Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Turkey, Potatoes and Brocoli

Sounds really original huh?! I was strumming through my "Best of Martha Stewart 2002" cookbook last month and came across several different cultural versions of Thanksgiving meals. The "spice-cured turkey" (pg 253) called to me. Then I flipped over to another month and saw "Potato Gratin" (pg 233) and it called to me. Of course, Martha pays her food photographers quite well for stuff to call to me, right? So I decided then and there we'd have those 2 things one day this month. Yesterday was that day. A very long day. The turkey (which I unfortunately do NOT have a final photo of) was quite good. This was after a VERY trying time of cooking it...I almost lost my religion over the stupid fowl. But not quite. The potato gratin sounded fancy but surprisingly was kind of eh, so-so. I also served steamed broccoli with shallots and walnuts. One of my fav ways to make broccoli.

The turkey seemed daunting at first run through the recipe, but in reality it's pretty easy; just time consuming. I think if we were to host Thanksgiving at our house I'd use it and start a day or 2 ahead. For this one I used a cute little 3 lb Butterball turkey breast (found in the frozen meat section)...didn't feel the need to stick with Martha and her 15-18lb birds. I thawed the turkey (in its original packaging in a sink of cold water for about 3-4 hours til it was thawed more or less).
(the brine)
The Turkey: (per my adjustments--which were quite liberal)-Step 1
Brine (or a broth of sorts you make and soak the bird in for several hours, preferrably overnight)
3/4 c coarse salt
1 c sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1/2-3/4 c chopped frozen onion
2 bay leaves
1 bulb of garlic cut in half, length-wise
2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2-3/4 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp allspice
4 c water
Mix all together in a boiler and bring to a boil; remove from heat, allow to cool completely.
When it's cool place turkey in a bowl/dish; pour brine over it and add enough water (if needed) so it covers the whole bird and cover, refrigerate overnight.
Turkey Step 2:
Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix together the following:
1/2 stick butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Mix together well, set aside.

Now, place your turkey in a roasting pan. Pour a small amt of the brine in the bottom of the dish (maybe like 1 c)...you can pour the rest out or hold onto it for basting. Use 1/3 of the butter mixture and rub the top of the turkey down. Place in the oven. After 30 min, turn the heat down to 350F; recoat with 1/2 remaining butter and little brine. Con't basting every 30 min. When the turkey gets golden brown & crispy cover with foil and con't baking until an inserted meat thermometer reads 180F. (Ours took a little over 3 hours to cook).

Potato Gratin:
1 Tbsp butter
1.5 tsp EVOO
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 tsp sugar
4 small baking potatoes, peeled and sliced (1/8")
salt and pepper, to taste
4.5 oz Reblochon cheese (I used Camabert), coarsely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
**Preheat oven to 325F (I baked it at 350F b/c of the turkey also sharing the oven)
1. In med skillet over med-hi heat melt butter and heat oil. Add onions. Sprinkle with sugar. Sautee until onions are golden and soft.
2. In a casserole dish (I used a 10" round Corningware dish)--well greased--layer 1/3 potatoes. sprinkle with salt and pepper, 1/3 of the thyme, half cheese and half the onions.
3. Layer another 1/3 of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1/3 of the thyme, remaining cheese and remaining onions.
4. Now add the final layer of potatoes, sprinkle with salt/pepper and remaining thyme.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 25 min, remove foil and con't baking for 20-30 more min or until its goldening on top.

Broccoli: (adjust amts as needed)
Broccoli-fresh, coarsely chopped
walnuts, coarsely chopped
shallots, thinly sliced

In a med skillet over med-hi heat, heat EVOO. Sautee shallots til soft and goldening. Add broccoli and 1/2 c water, simmer uncovered til water is absorbed (add more water if softness of broccoli is not achieved). Toss in walnuts and little butter/EVOO and stir til they're warm. salt/pepper to taste.

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