and three or four bay leaves and set it aside in a bowl for a minute.
Now, put the turkey in the empty pot to make sure it fits. If it doesn’t you have a couple of choices the easiest of which is to cut the carcass into sections so it fits into the pot you have. Now that it fits, put it on the stove and fill it with cold water using a pitcher (this gets heavy that’s why you’re doing it this way), covering the turkey . Add all the veggies, cover and bring to a full boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 3 or 4 hours, stirring occasionally and scraping the loose meat off the bones.
With most of the meat off the bones, remove the bones with a large slotted spoon or scoop and discard the bones. If it’s cold enough out side where you are, put the pot outside to cool. If it’s cold enough the fat which will float to the top will solidify and can be easily removed with a spatula.
Now strain the stock through a sieve lined with cheese cloth. Discard all those vegetables, the flavor is now all in the stock. Add new vegetables; chopped carrots, cubed potatoes, thinly sliced celery, soup greens such as kale, collards, chopped savoy cabbage or escarole, sliced onions, fresh herbs, and last but not least, pasta.
If you have a lot of stock, it can be frozen. I save the pint and quart plastic containers from the Chinese take out. They are also useful to put chicken and meat bones so my talented cats can’t get into them. Bones are not good for kitties.
The stock is also great for making Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. You’ll need
* about 8 cups of stock. If you don’t have enough turkey from your stock, College Inn makes a very good Turkey broth but it won’t be as good as yours.
* 2 cups of Risotto or Arborio Rice
* about 3 tbsp of Olive Oil
* 3 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
* 1 pound of fresh wild mushrooms such as portobella, crimini (baby portabella) or shiitake. I like shiitake best but usually use half and half. The mushrooms should be cleaned with a soft paper towel or soft brush.
(I have a soft brush just for mushrooms. I also have a truffle slicer. 😉 )
* 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, or 1 tbsp dried
* 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, the other parsley, curly, is very rarely used in cooking. Its mostly a garnish.
* 2 large shallots chopped or a small onion
* 2 cloves of garlic, chopped.
* 1/2 cup dry white wine, something you would drink with the risotto.
* 2 tablespoons of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the broth in a sauce pan and keep it warm over low heat.
Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Fry until it just begins to color, then add the mushrooms and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons butter in a separate skillet. Soften the shallots in the butter. Add the rice and saute for a couple of minutes, stirring, so the rice becomes coated with the butter. Add the wine and bring to a boil. When it has evaporated, add one-half cup of the hot chicken stock.
Keep adding the hot broth, one-half cup at a time, to the rice. Continue until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid. The rice is done when it is creamy, but al dente.
Stir in the remaining butter, the mushrooms and the Parmigiano Reggiano. Mix gently, garnish with a few leaves of tarragon and serve.
Nov 26 2014
A dinkadoo a dinkadee a dinkadoo
Morp! Morp! Morp!
Us Scandinavian Bachelor Chefs (h/t CompoundF) frequently find ourselves in the position of needing a last minute substitute for real food because planning ahead is not one of our strengths (if it were we probably wouldn’t be Bachelors anymore).
Here’s a recipe that is not too fussy and can be thrown together at the last minute and great expense as a cheap imitation of inferior quality.
You will need-
- Ground Turkey
- Dried Cranberries
- Onion (chopped coarse)
- Garlic Powder
- Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
- An Egg
- Dry Packaged Instant Turkey Gravy
Optional (of course the more you add the better it will taste)-
- Walnuts (chopped coarse)
- Canned Mushrooms (stems and pieces, chopped coarse)
The goal is simple, to create a reasonable taste facsimile of a Turkey dinner with stuffing and gravy without days of defrosting and hours of cooking time. It is somewhat pricey as ground Turkey often costs as much as ground beef or more.
The primary problems to overcome are cohesion and dryness. I’m going to recommend what seems like a lot of fat but Turkey is quite a lean meat. I’ll be working with approximately 2 pounds of Turkey as a base (that’s how much the local Super Market puts in a package), you adjust the other ingredients for taste and volume.
The most labor intensive part of preparation is chopping the onion(s). Depending on how strong the flavor (in decreasing order- yellow, red, sweet) you’ll want to prepare about half the volume of your meat. If you use yellow and are sensitive to onions (I am) you may want to saute them a little to take some of the harshness out.
The most time consuming part is the bread. Toast it a bit (hey, if you have enough time to stale it you most likely don’t need this recipe), smear generously with butter and shake quite a bit of garlic powder on top. Cube. You need about 3/4 of the volume of your meat (6 slices or a little more). Crusty European breads work much better than Balloon breads because the goal (as with meat balls) is to lighten the texture of your finished dish.
I put the other ingredients in the bottom of the bowl with the meat on top but I don’t think it makes any difference. The important thing is not to over mix because the loaf will get gummy and dense.
A cup or more of Dried Cranberries (I like them), Onion, Garlic Toast, 4 Tbls Butter (chopped), Ground Turkey, 1 – 3 Tbls Bell’s Poultry Seasoning (the primary flavor is Sage in case you can’t find it), an Egg or 2 to bind.
Mix gently, completely, and not too long with your fingers. Now is the time to add your optional ingredients, if using Mushrooms include the liquid too.
I like loaf pans, others mound on a sheet. Grease for clean release. It leaks a bit so you’ll want a lip to catch the drip. In any event at least an hour at 325 – 350 until the internal temperature reaches the recommended level for poultry or brown on the top and gray through the thickest part.
Rest 5 – 10 minutes while you prepare the gravy, slice and serve.
Thanksgiving on a stick.
Nov 26 2014
For those of you who haven’t realized Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, snap out of it! Time to get on the road, into the grocery store and but the bird. Unless it’s fresh, that is not a frozen boulder, it’s going to take 2 – 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator. If your brining, you’ll need one that’s thawed or fresh at this stage. So. wake up, get thee to the grocery store. NOW!
For those who aren’t doing the big family bash and are spending the evening alone or with one or two others, here are a few recipes from the New York Times for a small scale Thanksgiving dinner.
If you can’t find turkey cutlets, buy a boneless turkey breast, cut into cutlets then lightly pound them into shape beneath a sheet of plastic wrap.
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
4 turkey cutlets, approximately 1 1/4 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dusting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium
1. Place the cutlets on a wooden board, and season them aggressively with salt and pepper, then lightly dust them with flour.
2. Melt the butter in a large sauté or frying pan set over medium-high heat, and when it begins to foam, add the turkey cutlets to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook, gently, for 3 minutes a side, being careful not to allow the butter to blacken
3. When the second side is just about done, pour the Marsala over the cutlets, and allow it to bubble and combine with the butter. Now do the same with a splash or two of the chicken stock. Cook in the pan for 2 or 3 minutes more.
YIELD: 2 servings
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes
1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 green leaf lettuce leaves, shredded
1 leaf of a fennel bulb, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup arborio rice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl, and pour hot water over them. Allow them to steep for 20 minutes, then squeeze them out and mince. Reserve the mushroom broth for another purpose.
2. Put four cups of water in a pot, and set it over high heat to boil. Keep it hot.
3. In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, melt 5 tablespoons butter and when it foams, cook the lettuce and fennel until soft. Lift them out of the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of butter if necessary, and cook the onion until translucent. Add the rice, and stir until it is glistening and hot.
4. Add a cup of the hot water to the mixture, and stir it until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 5 minutes. Add another cup of the water, and stir again until it is absorbed. Add the mushrooms, and stir again, then add a pinch of salt and another half cup of the hot water. When the liquid has been absorbed, taste the rice to see if the grains offer the slightest resistance to your teeth. If not, add the rest of the water, and stir again to combine.
5. Stir in the lettuce, the fennel, the Parmesan and any remaining butter, then grate nutmeg generously over the mixture.
YIELD 2 servings
TOTAL TIME 40 minutes
3/4 pound fresh brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or bacon fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Red-pepper flakes to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400. Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts, and remove all yellowing exterior leaves. Put the sprouts in a large bowl, and toss with the oil or bacon fat, and season well with salt and pepper.
2. Pour the sprouts onto a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to brown the vegetables evenly, until crisp on the outside and tender within. Sprinkle a little more salt on them and, if you like, red-pepper flakes.
YIELD 2 servings
All recipes are easily doubled.
Nov 24 2014
For the more daring and adventurous cooks
Republished from November 23, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.
By now you should have defrosted that frozen turkey and it should be resting comfortably in the back of you refrigerator. If you haven’t, getteth your butt to the grocery store and buy a fresh one because even if you start defrosting today, your bird might not be defrosted in time. I discussed the how to cook your bird to perfection in a conventional oven, now for a method that’s a little daring, deep frying.
Alton Brown, is one of my favorite TV cooks. Good Eats funny and informative, plus, his recipes are easy and edible. I’ve done fried turkey and while I don’t recommend it for health reasons, once a year probably wont hurt. Alton’s “how to” videos are a must watch on safety tips, how to choose a turkey fryer, equipment and, finally, cooking directions. If you decide to try this, please follow all directions carefully and take all the safety precautions.
Below the fold are recipes and more safety tips.