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.

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