Category: turkey breast

I suppose if I were to subtitle this menu, it would be “Swedish Meatballs meet Stroganoff meets Chez Edouard” because the resulting main dish has elements of the first two but everything is transformed based on my own whims. The meatballs are made of ground turkey and the sauce is not typical of that for either the Swedish dish nor the stroganoff.

As a reminder, meatballs will be far more succulent and tender if you refrain from packing the meat during the rolling process and bake them in the oven as opposed to the stovetop method. Never overcook meatballs which inevitably leads to tough, unpalatable results.

Tonight I enriched the turkey with finely diced roasted red pepper along with minced shallots, garlic, and herbs. After removing the meatballs from the oven I tossed them in a pan with a sour cream-Dijon-rosemary sauce. Adding a small amount of cornstarch to the sour cream helps keep it from curdling, but even then it’s very important not to bring the sauce to a boil: simply heat it through.

Turkey meatballs and sautéed cremini mushrooms in a sour cream-Dijon-rosemary sauce served over housemade tagliatelle pasta
Steamed sugar snap peas and asparagus from the farmers’ market
Yeast roll Chez Edouard

Housemade peanut butter sandwich cookies


For many years, the proliferation of various small turkey products has added a wonderful boost to menu planning and a great (and more flavorful), alternative to chicken. Turkey is now marketed in ground breast, ground thighs, breast cutlets, wings only, tenderloin roasts, half breast roasts, and any number of other options which negate the necessity of needing to buy an entire turkey or even a whole turkey breast for that matter. Tonight I am using breast cutlets for this simple meal. There is a bit of prep work, but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming.

My dessert suggestion is a bit out of my norm, since I rarely have carbonated beverages on hand, but I made an exception in this case because I recently remembered a childhood favorite which I wanted to revisit.

Turkey breast cutlets dredged in herbed breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, and parmesan cheese sautéed in butter and olive oil
Steamed brown rice with spicy Cajun seasonings, diced apples, and raisins
Braised kale
Yeast rolls Chez Edouard

Ice cream soda Chez Edouard: house-made vanilla ice cream spooned into a glass and topped with Fresca (original citrus variety)

There are many definitions of “pot pies” in culinary history. Most have a traditional piecrust as a topping, some are covered with puff pastry, and still others include a “dumpling-like” biscuit crust. This variation is a bit more like the last but with significant differences. And the potpie sauce includes a secret element that elevates the dish to another level. For those who are wary of alcohol, remember that once the sauce comes to a boil, the alcohol evaporates and you are left with just the flavor.

Pot pie of turkey chunks, carrots, celery, pearl onions, green beans, red peppers, turnip wedges, and wild rice tossed with a sauce of turkey broth, leftover gravy, and cream seasoned with a drizzle of brandy, and topped with thin-rolled sweet potato biscuits seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
Simple salad of lettuces with pickled beets

Save the carcass of that turkey or turkey breast after you have carved off all the meat! It makes a wonderfully flavorful broth that can be used in many ways. Simply break up the bones into a stock pot, add carrots, onions, celery, a large clove of unpeeled garlic, some herbs…cover with water, bring to a boil…skim off the top…and then turn down the heat and let it simmer slowly for several hours. (You could even do this in a slow cooker for a longer period of time in case you want to go out shopping and not worry about minding the stove.) Then, strain out the solids. Now, let’s move on to the first use for this: a soup that has some unusual ingredients.

In a large pot, saute diced onions, celery, carrots, and a turnip with a bay leaf in butter until tender. Add about ½ cup of pearled barley, a quart of the turkey broth, salt, pepper, and a ¼ cup of dried porcini mushrooms. Let simmer slowly until everything is nicely palatable (use a taste test as your guide), and then add about ½ to ¾ cup of leftover turkey chunks and some dried dill weed (to taste), and heat through. Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream and teaspoon per serving of Dijon mustard stirred into the soup at the table. Alongside, a leftover slice of toasted cornbread dressing is a welcome accompaniment.

I am posting my Thanksgiving menu a bit early so that you have the advantage of witnessing ahead of time what I have planned. This post will also be a bit different in its layout—I will be inserting notes between each of the various components of the meal.

So, first, let’s start with the turkey. Keyword here: FRESH. I haven’t used a frozen turkey in many years, because the difference in taste is very noticeable. Additionally, if at all possible search out a source for a bird that has been raised organically—that also makes a big difference in flavor. It’s also important to season the bird with salt and pepper at least 24-hours ahead of cooking.

Turkey breast with an herb butter of parsley, sage, thyme, and garlic  stuffed under  the skin, roasted over a “rack” of celery and carrot logs, onions, and orange wedges lodged into the cavity of the breast
Gravy made from the pan drippings and poultry stock

Now let’s move on to the sides. I have never stuffed a turkey and never intend to do so, because it takes so much longer to cook, and the “stuffing” I propose here is so much better baked in a dish alongside. In the American South, we call this “dressing.” And it absolutely must be mostly cornbread, and it must always include celery and onions. But after that, I break with tradition and make my dressing differently every year. This year’s version will be:

Dressing of cornbread and wheat bread cubes tossed with sauteed onions, celery, wild chanterelle mushrooms, red peppers, and spicy sausage moistened with eggs, poultry stock, and cream

I don’t find it necessary to add another “starch” to my menu, since the bread dressing is more than enough. But veggie sides are a must at Thanksgiving.  Here are the ones I will be making this year:

Mashed rutabagas with sour cream and dill
Braised Brussels sprouts and cipollini onions with maple-Dijon mustard glaze
House-made pickled beet wedges

And, since I bought a small sugar pumpkin last week, I offer a pumpkin pie for dessert, but this is not your typical pie! After making my piecrust, I bake it briefly before adding a “praline” mixture of brown sugar, chopped pecans, and a drizzle of cream on the bottom of the crust and bake again until the mixture is bubbly. Then, I add the traditional pumpkin pie filling over top and finish baking the pie. The result is kind-of a cross between pumpkin pie and pecan pie. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream is a welcome addition if you choose.

Praline-Bottomed Pumpkin Pie Chez Edouard

I am also planning additional posts throughout the next few days to
(hopefully), inspire you in creative ways to use leftovers that you might not
have encountered before.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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