Friday, November 25, 2011

Leftover Turkey Hash

We all love our yummy Thanksgiving turkey with all the sides but after you have eaten the same thing several times over it can be hard to look at it just sitting in the refrigerator.  Finding new or different ways to eat that turkey can sometimes seem like more work than it is worth. 

One way I like to use up some of the turkey is in a hash, adding flavors that are a little different than you may have with your Thanksgiving dinner, giving me a little welcome change.  It can be eaten for breakfast with some eggs on the side, or for lunch and dinner with a bunch of veggies or a big salad on the side.  I don't know about you but after Thanksgiving I feel the need for a lot more fruits and veggies.  My breakfast today.....this hash and a large bowl of mixed fruit.  YUM!

Turkey Hash

3 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 3 cups)
1 small onion, diced (about 2/3 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups shredded turkey
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoke sweet paprika
1/4 chopped cilantro
Salt and Pepper
Cheese of choice (optional)
Tomatoes, diced (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Wash, peel and shred the potatoes.  Place potatoes in a strainer and run under cool water for about 2 minutes, allow to drain completely.  Heat non-stick skillet.  And add olive oil and diced onion and cook over medium low heat until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and and cook while mixing for about one minute.  Add potatoes, spread them over the onion and garlic, then sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir.  Continue to cook the potatoes over medium heat until tender and just beginning to brown.  Add turkey, stir, then sprinkle the coriander, cumin and paprika over all.  Stir in the seasoning and turn up heat to medium high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes brown.  Add more salt and some pepper, to taste.  Mix.  Add the cilantro, stir, and cook an additional minute or two.  Top with shredded cheese (I used a sharp white cheddar), tomatoes and sour cream if desired.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Salt Cured Turkey (Dry-Brined) - Day 4 Cooking Day!

Let me just start this with......OH MY GOSH THAT IS SO GOOD!  Yes, I just tasted the turkey and it is so good and juicy.....heaven!  

The fourth day is cooking day and in the end, as you can see above, the wait is definitely worth it.

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and remove it from the bag if you didn't do so the night before.  If you didn't remove the turkey from the bag at the end of day three then pat it dry with paper towels.  Place the turkey in your toasting pan, I like to use a wrack to allow the drippings to drop below the turkey and not make the meat at the bottom of the bird soggy.

Set turkey, in pan on the counter and allow it to set for about an hour.  Bringing the meat closer to room temperature helps it cook more evenly.

Combine the following in a bowl:

4 Tablespoons of butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Separate the skin from the breast meat by gently working your hand in between the skin and the meat. If you are going to stuff the turkey now would be the time to do so or you could do like I did and throw in a few pealed garlic cloves and two onions, quartered and make your stuffing in another pan.  Under the skin place about 1-1/2 Tablespoons of the softened butter mixture and spread it the top half the the breasts by patting the top of the skin.  Rub the remaining butter mixture over the the rest of the turkey concentrating on the breasts and legs.  

Place meat thermometer in the thickest part the the leg and place it in the oven on the rack at lower third of the oven.  Cook at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.  Turn down the oven to 325 degrees and cook until the thermometer reads 165 degrees (about 12 minutes per pound not stuffed and about 15 minutes per pound stuffed).  Do not baste the turkey while it is cooking.  Remove turkey from the oven and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to settle in the meat.  Cut and serve your turkey.  Enjoy!

(Not the clearest picture, sorry I was really excited!)

As you can see my oldest son was ready and waiting to be a taste tester.  His comments were "really juicy" and "this is really good" so I think we have a winner!  As a side note, I think I have the most handsome taste tester/model around. (wink)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Salt Cured Turkey (Dry-Brined) - Day 3

So today is just is as easy as yesterday with just a little flip.

Remove your turkey from the refrigerator and once again give it a nice gentle massage, through the plastic bag.  (The turkey is getting much more massaging than I am, something is wrong here.)  Okay back on track.......You may notice that there is a little less liquid, this is good! Now......ready....flip the turkey over  in the pan, bag and all.  Your turkey should be "bottoms up" at this point.  Place the bird back in the refrigerator and go find someone to give you a massage.

That is all for today!  Simple right?

Part two of day 3 (for those that like a crispier skin)

If you like a crispier skin, late on day three remove the turkey from the bag and place it on a large plate or in a pan and place it back in the refrigerator over night to dry out the skin.  If you prefer not do this, no problem, just pat the skin dry with paper towels when you remove the bird from the bag on day 4.  I chose to set remove it from the bag on place it on a wrack in the roasting pan.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Salt Cured Turkey (Dry-Brined) - Day 2

Everyone loves a good massage, even your Thanksgiving turkey, although unlike myself the turkey likes a gentle massage.  That is all that needs to be done to your bird on the second day.  

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator, pan, bag and all, and gently massage the bird for a 2 or three minutes (through the bag).  You may notice that there is no longer any obvious salt. Don't worry this is a good thing.  Also you may also notice that the salt has started to draw out some of the liquid from the meat. Don't panic it will be reabsorbed.  Just give your bird a gentle massage and put it back in the refrigerator.  Don't think about it for another 24 hours or so.

Easy peasy!  Day two is complete.  Now go relax you worked hard all day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Salt Cured Turkey (Dry-Brined) - Day 1

I have been asked by many people how to cook a turkey, even my ex-husband.  He now cooks a turkey almost every year and my understanding is that it is quite good.  

There are many approaches to cooking a turkey and tradition can play a large part in how you prepare your bird.  There are those who like to deep fry (would love to try that one day), those that brine in salty or my favorite, salty/sweet water, and those that keep it simple with seasonings and butter or oil.  

Recently salt curing, often called dry-brine, has been making a showing.  Now I have made a prime rib encrusted in rock salt (YUM!) and was impressed with the results (not salty AT ALL) so this peaked my interest.  You need to think ahead a few days (4 to be exact) but the results should be wonderful.  The first day it will take about 20 to 30 minutes to prepare the turkey,  days 2 and 3 only take about 5 minutes.  Day 4 is cooking day.  There should be about 30 minutes of hands on work to prepare the bird, about an hour to allow the turkey to come to room temperature, and the cooking time (depending on the size of your bird).

I am going to make a small turkey (13 pounds) for my family because. Although we are going to my Dad's house for Thanksgiving my family always loves to have plenty of turkey to snack on and use to create other meals.  You can do this along with me, follow behind a few days or wait, and see the results on Sunday (just in time for you to start your own salt cured bird for the holiday).  I started with a fresh (not frozen) bird but you can use a frozen turkey if you like just run it under cool water for about 10 or 15 minutes when rinsing it to start the thawing.

Salt Cured Turkey (day one)

Whole turkey
Kosher salt (coarse)
Bay leaves, optional
Rubbed (or ground) sage, optional
Crushed Rosemary, optional
Dried Lemon Zest, optional
Plastic turkey roasting bag or small trash bag 

In a small bowl or jar crush the bay leaves and then add the sage, rosemary and lemon zest if you choose to use them.  The herbs are not required but will add more flavors to finished turkey.  Add the salt to the herbs and crush everything together using the bottom of one or your spice jars (as you would with a pestle and mortar) to bring out the aroma of the herbs.  If you choose not to use the herbs, just measure out the salt in the measurements listed below.

For every 5 pounds of turkey use:
      3 bay leaves, broken up
      1/4 teaspoon sage
      1/4 teaspoon rosemary
      1/4 dried lemon zest
      1 tablespoon of salt

Set aside the bowl with the salt mixture. 

Open the turkey package and remove the neck and gizzards from the inside of the turkey.  Make sure you check the neck opening to be sure you get it all.  Rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cool running water.  Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, making sure to get the inside and all the hidden nooks.

Place the dried turkey in a roasting pan.  I opened up the roasting bad and placed the turkey inside to try to simplify things but you can always move the turkey into the bag after you season it.  Starting on the legs, pat the salt mixture onto the skin (not under the skin), making sure to tilt the turkey a little and get some salt on the bottom of the bird, move up the bird and continue to the pat the salt onto the breast.  Toss a few pinches of the salt mixture into the inside of the turkey.  Concentrate the majority of the salt mixture on the legs and breasts.

Place the turkey in the plastic bag (or pull the sides of the bag up if you placed the turkey in the bag to begin with), push out most of the air and close the bag tightly.  Place the turkey, in the bag, in a roasting pan and place it in the refrigerator.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I love oatmeal any time, especially Coaches Oats. I like Coaches Oats because they have a firmer texture then their rolled counter parts, much like steel cut oats, but cook much faster. The groats (whole grain oats) are toasted and cracked and have a wonderful nutty flavor.  I buy them at Costco but I understand they can be found in other stores and can also be ordered from their website and delivered right to your home.  

Many people start eating oatmeal more often when the weather gets colder.  I love adding fruit, nuts, peanut butter and even topping it with plain Greek yogurt.  Nathan likes to stir in raspberries and chocolate chips.  Apples are perfect in the fall and if you make too much you can always put it in the refrigerator and have it the next day to two, just add a little water and pop it into the microwave and heat it through. Since weekday mornings can be busy and rushed I have made this the evening before and put it in the refrigerator for a quick healthy breakfast in the morning.

My whole family enjoys this oatmeal although there is one in particular that prefers much more sugar in his than the rest of us do. 

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 cup coaches oats
1 cup chopped and peeled apple
4 T. butter, divided
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 C. water
Brown sugar taste
Half & half, heavy cream or milk if desired

In a medium size pot melt 2 T of butter and add the oats.  Toast oats for about 2 minutes over medium heat.  make a well in the center, add the remaining butter and the apples and stir and cook about 2 more minutes.  Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg and cook about one minute. Add the water and vanilla and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed, stirring once or twice.  Remove from heat and add brown sugar (my family likes about 1/4 cup added) and stir to combine.  Serve topped with half and half or cream if desired.
Serves 4

This can be made with steel cut oats. After toasting the oats (using all 4 T of butter) add the cinnamon and nutmeg (skip the apples for now), cook 2 minutes, add the water and cook about 35 to 40 minutes, until the oats are almost done. At this point add in the apples and cook and additional 5-7 minutes, cooking until the oats are done.