Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Last Minute Turkey Ideas

Thanksgiving is just right around the corner. And this holiday can hardly happen without Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Minnesota tops the nation in turkey production (45 million) followed by North Carolina (35 million) Arkansas (29 million) Indiana and Missouri (17 million), and Virginia (16 million).
Meanwhile Wisconsin is a national leader in growing cranberries. It will produce 538 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts at 210 million pounds.
Rich Turkey Gravy
Cooking Tip: While the turkey roasts, it releases lots of concentrated flavor into the pan. This is where the gravy takes on another dimension. So as the cooked bird rests, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Adding cold stock to warm roux means lumpy gravy. So make sure the stock and turkey drippings are heated before you add them to roasting pan to make the gravy. For a really smooth gravy (with no lumps), add finished gravy to blender, mix and then add gravy back into saucepan. Keep gravy on low heat covered until serving.

  • 3-3-1/2 cups poultry stock from roasting pan
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 dry white wine, brown ale or apple cider
  • 1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Mixture of fresh herbs such as thyme and parsley and 1 tsp. dried herbes de provence. 
  • Directions:
  • Carefully lift the turkey roasting pan and strain juices into a large measuring cup over the sink. Skim fat from the surface. 
  • Remove turkey from the roasting pan. There will be juices in the roasting pan. Place roasting pan over two burners set to medium high heat. 
  • Add 1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 cup apple cider to roasting pan. Scrape any brown bits and cook wine or apple cider until almost evaporated 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat and whisk in 1/2 cup flour. Cook, whisking until roux is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. 
  • Whisking gradually ladle stock mixture into roux until thickened. Add in 1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Keep warm until ready to serve

Turkey Cheese Tray 

Expecting weekend company? Here's a creative way to use up leftover turkey- 
Turkey and Broccoli Strata with Dill Havarti
Cook's notes: This strata is quite versatile as asparagus spears can be substituted for broccoli florets. No turkey left? Try using smoked turkey deli meat. What sets this strata apart from others is using toasted focaccia cubes and dill Havarti cheese. Both adds a lot of flavor to the dish. Toasted bread cubes can be toasted the day before and stored on a cookie sheet covered lightly with wax paper. Serves 6-8.

  • 1-1/2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets or 8 oz. asparagus spears cut up into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 cups diced turkey or deli turkey about 3/4 lb. 
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 6 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1-1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 TB. snipped fresh chives or 1 TB. dried chives
  • 1 TB. dried parsley flakes 
  • 1 TB. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups garlic and herb focaccia cubes or 2 round loaves of focaccia bread, cut in cubes
  • 2 cups shredded Havarti Dill cheese
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop bread into 1-1/2 inch cubes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes,turn once during baking times and toast a few minutes more until lightly golden brown. Set aside.
  • In a fry pan heat oil, add in onions and sweet red pepper. Saute for 3-5 minutes.
  • In a blender add mayonnaise, eggs, milk, broth , chives, parsley flakes, mustard and salt/pepper. Mix well. 
  • Grease a 2-1/2-3 qt. baking pan. 
  • Assemble the dish as follows:half bread cubes, sauteed mixture, broccoli florets or cut asparagus spears, diced turkey or chicken, half the cheese, remaining bread cubes and cheese. Use wax paper and press mixture down firmly in pan and remove wax paper.  
  • Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Before baking, let strata stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Bake uncovered 35 minutes or until set and then sprinkle with cheese and bake 10 minutes more. 

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