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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Everyday Should Be Thanksgiving Pt. 2

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast with Citrus Butter and Turkey Jus

I chose to use a turkey breast because there were only four of us. When choosing a size appropriate for guests, allow about 1 pound of raw turkey per person. Sounds like a lot, I know, but you want to have leftovers, don't you? That's the best part. Frankly, hot turkey leaves me cold. I love the sandwiches later on Kaiser rolls or Dutch Crunch bread with stuffing, avocado, & cranberry sauce... Yummy, Yummy!!!

BTW, you can substitute any kind of mushroom you like for the gravy. Chanterelles are crazy expensive. I chose them because this meal is small in scale which meant I could spend more per person, but good old button mushrooms or criminis will work just fine. Hell, you don't even need any mushrooms.

The consistency of my gravy is much thinner than most. I prefer the good wholesome turkey flavor of the jus & stock not the taste of a floury pasty goopy gravy... yuk! I achieve the thickening with a minimum of starch & a maximum of reduction. I boil the hell out of the stock to reduce it to an almost gelatinous consistency which means you must minimize the use of any salt products until the gravy is made, then add the seasoning or else it will taste way salty.

For the turkey
  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 onion, skin removed & cut in half
  • 1 leek, cleaned & sliced length-wise
  • 1 carrot, cut into quarters
  • 1 lemon, cut in quarters, juiced with juice reserved

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack ( I use a trivet) in a roasting pan. Nestle the onion, leek, carrot & juiced lemon & place it inside the breast cavity. Be sure that you have cut the pieces in large enough sections so that they don't fall through your rack or trivet.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

  3. Heat up Citrus butter in small sauce pan until melted & keep warm.
  4. Roast turkey for 20 minutes at 450, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

  5. Baste with Citrus butter.
  6. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test in several places.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. Occasionally basting with citrus butter.

  7. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes while you make the gravy. Slice and serve with the jus & gravy spooned over the turkey.

For the Citrus Butter:


  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
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  1. Stir rinds into boiling water; pour through a wire-mesh strainer. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer or by hand until creamy; gradually add juices, & shallot beating until blended. Stir in rinds. Chill. Can be made 3 days ahead or more if you freeze it.
For the Chanterelle Mushroom Gravy:

About the stock: make your own if you have the time, I'll leave a link; if not buy it frozen; you can substitute canned chicken stock, but make sure it has no or low-sodium both Pacific & Wolfgang Puck make good chickeny ones. This gravy will be dark , almost mahogany in color, if you take the time to roast your turkey giblets & wings first, really worth it. It's only once a year & a lot cheaper than buying canned, plus you can make extra & freeze until Christmas to use it then!
Cornstarch & arrowroot are almost flavorless & tend to dissolve more quickly than flour which is why I am using it here, but heat destroys it's coagulating properties so you must wait to add it until the last minute or so to the gravy. Do not boil the gravy after you add them. Then serve immediately.

  • 2 big handfuls (handfuls is an industry term ;P) of chanterelles or your mushrooms of choice, cleaned & sliced
  • 2 large shallots, sliced thinly
  • 6 sage leaves, in chiffonade (sliced very, very thinly length-wise)
  • half a handful of parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups of fresh turkey stock
  • pan drippings from turkey
  • scant tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or any acidy, non-oaked wine such as sauvignon blanc
  • sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch or arrowroot

  1. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. butter & olive oil, when butter is foamy & melted, add a tiny pinch of sea salt to the pan followed by the shallots. Saute until they just change color.
  2. Add the mushrooms, add the additional tablespoon of butter, if the mushrooms appear to absorb the fat in the pan. Saute until mushrooms are softened, lower heat to medium-low.
  3. Add the parsley and sage. Stir in & when the mushrooms appear to be slightly glazed, season lightly with salt & pepper. Turn off the heat & set aside in a warm place.
  4. Place roasting pan over medium heat on the range burners. When hot, deglaze pan with the wine or vermouth, being sure to scrape off all the pan fond (the stuck on brown bits) & incorporate into the wine.
  5. Add the stock to the pan & reduce by half; about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of stock & mix that into a slurry with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  6. When stock, is reduced add the mushroom mixture, season with soy sauce; stirring well to incorporate it. Taste for seasoning & then add salt & pepper to taste.
  7. When everything is to your liking, turn the heat down to very low & add cornstarch mixture, stirring really rapidly to avoid making lumps.
  8. Heat for another minute or two over low heat until the cornstarch flavor is gone.
  9. Place in gravyboat. Serve immediately.
Here's a link for Turkey stock:

Truffled Smashed Potatoes

What can I say about smashed potatoes? Don't cut them too small, in fact if you use Yukon Golds, Baby Reds or Yellow Finns leave them whole, leave the skins on, boil them with salt until soft but not mushy, remove excess water by tossing them over heat in a dry, hot pan and heat up the cream & butter before adding them to the potatoes.

Put them through a ricer or food mill if you like a smoother, lighter texture or smash them like I do with an old fashioned masher if you like them with a heartier, more rustic style.

Just add lots of white truffle butter or truffle oil to it at the end to give them a luxe flavor. Add a few chives & Yaay!!!

If you can score fresh white truffles and shave them on top, all the better but good luck; they are as rare and as expensive as an F50 Ferrari.

Shitake and Sausage-Apple Stuffing

Be sure to cut all the aromatics the same size small dice. Makes a big difference in texture.

  • 16 ounces Challah bread or any brioche (use white bread if you can't find an egg bread), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 6 cups onions, about 2 large, finely chopped
  • 1 pound tart green apples, peeled, cored, diced small
  • 2 handfuls of shitake mushrooms (you can use oyster, button, whatever you like)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & cut into small dice
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, diced small
  • 4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (about 4 ounces, optional)
  • 4 sprigs of finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 8 sprigs of finely chooped fresh sage
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1 and 1/2 cups to 2 cups (about) fresh turkey stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide bread cubes between 2 large baking sheets. Bake until slightly dry, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Sauté sausages in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with back of spoon, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Pour off any drippings from skillet.
  4. Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, apples, celery, mushrooms and poultry seasoning to skillet; sauté until onions soften, about 8 minutes. Mix in dried cranberries and rosemary & sage. Add mixture to sausage, then mix in bread and parsley. Season stuffing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  5. Mix eggs into stuffing just before baking.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Mix 1 1/3 cups broth into stuffing. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with Roasted Chestnuts
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

I just add roasted chestnuts to the hunky Tyler Florence's recipe for added depth of flavor, it's great for vegetarians, though not vegans.

  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering baking dish
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 4 pounds mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 package of roasted chestnuts, chopped roughly ( jarred is fine)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more to top

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. On a sheet pan put cubed bread. Toast it in the oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large saute pan melt the butter and saute the shallots until just wilted. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
  4. In a large bowl make custard, whisk together the cream with the eggs and season with the salt and pepper.
  5. Add toasted bread cubes along with the chives, thyme and rosemary to the egg mixture.
  6. Stir in the sauteed mushrooms and mix in the grated Parmesan.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, top with more grated Parmesan, to taste.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the custard is set.

Vanilla -scented Roasted Yam Gratin with Cinnamon

This is pretty damn easy & super tasty. An Alsatian Riesling or Gewurtztraminer is the best bet for this entire meal. Just thought I'd mention it now before I forget. A ripe California Pinot Noir from Sonoma might work, too. I love the Central Valley Coast ones like Ambullneo, too.


  • 4 large garnet yams or Jewell sweet potatoes, roasted in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour, peeled , cooled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half with seeds scraped & reserved or 1 teapsoon of good quality vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for topping gratin
  • sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place yam slices in a gratin dish large enough to hold them all in a single layer, but do make sure they are overlapping slightly. Squash them together a bit, if necessary.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat the remaining ingredients over low heat; allowing them to steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour cream mixture over yams.
  5. Dot with additional butter.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until top is caramelized & golden brown.

To be continued

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