Tag Archives: turkey

Day 5: Radically Simple Countdown to Christmas

20 Dec

12-20-2013 02;50;42PMThis is one of the simplest, most festive dishes I know. It can be prepped and cooked in less than one hour yet looks like you’ve been fussing all day. This turkey roast is nothing more than a boned breast half, flattened slightly, so that it can be filled, rolled and tied. Prosciutto, fresh sage, and prunes perfume the dish and feel like Christmas to me. Be sure to serve it with a bowl of my (now famous) sweet potato puree whirled with fresh ginger and orange. A grand cru Beaujolais would be just the thing to drink.

Rolled-and-Tied Turkey Roast with Prosciutto, Prunes & Sage
2-1/2 pound turkey roast (boned half-breast, skin on)
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
10 large pitted prunes
1/4 cup pine nuts
12 large fresh sage leaves
12 medium-large shallots, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a mallet, flatten the turkey (skin side down) to 1-inch thickness. Cover evenly with overlapping slices of prosciutto. Arrange the prunes in a tight row down the center. Top with pine nuts and make a row of 6 sage leaves on top. Roll up tightly. Season with salt and pepper. Tie with string at 1-inch intervals and tuck 6 sage leaves under the string. Place the turkey and shallots in a small roasting pan. Drizzle with the oil. Roast 45 minutes until cooked through but still moist. Transfer the turkey and shallots to a board and tent with foil. Pour the broth and wine into the pan. Place on the stovetop and boil, scraping up browned bits, until syrupy, 3 minutes. Strain into a saucepan. Whisk in the butter and cook 1 minute.  Remove string from the turkey, thickly slice. Serve with the shallots and pan sauce. Serves 6

Sweet Potato Puree with Fresh Ginger & Orange
This is fat-free but tastes very rich all the same. For a bit more intrigue, spice it up with a pinch of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cardamom — or all three.

4 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds
2 juice oranges
3-inch piece fresh ginger

Scrub the potatoes but do not peel. Place in a large pot with water to cover. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 50 minutes or until very soft. Meanwhile, grate the zest of the oranges to get 1 teaspoon. Squeeze the orange to get 2/3 cup juice. Drain the potatoes and peel when cool enough to handle. Cut into large chunks and place in bowl of food processor.  Mince the ginger to get 1/4 cup. Add to the processor with the orange zest and juice. Process until very smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and reheat, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 6

A Happy Thanksgiving to All

21 Nov

It’s been awhile since you’ve heard recipe news from me. As you know, I’ve been cooking and supervising hundreds of volunteers to continue feeding those-in-need from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It is definitely a time to give thanks: For me personally, the thanks come from the opportunity to serve. The food maven himself, Arthur Schwartz, came to help yesterday and will be there in our satellite kitchen at Congregation Beth Elohim today. His tasks included peeling eggs (20 dozen of them!) and sautéing 30 pounds of onions until caramelized. They are for the homemade bread stuffing we will make for our pre-Thanksgiving meals. Our goal is 1500 sandwiches and 250 hot lunches – roast chicken, stuffing, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce and “dinner” rolls. Fresh apple slices, too. Anne Hathaway and her new husband came to visit us at the shul the other day – they were heartened by the work that was taking place.

That said, here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, for it is a time when simplicity might be most appreciated. I, too, will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal for a dozen or so of our family and friends, and then again on Saturday. And a nice invitation just came our way – a dinner of leftovers on Friday night at a neighbor’s home. I adore leftovers more than you can imagine. In addition to the radically simple recipes below, you might enjoy my refreshing cranberry granita – yes, made from a wobbly block of leftover cranberry sauce – complete with its ridges.

Below you’ll also find some wine suggestions from my favorite wine gal, Carol Berman (classinaglasswine.com), who says, “the Thanksgiving feast is filled with many flavors, which run from savory to sweet. I look to wines that simply harmonize with them and sway with the music of the meal. These are my Thanksgiving picks for 2012. Look for current vintages, although these all age gracefully and sell for less than $25.00.”

Paumanok Vineyards, Riesling, North Fork, Long Island, NY
Domaine des Terres Dorées, Beaujolais, L’Ancien, France
Montinore Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Oregon
Tenuta Pederzana, Lambrusco Grasparossa, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Juicy Turkey Breast with Sausage, Fennel & Golden Raisins (adapted from Radically Simple)

This really elegant recipe is a cinch to make and looks like an elaborate French “ballontine.” Have the butcher bone the breast, leaving the breast halves attached and the skin on. This is a perfect Thanksgiving recipe for six, but often I roast turkey thighs that are marinated in garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary and white wine so that we can all enjoy some dark meat, too. Stunning and simple.

12 scallions, white and green parts separated
¾ pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casing
½ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons fennel seed
3-pound boneless whole fresh turkey breast, with skin
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the scallion greens in a row on a broiler pan. Mince the white parts of the scallions and combine with the sausage, raisins and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the fennel seeds. Sprinkle the turkey (skin side down) with salt and pepper. Spoon a line of sausage mixture down the center. Starting at one long side, roll up tightly to enclose the filling. Tie with string at 1-inch intervals. Place the turkey on the scallions and brush with the oil. Sprinkle with the remaining fennel seeds and salt. Roast 1-1/2 hours, basting with 1 cup broth, until the stuffing reaches 155 degrees. Transfer turkey to a platter. Place the pan atop the burners. Add remaining broth. Boil, scraping up browned bits, 5 minutes; strain. Remove string from the turkey; thickly slice. Drizzle with the pan sauce. Serves 6

Jane Brody’s Brussels Sprouts

Jane Brody, the personal health columnist for the New York Times since 1975, is my neighbor in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She is crazy about Brussels sprouts and gave me her recipe to include in my book, Radically Simple. It is her adaptation of a recipe from the Bear Café in Woodstock, New York. I love how recipes travel around.

½ cup pecan halves
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toast the pecans in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Set aside. Add the Brussels sprouts to the boiling water and cook 5 minutes. Drain well; cut each in half through the stem end. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over high heat until golden, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts and cook until tender and browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Break the toasted pecans in half and sprinkle over the Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6

Leftover- Cranberry Sauce- Granita

This is one of my favorite inventions! After (or before) Thanksgiving you can transform a can, or two, of jellied cranberry sauce into an amazing granita — or sorbet. Garnish with fresh raspberries or pomegranate seeds. If you don’t have an ice cream maker to make sorbet, you can prepare this as a granita by freezing the mixture and stirring it with a fork until slushy.

Grated zest and juice of 3 large lemons
Grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges
2/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces jellied cranberry sauce

Combine the lemon zest, ½ cup lemon juice, orange zest, and ½ cup orange juice in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, vanilla and 2-1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Spoon the cranberry sauce, in large pieces, into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and whisk until melted and smooth. Cool, and then chill well. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 8

Today the Stuffing…

18 Nov

Cornbread, Bacon & Shiitake Stuffing. Photographer: Terry Brennan.

Thanksgiving stuffing, also known as “dressing” (which always perplexed me), is one of my favorite parts of the meal. I grew up with Pepperidge Farm packaged “croutons” mixed with lots of butter and caramelized onions and I loved it when my mother baked it in a casserole and the topping got all brown and crispy. It is one of those childhood taste memories which I cling to, still. But I offer you a slightly more upscale, and definitely more interesting stuffing this year: Cornbread, Bacon & Shiitake Stuffing. It is meant to accompany almost any turkey flavor profile or cooking technique, but has real character of its own. It might seem labor intensive to make your own cornbread, but this recipe is speedy and can be done way ahead of time and frozen, if you wish. I hardly ever freeze anything but please feel free — especially if it’s going to keep the stress level down. In that spirit, I would like to offer the concept of Mindful-Based Stress Reduction and specifically apply it your Thanksgiving preparations. You should make the cornbread at least 1 to 2 days before using as it’s best if it’s a bit dry to better absorb all the delicious juices. You can use an equal amount (16 ounces) of store-bought cornbread or corn muffins, but the result will be sweeter. The stuffing itself can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Cornbread, Bacon & Shiitake Stuffing

Cornbread
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal, fine or medium
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 extra-large egg, beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Stuffing
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
2 cups chicken stock

To make the cornbread:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in milk, egg, and butter. Stir well and pour into well-oiled 8-inch square pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until just firm. Let cool.

For the stuffing:  Heat oil in a 6-quart pot. Add onions and celery and cook 15 minutes over high heat, stirring, until softened and golden brown. Add rosemary, bacon, and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes until mushrooms are soft and bacon is cooked. Cut cornbread into 1/2-inch pieces and add to pot. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Whisk together eggs and stock; pour over cornbread mixture and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and serve. Serves 8

Today the stuffing, tomorrow the sweet potatoes:  Three fab recipes!  Stay tuned.

Thanksgiving Countdown 2011

17 Nov

Photo Credit: Terry Brennan

Over the years I have created dozens and dozens of Thanksgiving recipes for Bon Appetit, cover stories for Real Food, and once concocted a 15-ingredient Thanksgiving dinner feature for Newsday. Yes, 15 ingredients for the entire meal!  One day I’ll share that with you. But today I begin a seven-day countdown to America’s finest holiday, the one we will all be sharing next week. What a lovely notion. And while today, the 3rd Thursday of November is known around the world as Beaujolais Nouveau day, and next Thursday is Thanksgiving day, it’s not a bad idea, at all, to serve the former with the latter.

Thanksgiving is one holiday that begs for you to be at the table — not in the kitchen — so some stealth planning and creativity are required. Every dish of my colorful, flavor-packed menu can be done ahead. You’ll find some new techniques; a few riffs on Thanksgiving classics — a sweet potato-and-pear gratin, cornbread-bacon-shiitake stuffing, two-minute cranberry-apple-lemon relish (addictive!), and a creamy pumpkin cheesecake “your way.”

If you have not already decided how to cook your bird, I present an idea that is not so much radically simple as it is radically delicious. It may be one of the longer recipes I’ve ever created, Double Crispy Roast Turkey in Apple Cider Brine with Do-Ahead Apple Cider-Tarragon Gravy, but the ultimate benefit may be that it requires less than 3 hours in the oven! My new technique of one-day brining and one-day “dry aging” in the fridge results in succulent, tender flesh and crackling, crispy turkey skin. It’s a cinch to do and requires no basting. Even before your pan juices are ready, an apple cider sauce base is waiting for you, ready to amalgamate into a gorgeous turkey gravy.  And an extra bonus is that the turkey rests on a bed of scallions that delicately flavors the sauce and also prevents the turkey from sticking! Here you go:

15-pound fresh turkey (not brined)
3-1/2 cups fresh apple cider (from the refrigerated case)
1 cup kosher salt
12 cups water
3 large cloves garlic
2 large bunches scallions
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 small bunch fresh tarragon

Wash turkey; remove giblets. In a very large pot, combine 2 cups apple cider, salt and water. Add 2 cloves garlic, pushed through a press. Stir until salt is dissolved. Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in brine. Add water to cover the turkey, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate 16 to 24 hours. Remove from brine and pat very dry. Place turkey on a rack on a platter (to catch drippings) and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Trim scallions and place side by side on a large, shallow roasting pan. Place turkey on scallions. Roast 2-3/4 hours until done, tipping turkey into pan twice while roasting to remove juices. Meanwhile, put 1-1/2 cups apple cider, chicken broth, remaining garlic clove, pushed through a press, and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until reduced to 1 cup. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water and whisk into saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon and set aside.

Transfer turkey to large cutting board. Pour pan juices into a large measuring cup; let rest 5 minutes and remove fat from top using a spoon.  Slowly add pan juices, 1/4 cup at a time, to simmering apple cider reduction to achieve a well-balanced gravy, tasting as you go and keeping at a simmer until desired flavor is achieved. Whisking constantly, cook 5 minutes until thickened. Carve turkey and garnish with tarragon. Serve with gravy.  Serves 8

Today the turkey, tomorrow the stuffing.

A Radical Way to Make Turkey

24 Nov

Photo Credit: Duke and Sarge

This is radical: A deconstructed holiday bird featuring white and dark meat that roasts in just 1-1/4 hours!  The flesh stays ultra-moist and flavorful because of its overnight immersion in wine and brine.  Smaller, flatter pieces allow faster browning and less cooking time.  It is perfumed with bay leaves, fresh or dried, and a bit of aromatic oregano which imparts a revelatory herb-y aroma, the sine qua non of Thanksgiving smells.  This is the perfect bird for those who:  have only one oven; have no more than eight friends; who love to try new techniques; and for those who like to break with tradition.  It is also a recipe for those who like to give themselves a break!  There is little fussing or guess work in determining how the white meat will stay juicy and the dark meat thoroughly cooked.  You begin with a total of 8 pounds of raw turkey (breasts and thighs only) which will amply fill your large turkey platter. Another bonus?  There is little last-minute carving to do.

So begin the process today.  Select your turkey parts at the butcher or grocery.  Before you go to bed, submerge the turkey in a very large pot (make sure it fits in your fridge) filled with wine-and-brine (see below).  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  This new technique will ensure a good night’s sleep and liberate both you, and your oven, on the big day.

You might want to serve this year’s turkey with Marilyn Monroe’s recently-revealed stuffing recipe, my spiced cranberry chutney, Joan Hamburg’s amazing Ritz Cracker Stuffing (see The Food Maven’s website), or the world’s simplest sweet potato puree accented with orange and fresh ginger (sssshhhh….it’s fat free).

And…if you’re interested in trying something new, have the following ingredients in your kitchen tomorrow morning: 4 pounds sweet potatoes, large container sour cream, large chunk of extra-sharp white cheddar, curry powder, ground cumin, cinnamon and ginger and stay tuned!


Wined-and-Brined Turkey with Bay Leaves

2 cups dry white wine
2 large turkey breast halves, about 2-1/2 pounds each
2 very large turkey thighs, about 1-1/2 pounds each
16 fresh or dried bay leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons best-quality dried oregano leaves

Combine the wine, 6 cups water, and 1/2 cup kosher salt in a very large pot.  Submerge the turkey pieces.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Remove the turkey from the brine; pat dry.  Scatter the bay leaves in a large shallow roasting pan.  Place the turkey on top.  Combine the oil and garlic pushed through a press in a cup.  Rub the garlic oil into the turkey.   Sprinkle with the oregano, salt, and pepper.  Roast the turkey, skin side up for 45 minutes.  Turn the pieces over and roast 35 minutes longer, until cooked through.  Transfer the turkey, skin side up, to a cutting board.  Pour 1 cup boiling water into the pan, scraping up the browned bits; strain through a sieve.  Carve the turkey and serve with the pan juices.  Serves 8

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