Friday, November 17, 2006

Recipe Friday

Brian

Well, it’s been another long while since I posted to honor my ongoing commitment to cooking, but with the holiday season fast approaching (or, if you are a major American retailer, already here), I thought it time once again for Recipe Friday. And what would be a more appropriate recipe than a little stuffed turkey dish I like to call

Turturken

Okay, I admit I just called it that for the first time. But it’s a fitting name because it’s similar to turducken but without the duck. And, really, without stuffing whole birds inside other whole birds. There are no whole birds involved. But that’s what makes it easy.

Food you’ll need:
12 ounces chicken- or turkey sausage
1.5 cups pumpkin seeds, shelled (also sold as “pepitas”)
7 tablespoons butter
3 slices turkey bacon
6 ounces ground turkey
1 large onion
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1.5 tablespoons fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary)
1.5 tablespoons fresh sage (or 1/2 tablespoon dried sage)
3 lightly beaten eggs
1 skinless, boneless turkey breast (sometimes sold as “turkey London broil”)
1.5 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups dry white wine

Tools you’ll need:
Oven
Microwave
Stove
Skillet
Knives
Measuring cups & spoons
Fork
Spatula
Cutting board
Oven mitts and potholders
Casserole dish or roasting pan (about 12” x 9”)
Smaller casserole dish or roasting pan (9” x 9” or 9” x 6”)
Cheese grater (unless your cheese is pre-grated)
Big microwave-safe bowl or dish
Small bowl for beating eggs
Plastic wrap
Meat tenderizer or mallet
Butcher’s twine, skewers, or toothpicks
Meat thermometer
Baster

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the big microwave-safe bowl, melt one tablespoon of the butter. When it’s melted, arrange the pumpkin seeds (shelled, remember) in the bowl and toss a little to coat them with the butter. Spread them out evenly. Microwave on high for seven minutes, stopping at two-minute intervals to toss them around so they cook evenly.

Lay out your sausages and poke holes in them in a few places with a fork. Then arrange them on your smaller casserole dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Take them out, let them cool, and pump the temperature up to 450 degrees.

Chop the onion, bacon, rosemary, and sage finely. Keep the rosemary and sage separate from the onion and bacon. Obviously skip the rosemary and sage part if you are using dried herbs.

In your skillet over medium heat on the stove, melt the remaining six tablespoons of butter. When it’s liquid, add the onion, bacon, pumpkin seeds, and ground turkey. With the spatula, stir it all up so it is mixed together nicely. Break apart the ground turkey. Let this mixture cook for maybe ten minutes. It’s done when the onions are tender and golden.

Meanwhile, slice the cooked, cooled sausage thinly. If you haven’t already, grate the cheese and beat the eggs.

When the onion-seed-meat mixture is done, remove it from the heat, stir it up, and let it cool.

Lay out your turkey breast on a cutting board. The goal is for it to be big and flat, about a half inch thick all over. It is probably thicker in places at the start, so here’s how to deal with that: Take a big, sharp knife and cut sideways into the thickest part of the turkey, making sure not to cut all the way through. Fold this part over and lay the meat out flat. If there are any other big, thick places that look like they could use the old cut-and-fold, give them the same treatment. Then cover the turkey with a piece of plastic wrap. Wielding the meat tenderizer, whack the meat through the plastic wrap repeatedly, hard, all over, until it thins out to a half inch all around. It might help to stop halfway through and flip it. This takes a little while, but is satisfying in a sadistic way.

Mix the sliced sausage, grated cheese, beaten eggs, and chopped rosemary and sage into the onion-seed-meat mixture, tossing it all around until it is evenly mixed.

Spread this stuffing out over the entire surface of the turkey. If you have some left over, that’s okay. Roll up the turkey, with the stuffing, jellyroll style. This means starting at the bottom of the long end and rolling once, then tucking in the sides, rolling up once more, tucking in the sides once more, and so forth until it is all rolled up. It is okay if the stuffing squeezes out a little bit. Secure the roll together with the twine or with skewers or toothpicks. Put this stuffed turkey in the larger casserole dish or roasting pan and spoon whatever leftover stuffing you have around the outside of it.

Now collect your wine and chicken broth. If you need to make chicken broth, just boil 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 or 2 cubes or packets of chicken bouillon. Pour the broth and then the wine evenly over the turkey into the casserole dish.

Put this in the oven and bake it at 450 for 50 minutes, or until your meat thermometer, properly stuck into the bird, tells you that the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees. At ten-minute intervals while it is cooking, open the oven, suck up some of the juices with your baster, and squirt this over the top of the turkey to keep it moist.

When you take the dish out of the oven, remove the turkey from the dish to a cutting board, remove the skewers or twine and let it cool for ten minutes. Then slice it up and have at it. May I recommend the garlic mashers as a side?

Indexed by tags , , , , .
Image credits: Wild Turkey, Male and Female, Charles Lucien, from American Ornithology, or, The Natural History of Birds Inhabiting the United States, Not Given by Wilson: With Figures Drawn, Engraved, and Coloured, from Nature, courtesy BibliOdyssey.
This recipe was inspired by similar turkey recipes in Mario Batali's Molto Italiano.

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