Posts Tagged 'Thanksgiving'

Our Turkey at Springfield Farm

Turkeys at Springfield Farm

This is just a quick update.  We’ve moved out of Long Beach, CA and are successfully hold up in a hotel in Alexandria, VA.  We’ve been here almost two weeks.  Strangely, a “full kitchen” here only consists of two burners and no oven.  I’m beyond tired of using crappy pots (there is nothing here you can describe as a pan) on uneven burners (all the oil runs to one side) with no oven.

Our hotel sojurn is to be over soon.  We’ve applied for, and been approved to, rent a townhouse just off the mainstreet in Old Town Alexandria.  The advantages of the townhome include its location, it has a large finished basement, and has actual outdoor space (unlike our patioless apartment at Patio Gardens in California).  The disadvantage is that the kitchen is small and has no dish washer.  I plan to turn the sun room which is accessed off of the kitchen into a combination pantry and preparation area.

On a more temporally relevant note, we do get to spend Thanksgiving with family this year. I planned somewhat in advance this year and order a Narraganset turkey from Springfield Farm. The farm is only a few miles from my parents’ domicile. When we went to visit them a week and a half ago, we stopped by the farm on Sunday.  While Angela was discouraged by the cold weather, my father and I hiked the short distance up a hill to visit the turkey paddock.  By no means am I a poultry expert, but the turkeys seemed well taken care of and happy.  In particular, any time we made a loud noise, a wave gobbling would spread over the turkeys.  Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for us), the turkeys were scheduled to leave for the slaughterhouse the next day.

My parents went by this past weekend to pick up our recently deceased turkey.  I have yet to see it so I can’t comment on it yet.  I did leave instructions for my mom to use the same brine as for herb-brined roast chicken on it. We used the same brine last year and it turned out spectacularly. I’d encourage anyone to use it (in fact, my cousin Amy who we shared Thanksgiving last year with).

In any case, happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Turkey Potpie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

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If you’re anything like me, you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in the freezer. And, if you’re not, you can just use leftover turkey from Christmas.

I originally saw this recipe before Thanksgiving and made a mental reminder that we could eat something besides Turkey quesadillas in the days after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we immediately went out of town and then I had to travel for business so the turkey got relegated to the freezer.

And there it sat until after Christmas. At that point, the freezer was getting a bit full (but isn’t it always?) and I felt the need to clean some items out of it. The turkey was the first item to get my attention.

This is a pretty easy recipe even though it involves several different parts. It even makes stock making easy. There’s no skimming. There’s no browning. There’s no aromatics in the stock. Just cover with water and simmer for about an hour. It’s also one of the most flavorful stocks I’ve ever tasted. Just don’t be like me and forget about the excess stock and leave it out overnight, rendering it only fit for disposal.

As I was making the potpie, Angela thought she was going to hate it (for reasons unknown to me). In the end, she liked it quite a bit. Even enough to take the leftovers for lunch today (that’s a surprise even to me).

If you have leftover turkey, this is the recipe to use it.

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Turkey Potpie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2007

For Stock:
4 cups turkey bones and skin
water
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For Filling:
1 medium onion, diced
2 large peeled carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 large peeled parsnip, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 tsp chopped thyme
3 tbsp butter
1/2 lbs. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups cooked turkey meat
10 oz. frozen peas, defrosted

For Crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 tbsp butter, cut into tbsps
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

  1. Place the turkey bones and skin in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and simmer slowly until the stock is flavorful about 1 hour.
  2. Drain the stock through a strainer and reserve 3 1/2 cups for the potpie. Store the remainder for another use.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, and thyme. Cover and sweat the ingredients until they are almost soft, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Uncover the skillet and add the mushrooms. Sweat until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until mixed well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  6. Deglaze the skillet with the reserved turkey stock (3 1/2 cups) and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the turkey meat and peas. Taste for seasoning of salt and pepper.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  9. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Add the cheese and mix well.
  10. Using a pastry blender (or two knives), blend in the butter until the mixture is coarse.
  11. Add the buttermilk and stir until just mixed.
  12. Spread the biscuit topping over the turkey mixture evenly.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven until the topping is browned, 35 to 40 minutes.
  14. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Thanksgiving 2007

Don’t worry, I’m not dead. Family was in town for Thanksgiving and I was on travel for work so I didn’t have time post anything. I do, however, have a story about our Thanksgiving for you.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a recently married and hosting the family Thanksgiving for the very first time. You also tend to take food a little bit too seriously. Now imagine what’s one of the worst things that could happen to you?

If you guessed the oven breaking the day before Thanksgiving, you are correct. I was baking a green tomato mince pie Wednesday afternoon at which point the oven failed. It’s a gas oven with an electric igniter. While the igniter was on, there was no gas coming out (I checked with an electric stick lighter). And, most unfortunately, it failed too late to call our apartment maintenance staff to come and fix it (I tried calling the after-hours number but nothing came of it).

What to do at this point? I tried to come up with a way to cook a turkey on the stove top but I pretty quickly realized my largest pan wouldn’t hold it and my only real option there was to quarter it (and, really, it’s Thanksgiving and roast turkey is traditional). How to make Thanksgiving dinner under such conditions?

We did the only thing we could: we loaded all our supplies into the car and drove to my 8-month pregnant cousin’s house. I took just about everything I could imagine needing as I had no idea what she had. I brought all the food I needed as well as pots, knives, and even a few specialty items like my food mill.

And while I hate to be a braggart, it turned out really well. There was more than enough food (I think we could’ve easily fed at least double the amount of people). And we really did have a good time even if it wasn’t how we expected.

I do need to call special attention to the turkey. Normally, for me, turkey is something you eat on Thanksgiving because it’s what you eat on Thanksgiving. It’s never particularly good but it’s at least edible. Not this year. This was, by far, the best turkey I’ve ever had. I don’t know if it was because we got an all-natural free range turkey I ordered from our local butcher shop (and, yes, I think the name is silly too) or if it was the brine I used (from Charcuterie).  Either way, it was really good.  Eventually I’ll post the recipe.