This Little Turkey..

by danggoodfood

Photo: Daniel Dent

I was off my feet for at least 2 weeks due to some foot issues and I can say that it has handsomely made me rate my time on the line and the look into the possibilities that await a cook.  This Little Turkey needs to slow down…

We spent the weekend out in Bodega Bay at a friends vacation rental and even though I wasn’t supposed to stand on my feet I just had to cook.  Sometimes I think that cooking is the only ability that I have to connect with another human being.  It really does consume my thoughts.  So as usual Holiday fare included a turkey; which was actually a roulade  of one butterflied breast rolled with a de-boned thigh, seasoned with Dijon mustard, rosemary, thyme, Apple Butter salt and pepper.   YUM.  The dinner wasn’t complete without the usual suspects of stuffing, and other sides from sweet potatoes, sautéed Lacinato Kale, roasted potatoes, and a stuffing.  The recipe for the the Kale was simply the same recipe from this post of Slow Cooked Greens w/ Apples and Bacon from Dec 2009.

Thanksgiving came up at just the right time.  The Autumn weather changes ever so slightly as we make our move into the winter, gloves seem to appear, parkas are strategically placed as if strewn messily on the couch, the smell of parsnips and turkey in the air, cloves and other Fall/Winter spices permeate the kitchen, the atmosphere around us changes as light goes into hibernation.  Colors of orange, browns, muted colors…the sights and sounds of each season are quite distinct, and of course this would not be a food blog without the mention of the flavors that enliven ones senses during this holiday season.

For me, it’s the taste of turkey,  gravy, sweet potatoes, foods that are rich, hearty or that have the ability to soothe and comfort someones Winter cravings.  OH AND SAGE!! How did I forget.  I just love Sage.  It is soft, smells so sweet and earthy and is such a subtle yet meaty herb.

Today I have two recipes that I would like to share with you.  One is a delicious Smashed Sweet Potato side dish and another is an overwhelmingly delicious Root Vegetable soup made with an exciting flavorful Turkey stock.

Sweet Potato Smash with Browned Butter Pecans and Sage.

4 Medium Sized Sweet Potatoes  or 8 Cups of Sweet potatoes.
1/4 C. Of Sage
1 C. Pecans
1/2 C. Butter
3/4 C. Buttermilk
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
Salt
Pepper

Boil the Potatoes as you would regular potatoes for mashed potatoes.  Until they are fork tender.  Chiffonade your sage, but give it a bit of width (not too skinny). Roughly chop your Pecans.

When sweet potatoes are finished cooking, drain. In a separate pot or pan, turn heat to medium.  Add your butter and melt, then continue to add your sage and pecans till the smells bloom into the air.

Add your potatoes into a bowl and begin to mash w/ a potato masher (if tender enough even a fork will work it just takes a bit more effort).  Add heavy cream, 1/2 T Salt and Pepper, the Brown Sugar and the Pecan/butter/Sage mixture.  Incorporate all ingredients and set in a casserole. Be sure to not smooth out the top and just lightly make pockets for the next step.

Add about 1/2 C. of Heavy cream on the top allowing the cream to flow into the basins of mashed sweet potatoes.  Add a nice sprinkle of brown sugar.  Bake till top is golden.

Photo: Daniel Dent

AUTUMN VEGETABLE SOUP
For the Stock:
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
1 Onion
1 Carrot
Carcass of 1 Turkey.  (Here I used the uncooked  cavity f a 16 lb Turkey; including 2 wings, 1 neck and 1 bone from a de-boned thigh.)
Place ingredients into a stock pot. Cover with water.  Turn on to Boil.  Skim off what comes to the surface.  Turn off and set to a low simmer and cook for 3- 7 hours.
I like to cook my stock until the bones and completely collapsed and the gelatin in the joints become ultra soft and gooey. Doing so ensures that all the flavors within the meat and bones will be released.
After the allotted time allow stock to cool slightly and strain.  I like to use a bit of Cheesecloth as well as a strainer,  making sure that my stock is a clean liquid w/out the chunks.
For the Soup:
6 C. Stock

Photo: Daniel Dent

3/4 C. Celery Root
3/4. Parsnip
3/4 Carrots
1 C. Butternut Squash
1 C. Onion
1 Shallot
2 T. Chives
2 T. Sage
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Cut all root vegetables into 1/2 inch dices.  Except for the carrot,  I like to roll cut my carrots into similar sized cuts. Roll Cutting means that as you cut your carrot you are “rolling” it about a 1/4 of the way around then cutting to ever so slightly to obtain each rustic cut. When this is done.
Add Olive Oil  a pan that has been heated to medium and begin to sweat onions.
Add all the root vegetables and toss till onions are thoroughly tossed through.  Add Stock (cover to about 1-2 inches of stock) and continue to cook from medium heat to simmer. 40 Minutes.  At the last-minute season with the Salt and pepper,  Add the Chives and Sage.  Serve.  Enjoy.

You can use also purée this soup to make it into a smooth soup, but I like my soups chunky but still really rich with the stock.  If you do purée just remember to add the herbs after you have your desired smoothness or consistency.

AND IF YOU ARE STILL Reading and wondering what happened to the rest of the turkey we roasted and made the other breast into roasted turkey for sandwiches.  Which I highly seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning, and Fresh Rosemary and loads of Cracked Black Pepper.

AND IF YOU ARE STILL reading this…please feel free to pass this blog along to your friends and family.  I would really love to get more responses as well as to know who my readers are.  Thank you ♥

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