Phyllis' Kitchen...And All Around the House
Turkey for the holidays? Duck? Goose? Or quail, rabbits? BRFM vendor David Bagshaw of Valley Acre Farm has them all. And if the ducks and geese are half as good as my Thanksgiving turkey, you are in for a treat. These were heritage birds that he offered for the holidays, which meant the turkeys had smaller breasts, but more succulent dark meat.
Cooking a heritage turkey: I wondered how differently I should cook the heritage turkey, so I did a ton of research to my best experts, excluding the Butterball folks. Note that a Butterball turkey has an extra-large breast, and cooks with a lower temperature; quite the opposite of a heritage turkey. While I looked for a chart that would tell me how many minutes per pound, I did not find it. What I found, instead, was advice that I should wash and dry the bird, and loosen the breast skin, rubbing butter into the breast meat underneath the skin. And add a little butter to the skin, as well. After inserting the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, the directions told me to start cooking the bird at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes, and reduce the temperature to 400 degrees for the remainder of the cooking. I was skeptical, but after finding the same directions everywhere for a heritage turkey, I did just that. My 14 pound turkey was done in about 2 hours, and I never reduced the heat!
Here’s the rationale: seal in the juices at a very high heat, and the turkey stayed very, very moist. The meat thermometer told me 165 degrees internal temperature, and that was achieved in 2 hours or less—a much shorter time than cooking a traditional turkey at a low temperature. Perfect! It was amazing, gorgeous, very brown, and moist inside. Equally important in my family: the crispy dark brown skin, along with the bones, made the most incredible soup stock you have ever tasted. Now I am a believer!
Christmas Goose: If you want to try something different and opt for a goose from Valley Acre Farm this year, you might want to try the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: “The New Basics Cookbook,” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Know that goose is very fatty, and you want to remove the extra fat from the baking pan every 30 minutes. Some cooks advise cooking the goose breast side down so the goose fat does not drip into the meat, but New Basics have another method that works very well. Other than dealing with the goose fat, cooking a goose is pretty easy to do.
Roast Goose with Madeira Peppercorn Sauce
1 goose, 11-13 pounds
1 cup, each, pitted dried apricots and prunes
½ cup Madeira wine (or substitute sherry)
Juice and grated zest of one orange
2 Granny Smith apples
Kosher salt & coarsely ground black pepper
Paprika, to taste
8 slices bacon
Madeira Peppercorn Sauce (See below)
1. Place the apricots and prunes in a large bowl; add the Madeira, and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3. Rinse the goose well, removing excess fat. Prick skin all over with the tines of a fork to help release the fat while it cooks. Rub the goose, inside and out, with orange juice.
4. Add apples and orange zest to prunes and apricots, and toss to combine.
5. Sprinkle the goose inside and out with salt, pepper, and paprika. Stuff the cavity with the fruits, and close the cavity with poultry skewers. Lay the bacon slices across the breast.
6. Place the goose, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and place it in the center rack of the oven. Roast for 1 ½ hours, removing the accumulated fat in the pan with a baster every 30 minutes.
7. Remove the bacon, and continue to roast the goose, de-fatting the pan, for 1 hour more. It is done when the temperature reads 175 to 180 degrees on the meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thigh (but not touching the bone.) Remove goose from the roasting pan to rest for 20 minutes, covering with a loose tent of foil. Set aside the roasting pan. Serves 6. Serve with Madeira Peppercorn Sauce.
Madeira Peppercorn Sauce:
Pan drippings from roasted goose (without the fat)
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
¾ cup chicken stock
½ cup Madeira (or substitute sherry)
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained and slightly crushed
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ teaspoon gravy enricher (Kitchen Bouquet)
1. Skim any remaining fat from the roasting pan or remove it through a gravy separator. Scrape the browned pan drippings—sans fat—into a saucepan. Add the shallots, ½ cup stock, the Madeira, and the peppercorns. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Mix the cornstarch with the remaining stock until smooth. Slowly drizzle this into the sauce, stirring rapidly. Add the salt, pepper, and gravy enricher. Stir, and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve hot, with the goose.
Kathy Cary’s Roasted Root Vegetables I roast root vegetables all during the fall, and they are one of my favorite foods. When I learned of Kathy Cary’s method—think La Peche—I was sold! These are much better than mine ever were, and easy.
1 pound sweet potatoes, diced
1 pound celery root, diced
1 pound carrots, diced
1 pound parsnips, diced
1 pound turnips, diced
½ cup olive oil blend
2 cups Huber's apple cider (or use apple juice if you can’t find the cider))
3 tablespoons sorghum
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, toss the diced vegetables with the olive oil. Place on a greased sheet pan and bake 25 minutes, or until tender.
In a saucepan, place cider and sorghum. Reduce by half.
In a bowl, toss the cooked vegetables and cider reduction, thyme, salt and pepper. Serves 8 to 12.
And for dessert! One of my favorite—and easiest—pies came to me via my dearest friend, Carolyn Morgan. Her mother, Florrie Johnson was the author of the recipe, and I pray for her every time I make the pie.
Florrie Johnson’s Apple Chess Pie
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
3 cups grated (peeled) apples
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 unbaked pie crusts
Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs; blend well. Remove from mixer & add apples, vanilla & spices. Pour into unbaked pie crusts. Bake at 300º for l hr. The pie filling looks odd, but is very good. Serve w/vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Freezes well.
Blessing before your holiday dinner: One of the best “blessings before meals”—whether to God or the Universe—is this wonderful prayer by Marian Wright Edelman, from her book "Guide My Feet," and sent to me by Tom FitzGerald in his annual Thanksgiving message from the KY Resources Council. It offers prayers for farmers and cooks, who so often get overlooked in the Thanks department.
“God, we thank You for this food; for the hands that planted it for the hands that tended it; for the hands that harvested it, for the hands that prepared it; for the hands that provided it and for the hands that served it. And we pray for those without enough food in Your world and in our land of plenty. Amen”