A week ago, Sunday, I roasted a post-Thanksgiving turkey. New Seasons, the fabulous grocer nearest me, had deeply discounted their fresh turkeys hoping to sell them off before being forced to freeze them for less sumptuous turkey dinners of the future. In the past week I have had roast turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey lavash rollups, turkey mushroom casserole, turkey salad and turkey dumpling soup and I still had a pound of bits and pieces. So, since I had already made everything else, I decided to make a chili. Or more honestly, a “chili”, the scare quotes indicating how very unorthodox and inauthentic my chili will be.
I save my bacon fat in a little butter bowl, storing it for cooking when I want to add some easy flavor. I put two tablespoons in the bottom of my stock pot and began adding ingredients, stirring and sauteeing over medium heat.
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 TBSP of dried oregano
- 2 tsp of cumin
- 1 TBSP of chili powder
- 1/4 tsp of cayenne
After the onions were cooked, I added
- Leftover turkey cut in small chunks, about 1 pound
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 1 cup of frozen corn
- 1 box of chicken broth (I had already used my turkey broth in the turkey dumpling soup.)
I let all this cook. Meanwhile I chopped up a bunch of kale. That turned out to be too much and I made yesterday’s salad with the unused kale. I added about 4 cups of chopped kate to the soup and put a lid on it and let it simmer. After it was done, I tasted and added a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
Well, you can’t go wrong mixing tomatoes, black beans, corn and onions together – but the turkey adds a mellow savoriness and the kale gives it an earthy flavor. The overall taste is bright and fresh with plenty of toothsome bites with the black beans, the corn and the kale. This last catch-all dish is by no means a single serving, however. It made 2 quarts of soup for 8 servings.
This is not a traditional Waldorf salad, but using it as my inspiration, I made a delightful post-Thanksgiving turkey salad.
Chop up 1 apple (Gala) and 1 celery stalk. Chop 4 oz of turkey white meat. Add an ounce or so of dried cranberries and about 6 almonds, sliced in half and toasted. Mix together and dress with 1 TBSP of mayonnaise and the juice from half a fresh lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I think walnuts or pecans would have been meatier and better in the salad than the almonds, but it was still delicious. The dried cranberries add a tart sweetness that is even tastier than grapes.
I grabbed some asparagus (8 stalks) and trimmed the ends off before putting them in my paella pan to roast, sprinkling them with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt and sticking them in a 450 degree oven. I put some olive oil in a skillet, chopped 1/4 onion and 2 cloves of garlic and tossed them in the oil to soften. I sliced up two crimini mushrooms and 1 sweet red pepper. I added 4 ounces of ground turkey to the onions and garlic and let it cook about two minutes before added the red pepper and mushrooms. I put the lid on and poured some water in a pan and put it on high to bring to a boil. When it began to boil, I added a cup of tortellini. While it boiled, I removed the asparagus from the oven and plated it and tossed some salt and pepper on the ground turkey mixture. I added a tablespoon of dijon mustard and the juice of half a lemon. By now the pasta was done, I strained it and put it on the plate and then added the meat mixture.
I wanted a quick, quick supper last night because I fell asleep with my cat and didn’t wake up until 8 p.m. I started water to boil in one pan. Then, I chopped some onion and tossed it in the skillet with a spritz of olive oil spray. I didn’t use a TBSP of olive oil because I knew I was adding other liquids quickly. Adding the ground turkey and two mushrooms chopped up, I put just about 1/4 cup of white wine and a dash of tarragon and put the lid on while they simmered.
I chopped up a tomato and by then the water was boiling. I added 1.5 cups of frozen tortellini and tossed the tomatoes in the with the turkey, added half of a small can of sliced black olives and put the lid back on. In about 4 to 5 minutes the tortellini had floated to the top. I strained them and tossed them in the skillet with the turkey and everything. And it was done – in less than 15 minutes start to finish. I served it up in a bowl. Delish!
I discovered a dangerous thing today – making aioli with store mayonnaise instead of from scratch. It took only a couple minutes and tasted just as good as my painstakingly handmade recipe. So I made Patatas Aioli, a recipe that I got from the chef at La Catalana before it closed and broke my culinary heart.
I set the oven to 425 and began the aioli. I took one cup of mayonnaise and added the fresh-squeezed juice from half a lemon. I took five garlic cloves and crushed them with the flat side of knife, removing the peel. I salted them lightly and let them sit for 10 minutes for the salt to make them nice and juicy. While they were sitting I sliced three potatoes thinly with the mandoline. Back to the aioli, I finely chopped the garlic and added it to the mayo and lemon juice and mixed it all up. It was perfect, fresh, bright and tangy.
Using a pie plate (there are special pommes Anne dishes for this, but they are too costly) I sprayed it lightly with olive oil and layered the potatoes neatly. I spread a layer of aioli and then made a second layer of potatoes that was again spread with aioli. I added the third and final layer of potatoes and added a bit of salt and pepper before putting in the oven for around 30 minutes. I dare you not to lick that aioli bowl!
Patatas Aioli are a Spanish vegetable dish that is rich and creamy with the bright, bold taste of garlic and lemon. Use fresh garlic for its special brightness. The baking process seems to make the mayonnaise rise into a feather light garlicky cream that melts in your mouth.
I chopped up two leaves of Romaine, added a few pecans and grapes and tossed lightly with Raspberry Vinaigrette and let it sit on the plate while I finished up the meal with a turkey cutlet.
I took a 5 oz package of ground turkey, tossed in a pinch of tarragon and some salt and pepper and mixed it up while it was still in the little baggie. I shaped it into a sort or rectangle and put it on a seasoned skillet that was at medium heat. After cooking on both sides, I added it to the plate just in time to take the patatas aioli out of the stove and cut myself a wedge and plate it. It was amazing!
I bought a big package of ground turkey because it was on sale and I thought, ground turkey is so much healthier than ground pork. Hmmm, now I have to figure out how to make ground turkey taste like something. Can you tell that turkey is not my favorite meat? The first thing I did was divide the turkey up into meal-sized amounts in little plastic food storage baggies. I ended up with 8 packages with about 5 ounces each.
I had two slices of bacon with some eggs for breakfast and I never throw out my breakfast bacon grease because I know that bacon will make lunch better no matter what I make. I had half the baby potatoes I can cooked up last night and thought a hash might be good.
So, heating the bacon grease, I tossed in 2 of the packages of ground turkey, about 10 ounces. I added salt, pepper and tarragon. Turkey likes the letter “T” and you can’t go wrong with mixing turkey with turmeric, thyme or tarragon. I wanted a spring zesty flavor, so I went with tarragon. I chopped up one large button mushroom. By large, let’s take that to mean humongous. There were no regular size button mushrooms at the store and one of these mutant mushrooms is about the size of three normal ones. I had to slice and then quarter because the slices were just too big.
I let the turkey and mushrooms cook until mostly done. I know some people like cooking mushrooms very lightly. I like cooking them longer and letting more of their flavor permeate everything. With the meat and mushrooms nearly done, I added the boiled baby red potatoes from last night – cut into quarters and a small handful of fresh green beans, snapped. I put a lid on the hash and let cook a few more minutes to heat the potatoes and green beans through and voila!
I served with the braised red cabbage I made on Saturday. It only gets better every day.