Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Maybe its the “Minnesota” in me, but in the midst of a winter deep freeze there’s nothing I like more than a hot bowl of homemade chili or soup. But in this latest plunge of cold air, I’ve decided to deviate from my old standby’s of a tomato-based chili or a variation on chicken vegetable soup and instead decided to Go Green.   Enter fresh tomatillos, poblano peppers, cilantro, celery…. and a frozen leftover half of Thanksgiving turkey (no, it wasn’t green).

The recipe is an adaptation of Joy of Cooking’s “Chicken Chili Verde” with homemade diced, roasted poblano peppers and homemade turkey stock/diced turkey meat instead of chicken. The result is a zesty and flavorful chili packing a little heat from the jalepeno and poblano peppers.  The medley of cilantro, lime, tomatillos, garlic and cumin cries out for some salty tortilla chips or a bed of steamy white rice. Incredibly delicious and healthy too.

Turkey Chili Verde

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

6 medium fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced

1 bunch of cilantro chopped

3 poblano peppers roasted, peeled and diced

1 finely chopped jalepeno pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 cups turkey or chicken stock

3 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

(1) Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or soup pot until tender. Add dry spices and cook an additional minute.

(2) Add tomatillos, peppers and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes uncovered.

(3) Add chicken, cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice. Simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes until heated through.  Add salt to taste.

(4) Serve over tortilla chips or white rice or eat alone.

If you want to get extra fancy, try making your own chicken/turkey stock at the outset using the carcass of your frozen or freshly leftover bird.  And also try roasting your poblano peppers directly over open flame on your gas range if you have one!


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Turkey is celebration food. And this weekend I had much to celebrate, including a new kitchen!  Beautiful granite countertops, stainless appliances, a gas range — and a dishwasher! — make this a wonderful place to cook a Thanksgiving meal.  And my 12-pound, free-range turkey from Whole Foods did not disappoint: the meat was flavorful and moist, the skin golden crisp.

I stuffed my bird with two whole lemons, garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, green onion, and parsley.  For beneath the skin, I created a rub of sea salt, cracked pepper, sage, oregano, thyme and garlic.  And in an unusual twist, I took a page out of my mother’s cookbook and covered the bird in cheesecloth soaked in a butter, white wine, orange juice glaze.

The cloth kept the skin infused with flavor as I continued to moisten/baste it every 30 minutes or so. Parts of it did turn dark brown, and I was concerned about it burning, but it didn’t matter.  About 2 hours into the roasting, I removed the cloth and let the skin get crispy. The result was amazing.

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turkeymeatloafThanksgiving may be over, turkey unstuffed and carved, but I can’t get enough of that bird!  While my leftovers age in the freezer, I went for the fresh ground stuff to make this killer meatloaf.

Chopped sundried tomatoes add tang to each bite and complement the ketchup on top, which I must say works well despite my initial skepticism.  The meat is surprisingly moist and tender for ground white-meat turkey, which often has a tendency to dry out. I added minced white mushrooms and fresh herbs sauteed in olive oil to help the moisture factor, and baked it for exactly 50 minutes.

Wonderful flavor — and perfect with some roasted carrots and parsnips which you can lightly oil, salt and pepper and toss in the pan with about 15 minutes to go. Couldn’t be easier.

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Several months ago, I smoked a turkey and froze the leftovers. Tonight, I used the last ration from my freezer in this innovative take on Turkey Tetrazzini by Tyler Florence.  No heavy cream or cheese here. Just an incredibly savory and lightly creamy sauce with tender mushrooms, sweet peas, fresh herbs and a sprinkle of Cabot extra sharp cheddar on top.

One pound of white button mushrooms is sauteed in garlic, shallots, fresh parsley, bay leaves, thyme, lemon zest and olive oil. Then, they are tossed in a roux of chicken stock, milk, butter and flour.  I added about four cups of diced, smoked turkey, two cups of peas, and mixed with one package of egg noodles.

The cheddar and bread crumbs meld to create a crispy deliciousness on top of this casserole of pure comfort.

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It’s still summer and certainly no time to be roasting a turkey — that’s why my dad and I decided to smoke one outside last weekend. If you’ve never had smoked turkey breast (not the deli meat kind – but smoked on the bone), you’re missing out. It is an intensely flavorful and moist preparation and yeilds a tasty and crispy skin.

It would have been the perfect meal – if only we had fully defrosted the turkey first!  We knew that smoking is a long, slow low-heat cooking process, but it became unbearably so given that the inside parts of the turkey were still iced over.  After many hours, we had to finish the bird in the convection oven and even still had to cut it into pieces to get it fully done.  Disappointing process, but the payoff was delicious.

And it yielded plenty of meat for leftovers and for freezing.  This week, I defrosted a couple chunks of smoked turkey meat and used it in a recipe for turkey potpie with cheddar biscuit crust courtesy of Gourmet. The smoked flavor re-defined this comfort dish. And I made enough to enjoy all week!

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On my way to Minneapolis earlier this month, I had to connect through Memphis, a Northwest Airlines hub. Although I’ve never been to Tennesee, I’ve heard that one of the things Memphis is known for is its barbecue.  The smoky and sweet smell of roasting chicken, pork and turkey filled the B concourse where I was walking through. I usually don’t have very good luck finding airport food of decent quality. But my dad, who has traveled through Memphis on more than one occasion, told me to stop at Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ for a pulled pork sandwich or rib dinner.  Boy am I glad that I did!  I tried the smoked turkey dinner with coleslaw and baked beans, and Nate had the pulled pork dinner. The next time you’re in Memphis — or the airport — I highly recommend stopping here.

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