Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey 1,000 Ways

(I used Elise's Mom's idea, from Simply Recipes, and cooked the bird breast-side down for most of it's cooking time.  The breast meat stayed really moist.  Unfortunately, flipping it over to brown the top skin, I split it.  Fortunately, that had absolutely nothing to do with the taste!)

Okay, it's only three ways so far: herb roasted, in a pasta dish, and in a Mexican-inspired recipe.  But so far I'm having fun with this.  I'll keep going until my husband says he's had  enough.  (On deck: turkey soup, turkey croquettes, and turkey stromboli.  Why not?)

We had a 16.34 pound turkey for Thanksgiving...for the two of us.  We had asked the farm for a 12-14 lb (preferably in the lower range) bird, and we didn't realize they'd given us the wrong one until it was two days too late to do anything about it.  One whole breast is frozen and awaiting future dinners, as is about three cups of shredded meat.  The rest, I've been playing with to see if I could avoid rapid turkey overload. 

All of the recipes have been inspired by internet searches, many from Rachael Ray's leftover ideas.  But they're all originals, and so far, so good!

Turkey-Pancetta Pasta
by Me  (serves about 6)

12 oz. whole wheat rotini pasta, or other short cut, cooked til barely al dente, drained
2 oz pancetta, cubed, small
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp+ 1 tsp olive oil, divided (depending on how much fat the pancetta renders)
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup turkey or chicken broth , divided
1 1/2 cups chopped turkey
1 1/2 cups chopped green beans (ours were leftover; blanch if fresh)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
zest of one lemon
1/3 c parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350.
1.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil and the pancetta, and cook until almost crisp, about 4 minutes.  Add the shallot, garlic, and sage, and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is softened, about 4 minutes.  If the pan doesn't have at least a tablespoon of oil, add olive oil.  Sprinkle over flour and stir, cooking for about 1 minute. 

2.  Spoon in a 1/2 cup of broth; stir until it forms a very loose "paste."  Add another 1/2 cup of the broth, stir, and bring to a bubble.  Cook about 2 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.  Add the chopped turkey and the green beans, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat.

3.  Stir the ricotta cheese and lemon zest into the turkey mixture, then stir in the pasta.  Stir well to combine.  If it seems a bit dry, mix in some of the remaining broth.  Sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheese.  Bake 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the dish is hot through, but the cheese is not browned.  You don't want it to dry out.

Turkey Mexican Lasagna
by Me  (serves about 6)

1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tbsp butter (you could use all canola...I had this around waiting to be used up)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped small
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
heaped tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
juice of half a lime
1 1/2 cups chopped turkey
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
6 6-inch flour tortillas, cut into sixths
2 1/2  tbsp chopped green onions
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup tomatillo salsa,divided

Preheat oven to 350.  Oil an 11 x 7 baking dish.
1.  Heat canola oil  (and butter, if using) in a large skillet over medium-low.  Add onion and saute until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in cumin, chili powder, and oregano; cook one minute. 

2.  Stir in flour, cook one minute.  Add 1/2 cup turkey broth and stir until flour is incorporated into the broth, then add rest of broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, 1/4 cup salsa, turkey, beans.

3.  Coat the bottom of the baking dish with about 1/4 cup tomatillo salsa.  Layer the tortilla wedges so they cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer.  Spoon over half of the turkey mixture, sprinkle over 1 tbsp green onions, and 3/4 cup of cheese.  Repeat tortilla, turkey, onion, and cheese layer.  Add  a final layer of tortillas to the top; spread the remaining salsa over them, and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly.  Remove from oven, top with green onions.  Let sit about 10 minutes before cutting.

Remind me to tell you about this one, too.  It's not turkey, but it could be!  This one is a butternut squash, red onion, walnut and bleu cheese crostata.  I am a little bit in love with it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hello, Beautiful!

Alas, I don't have a picture of this one.  It was impromptu, and wasn't actually made to be eaten immediately.  It was made to keep me awake and on my feet during a migraine that I refused to let win.  It worked.  And, oh, what a good way to beat a migraine.  The smells...just lovely.  Had it for lunch today.  Trust me, this one is greater than the simple sum of its parts.

 Autumn Minestrone
by Me

2 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped onion
2 tsp chopped garlic
hefty pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 c chopped celery
2 cups cubed, peeled rutabaga
1-2 cups chopped carrot (I went with more)
6 thyme sprigs
1-2 tsp chopped sage (some people find this one too strong, so maybe err on the side of caution)
bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup vermouth
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
rind of a piece of parmigiano (you could leave this out...but don't)
4-5 cups thinly sliced kale or other sturdy green
1 peeled, diced delicata squash, about 3 cups (could use butternut)

1.  Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion through bay leaf.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until vegetables start to get tender.  (For a deeper flavor, turn the heat up to medium-high and let the vegetables brown a little bit before step two.)

2.  Add the vermouth; cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the pan.  When it is almost evaporated/absorbed, add the broth and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the kale and parmigiano.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3.  Add the squash, simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender but not mushy.  Fish out the thyme stems and bay leaf, and serve.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Summer's End

Surprise!  You missed us when you grabbed the others!
Pizza with homemade dough and sauce and garden grown arugula. Yum!
Tomatillo and Pepper Salsa
Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
Beer Braised Pork with Polenta and Spicy Cabbage Apple Slaw

I've been doing a little cooking lately... 

It's that time of year again, when being outside in the garden is no longer an option, especially now that I've cleaned it out, composted it, and put it to bed for the season as of today.  It wasn't a bad haul for a garden that hadn't really been tended for a while.  I got about a pound of tomatillos, four cups of arugula in varying leaf sizes, a few stray tomatoes, and some potatoes that I didn't find when I harvested their brethren.  There were also some raspberries (and some still to ripen, if they beat the race with the weather) and some sorrel leaves.  The Lacinato and Curly Kale will be around for a month or so...if I don't devour it sooner.

There are some greens under row covers, and the peas are doing their best to mature in time.  The slugs have had a field day with them.  Alas, for the slugs anyway, there's no where left to hide now that the garden's cleaned up.  (Cue evil laugh track here.)

There will be herbs like parsley, dill, sage, thyme, and rosemary for a few weeks yet, and then one by one they'll drop off.  I'll be able to harvest sparingly from the woodier ones all winter, but I tend to go easy on them since I want them to come back in the spring.

We ate well today in the midst of all of the raking, shoveling, and ripping out of plants.  Lunch was the pizza, with a dough recipe from Giada De Laurentiis that I found on Epicurious and a roasted tomato sauce that I got from my friend Winter.  It was lovely.  So lovely, we might have eaten the whole thing...but I'm not telling for sure so you can think what you want. 

Dinner was Black Bean-Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa.  I wanted to make chicken stock, so I simmered a whole chicken until done, skinned it, shredded the meat (most went in the freezer) and added the bones back to do some more simmering.  I mixed the chicken with black beans, rolled the mix in corn tortillas, and smothered it with tomatillo salsa (recipe to follow) and cheese.  Baked at 350 for about 1/2 hour, it was a nice way to end the day (though my husband would think it nicer if the Patriots had actually won).  We definitely did eat all of those, hence no pictures.  (Cue oink here.)

Tomatillo Salsa
by Me

1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 green onions
1 poblano pepper
2 Anaheim chiles
1 jalapeno
1 tbsp canola
salt, to taste
lime juice, optional

1.  Preheat grill to high.  Place all peppers and the green onions directly on the grill.  Use a vegetable grill plate or make a foil packet for the tomatillos; place on grill.
2.  Once onions are somewhat charred, move them on top of the tomatillos.  Let the skin of the peppers get blackened and blistered.  Remove to a container, cover, and let steam until cool enough to handle.  Cook the tomatillos until very soft and some are starting to burst.
3.  Chop the green onions and put in food processor.  Skin and seed the peppers, add to food processor.  Scrape in tomatillos and any juice.  Add oil and salt, and blend to desired consistency.  Stir in lime juice, if desired.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

That winter thing

It's definitely going to do the winter thing here this year. Not that I really thought it wouldn't...but the warmer temps we've had until recently made me irrationally hopeful. The crazy storm that dumped a foot of snow in Western Massachusetts and other places, along with mornings in the low to mid-30's, have brought me back to reality. That reality means soup.

Tonight's soup was a variation on one I've made often. It's an escarole and bean concoction that I remember my mom making occasionally. I LOVE escarole. There's something wonderful about it's rather squeaky texture and earthy, herby bitterness that makes me happy. And unlike most lettuces, which it is similar to in raw texture, escarole is great raw and cooked. I can't say I've ever enjoyed cooked lettuce. It tastes rotten to me. Anyway, back to dinner.

I decided to combine some flavors I've been reading about in Melissa Clark's new book, Cook This Now. (Love her writing. I'm most happy about having discovered her and Nigel Slater this year.) The resulting soup was great; warming, hearty but not heavy, and perfect for dipping bread into the broth.

Escarole and Bean Soup with Pancetta
By Me

3 tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup pancetta, diced small
4-6 anchovies
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped into small-ish pieces
Scant tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Scant tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups beans (I used cranberry beans I had in the freezer, but any white and/or creamy mild bean will work, like canelinni...which I suddenly can't remember how to spell...)
1 large head escarole, chopped
Parmigiano cheese for topping

1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and browned. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon; reserve.
2. Add the anchovies to the oil on the pot and stir until they "melt" into the oil, about 1 minute. Add the garlic through parsley, a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about five minutes.
3. Add the wine or vermouth and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about two minutes.
4. Add 6 cups of the broth and the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer about five minutes. Taste the broth and adjust gently for seasoning. Add the escarole and stir until just wilted, (add more broth now if you think you need it) taste again for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper as necessary. Add the pancetta back to the soup.
5. Ladle into bowls, and top with cheese, if desired.