Roasted Turkey Legs with Root Vegetable Mash

Roasted turkey leg recipe

Served up as a large dish to share, this edible mountain made up of turkey legs, pancetta and a root vegetable mash  will bring a sense of adventure to your dinner table. This imaginative recipe makes a delicious centrepiece for a Christmas dinner.

Recipe Adapted from
Lisa Goodwin-Allen

Great British Chefs

November 2019

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Turkey Drumsticks:
3 turkey drumsticks,  1 1/2 pounds (800g) each
1 large onion, large dice
2 carrots, large dice
2 celery stalks, large dice
2 garlic cloves, bruised
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups (1000ml) chicken stock
2 1/3 cups (500ml)   apple juice
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground black pepper

For the Root Vegetable Mash:
3 large potatoes, peeled and large dice
4 carrots, peeled and large dice
2 parsnips, peeled and medium dice
2 1/2 tablespoons (30g) of butter
3/4 cups (150ml) of milk
1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of ground black pepper

For Serving:
2-3 cauliflower florets
2 slices of pancetta or bacon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to  300º F (150˚C/Gas Mark 2).

For the turkey, place the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs in a deep roasting tray.

Combine the chicken stock and apple juice in a pan and bring to the boil.

Season the drumsticks with salt and pepper and place them on top of the vegetables and herbs and pour in the hot stock, ensuring half of the turkey drumsticks are submerged and the other half are exposed. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.Remove from the oven, take off the foil and turn the drumsticks over. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour – until the meat is cooked and tender and the exposed part of the turkey drumstick is nicely browned

Meanwhile, lay each slice of pancetta down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place another piece of baking parchment on top, followed by a tray to press down – this will stay on top during the cooking to prevent the pancetta from curling while cooking. Place in the same oven as the turkey for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.

For the root vegetable mash, place the potatoes, carrots and parsnips in a saucepan and cover with cold water

Bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. Drain in a colander and allow to steam for 5 minutes.

Return to the pan and place over a low heat, adding the butter, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Once combined, remove from the heat and mash as desired

By this time the turkey should almost be ready. Remove the pan from the oven and take the drumsticks out of the liquid and place on some kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture. Reserve the liquid.

To serve, spoon the mash across the center of a large dish or serving platter.

Using a pair of tongs, arrange the turkey drumsticks onto the mash with the small ends sticking up and meeting in the middle to form the peak of the mountain. Garnish with the crispy pancetta.

Using a fine grater or micro-plane, grate the cauliflower over the final dish to make ‘snow’ and serve with the braising liquid as gravy, on the side in a gravy boat.

 

 

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Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by George Washington after a request by Congress.Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, and its celebration was intermittent until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War. Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the date was changed between 1939 and 1941 amid significant controversy. From 1942 onwards, Thanksgiving has been proclaimed by Congress as being on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is regarded as being the beginning of the fall–winter holiday season, along with Christmas and the New Year, in American culture.

The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.Very little is known about the 1621 event in Plymouth. This feast lasted three days, and—as accounted by attendees Edward Winslow and William Bradford—it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 English Colonists.

 The only eyewitness account of the  event are reprinted below:

“And God be praised we had a good increase… Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

 Edward Winslow, Mourt’s Relation: D.B. Heath, ed. Applewood Books. Cambridge, 1986. p 82

“They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which is place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation: S.E. Morison, ed. Knopf. N.Y., 1952. p 90

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

These side dishes  served alongside a beautifully roasted turkey reflects a Colonial-inspired Thanksgiving menu that weaves together indigenous and Old World ingredients and traditions into a uniquely American feast.

SAGE AND HONEY SKILLET CORNBREAD

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With the help of Squanto and Wampanoag tribe, corn was one of the first crops the settlers learned how to grow and soon cornmeal became a diet staple and was used for making johnnycakes, porridges, and more. The difficulty of growing wheat in the northern colonies meant that other breads were a rare luxury, but there was always cornbread.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425º F. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven until hot, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, sage, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Melt 1 stick butter, and whisk together with milk, buttermilk, eggs, and honey. Whisk milk mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove skillet from oven, add remaining tablespoon butter, and swirl to coat. Pour in batter, and bake until cornbread is golden, 20 to 23 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

BAKED PUMPKIN

Native to North America, pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, having been used as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC. As a cultivar of a squash plant, pumpkins have a round, smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and most often appear deep yellow to orange in coloration. The original pumpkins were small and hard with a bitter flavor. Rather than using their nutritional and readily available seeds, pre-Columbian indigenous tribes along the East Coast and the Mid-Atlantic grew pumpkins for their flesh. Because of their solid, thick flesh, pumpkins served as an ideal food source for storing during cold weather and in times of scarcity. Indigenous cooks would often roast them whole in the ashes of a smoldering fire and then crack the pumpkin open to scoop out the pulp from the shells, adding honey or maple syrup and cooked again in the fire in a clay vessel. One of the first American pumpkin recipes was included in John Josselyn’s “New-England’s Rarities Discovered”, published in the early 1670’s. The recipe was for a side dish made from diced ripe pumpkin that had been cooked down in a pot over the course of a day. Once the pumpkin was cooked, butter and spices were added, much like the recipes for mashed squash or sweet potatoes seen today.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 small whole pumpkin, 6 to 8 pounds
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to at 350 ° F.

Wash the pumpkin, removing any soil; dry with paper towels

Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and place the entire pumpkin in the oven. Bake for about 2 hours. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Using a chef’s knife, cut the baked pumpkin in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds from inside; remove the seeds and save for another used if desired. Spread the pulp into am 8 x 8- inch casserole dish.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the pumpkin. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for another 35 minutes. Serve warm.

ROASTED DELICATA SQUASHES AND LADY APPLES

delicata squash lady apples

Photo Credit:  Anna Williams, 2012.

In Colonial America, English settlers were introduced to the pumpkin by Native American tribes. For the most part,  “pumpkin” (actually, “pompion” or “pompkin”) was the catch-all word for squashes of all sorts. In this sweet and savory side dish, the “pompions” are in the form of pretty Delicata squashes. The savory kick comes from slab bacon, an acknowledgement to the fact that pigs  were introduced by the Spanish conquistadors, thrived in the New World and pork was essential component of  the Colonists’ diets.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 delicata squashes (1 1/2 pounds total), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices,
   seeds removed
10 lady apples (1 1/2 pounds), cut in half
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then cut crosswise into
   lardons (1/2 inch wide)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black  pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Toss together squashes, apples, oil, sugar, bacon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until golden on bottom, about 50 minutes. Flip squashes and apples over, and roast until tender, about 5 minutes more. Sprinkle thyme over mixture, and serve immediately.

CRANBERRY RELISH WITH PEARL ONIONS

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Native Americans had been growing and eating cranberries long before the Pilgrims arrived, but the first recorded instance of cooking them into a sweetened sauce to serve with meat shows up in the 1670s.

Yields  2 1/4 cups

Ingredients:
21 white pearl onions
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook onions 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain. Peel onions, and cut in half. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover, and cook over medium-low heat until cranberries burst and onions are tender, about 40 minutes.

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Sweet Potato Pecan Streusel Pie

 

The only pie you'll need on your Thanksgiving dessert table, delicious Pumpkin pie with dark brown sugar topped with a Rich Pecan Streusel topping. Who says you need to choose pumpkin OR pecan pie?

 

This is recipe is a twist on the traditional sweet potato pie, using staple ingredients found in a Southern pantry with a German flair in having a  a rich streusel topping.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

One 9-inch commercially prepared pie crust (See Cook’s Note)

For the Sweet Potato Puree:
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Pie Filling:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
15 ounces sweet potato puree
12 evaporated milk
2 large eggs

For the Streusel:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whipped Cream, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place the crust in a baking dish and prick with a fork. Line the  pie crust with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Partially  blind bake the pie crust, until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the sweet potatoes, place a steamer insert or a mesh colander in a large pot and add enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer. Place the sweet potatoes in the steamer and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook over simmering water for about 25 minutes, until very tender. Check occasionally to be sure the water does not completely evaporate.Transfer the sweet potatoes to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, gradually add the milk then butter. Process until silken. Note: the puree can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

To a large bowl, add   thee sugar, light brown sugar,  flour, cinnamon,  vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the sweet potato puree, evaporated milk, and eggs. Stir to combine and set aside.

To make the streusel, combine dark brown sugar, old fashioned oats, chopped pecans, flour, butter, cinnamon, teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl.

Add the pie filling to the prepared crust. Add the pecan streusel evenly over the pie filling.

Place the pie in the oven and bake for 60  minutes until the middle of the pie is set or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean . Allow the pie to cool before serving with whip cream.

 

Cook’s Notes:

There is nothing like a homemade pie crust. If you have the time, here is a simple recipe for a for single-crust pie  pastry (9 inches): Combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cut in 1/2 cup cold butter until crumbly. Gradually add 3-5 tablespoons ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.