Sunday, 30 September 2012

Chestnut and Cranberry stuffed Turkey Breast

If you have a small group for Thanksgiving a great alternative to preparing a whole bird is to stuff a turkey breast or a few turkey thighs. I have even prepared one of each to satisfy the people who prefer the white and dark meat. This is also a nice way to prepare the meat and stuffing a week or two before and then freeze it until you are ready to have your dinner.  You can easily make the stuffing with your favourite ingredients to make this a family favourite. I like it for me and Big Pete because when there is just two of us it is a perfect size for dinner and leftovers! 

You will need:

  • 1 turkey breast- butterflied
  • 4 slices good quality bacon or sausages (I would use fresh Italian sausages
  • 6 slices good quality white bread (not WonderBread )
  • 6-8 button mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme- chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary-chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (preferably flat not curly)
  • 1/2 cup cooked chestnuts (approx 6-8 chestnuts)
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • olive oil for frying onions
  • 3 green onions/scallions- chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries- chopped 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp dried poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pancetta to cover the turkey.
  • onions and garlic to form a bed under the turkey

Step 1: Start with a good quality turkey breast. It is expensive but, it goes a long way to feed a crowd or a small gathering will have decent leftovers. Butterfly the turkey to make it as uniform as possible in order to stuff and roll.

Step 2: chop bacon slices and fry until cooked and almost to the crispy stage. No wobbly fat should remain. Chop to smaller pieces.

Step 3: chop cooked chestnuts. I buy them when I see them in the market then I bake them in the oven, peel them and freeze them for when I want them. I have just thawed and chopped.

Step 4: chop onion and fry in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Always season your food at every stage to make it flavourful. Add chopped mushrooms and  cook until water has evaporated and mushrooms are starting to brown.

Step 5: chop bread into cubes removing crusts. Do not buy WonderBread. Use a white bread with a bit of substance. I have used Cobbs  white Bread, it has no artificial ingredients and has a bit of chew to it. I have toasted it in a 350 degree oven for approx 15 minutes to dry it out. Add the toasted bread and bacon bits to a large bowl.

Step 6: add cooked onions and mushrooms, chopped chestnuts, chopped green onions to bowl.

Step 7: add chopped cranberries, parsley, thyme, rosemary,eggs, apple juice,milk and dried spices. Let liquids absorb into bread 20 minutes. You can also fry a bit to taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Step 8: sprinkle a bit more parsley on the turkey as well as salt and pepper.

Step 9: add the stuffing and get someone to help you roll up and tie the turkey to contain the stuffing. At this stage you can wrap and freeze it or roast it in the oven. I always make the roll a week or two before I serve it so that I have an easy day just preparing the vegetables and dessert.

Step 10: in a roasting pan add some olive oil and a couple of chopped onions, a few cloves of garlic and you can also roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnip or whatever root vegetables you like.

Step 11: I have added some slices of pancetta to the top of the turkey breast to keep it moist while roasting. Pancetta is an un-smoked bacon. I roast the turkey for 2 hours at 375 degrees F. I removed the pancetta after the first hour to let the turkey develop a nice brown top. I also sprinkle the skin with flakes of salt to get nice and crispy. If the pan gets too dry at any point you can add a splash of apple juice to deglaze and prevent burning.

Step 12: once done allow to rest at least 15 minutes before removing twine and slicing.

You can make a nice pan gravy and serve with your favourite veggies to make the perfect dinner!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Turkey Steaks with white wine mushroom pan sauce

 When you see turkey in the market why not pick it up? Turkey make a nice alternative to chicken and everyone loves it. This is quickly cooked and then a simple sauce is made in the same pan to top.

You will need:

  • 4 pieces of turkey breast
  • salt/pepper - to your taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  •  1-2 cups sliced mushrooms (any kind)

Step 1: place turkey on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, mustard and fresh thyme leaves. Let sit to marinate 30 minutes in fridge.

Step 2: add more olive oil to hot pan and saute approx 4 minutes on each side. 

Step 3: once browned and cooked remove from pan.

Step 4: add a bit more olive oil and the sliced mushrooms to the same pan and saute until browned around the edges. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Step 5: once the mushrooms are dry and browned slightly add the white wine and butter. Cook for 1 minute and then add the turkey back to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes more until the sauce has reduced slightly.

I have served with the sauce and mushrooms on top. I have also cooked asparagus and broccoli spears in a pan with 2 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp olive oil. I cover the pan and wait until I can hear that the water has evaporated and the oil is starting to fry the vegetables. This way I have steamed them for a few minutes and then I serve with a squeeze of lemon and salt/pepper.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Grilled Salmon with Miso Glaze

This is another easy grilled salmon marinated and served with a quick Miso Glaze. 
This my idea of fast food on a busy night.

You will need:

Miso Glaze
  • 2 pieces of salmon (wild if you can get it)
  • 2 tbsp miso paste 
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweetened Sake- avail in any grocery store)
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper

Step 1: add all ingredients to a small pan and on medium heat stir until miso is dissolved and ingredients are incorporated. 

Step 2: drizzle fish with olive oil, a bit of grated lemon zest and fresh pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes before grilling fish.

Step 3: heat grill to medium/high heat. Put fish on hot grill with the skin side down and close lid. Grill for 4 minutes until skin is crispy and easy lifts. Flip and grill for 2 more minutes. Serve with more glaze and your favourite grilled veggies. I have partially cooked some carrots and then tossed in olive oil. I grilled the asparagus and carrots along with the fish. I have also skewered some shrimp and brushed with the same glaze. The timing was the same for all items so it made for a quick dinner.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Maple Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie

Maple syrup bacon bits on top of a bourbon pecan pie, served with bourbon whipped cream. It's rich and decadent and the sweet and salty bacon bits on top go so well with the smooth sweetened cream and the flaky pastry. It might sound crazy but, you have to try it. 

You will need:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour (all purpose or cake & pastry flour)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (cubed and frozen)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 4-6 tbsp iced cold water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 eggs - room temperature
  • 2 tbsp best quality bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 6 slices best quality bacon- this is where you buy the special bacon from a great market that makes their own (I hate to continually say it Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, BC)
  •  1/4 cup maple syrup

 Bourbon Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (small container) whipping cream
  • 2-3 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp bourbon (I make my own bourbon vanilla so I used that- you just take a bottle of bourbon and split some vanilla beans & leave it. Lasts forever.

Use good bourbon and real maple syrup for the best results.

Step 1: in a food processor prepare pie crust. Add flour, salt and vanilla sugar. Pulse a few times. Add a stick of butter that has been cubed and frozen for 30 minutes. Pulse 10 times. Add 4 tbsp of ice water and pulse 5 times. If it needs the additional cold water add it and pulse 2 more times. It should look crumbly but, if you pinch it in your hands it will hold together. Do not over mix the dough to keep it nice and flaky. Pull everything out of the processor and quickly form a ball and wrap in plastic. Keep in fridge at least 30 minutes while you prepare the filling and topping.

Step 2: in a small pot or in the microwave melt the butter and the brown sugar until smooth and dissolved. Takes like a minute.

Step 3: in a bowl add the ingredients for the filling. Add the eggs, maple syrup, bourbon, salt (I used Woodford Reserve) and vanilla (I had made some vanilla bourbon so I used that ) Whisk to make sure eggs get incorporated. Add the slightly cooled butter and brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add pecans stir and set aside.

Step 4: Take out pie dough from fridge. Roll out with a bit of flour to avoid sticking to rolling pin or counter. Roll to slightly larger than pie plate. I like glass because you can cut on it and it will not ruin the pan. It also cooks well and you can see if the bottom of the crust is browned and done. I have folded over the excess dough and created a basic crimped crust. Put crust in freezer for 30 minutes before baking.

Step 5: pour pie filling in frozen crust and place on sheet to avoid spills. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Watch it in the last 10 minutes to prevent burning if your oven bakes too hot.

Once baked remove to cool. I like this pie warm but, you can also eat it completely cooled if you prefer.

Step 6: whip cream with vanilla and sugar to make stiff peaks. You can also add 1 tsp of powdered milk to keep the whipping cream from separating in the fridge. The dried milk stabilizes the cream but, if you don't have it you can always re-whip it slightly when you are ready to serve.

Fry your bacon on medium to low to avoid burning. I like it to be well cooked but, just before becoming  crispy. Once it is a minute before being done add the maple syrup and cook for a minute to coat bacon and get sticky. Drain on paper towel and quickly remove to another bowl or the bacon will cool and stick to the paper towels. I like the bacon to be sticky and chewy.

 slice and serve with sweet cream!!