Roasted Turkey

Festive celebration roasted turkey for Thanksgiving

330px-Squantoteaching.pngAmerica owes it’s tradition of the Thanksgiving feast to a man named Tisquantum (c. 1585?- 1622), more commonly known as Squanto. He was a member of the Patuxet tribe and is best known for being an early liaison between the native populations in Southern New England and the Mayflower Pilgrims. As a child, Squanto was been kidnapped by an English sea captain named Thomas Hunt and was sold into slavery in the city of Málaga, Spain. Squanto was among a number of captives bought by local monks who focused on their education and evangelization, and as a result, he learned to speak Spanish, French and English.

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Málaga in 1572, forty years before Squanto was delivered there in slavery.

Squanto eventually traveled to England and from there returned to North America in 1619, only to find that his village and tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic infection, making Squanto the last of the Patuxet.

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When the Mayflower landed in 1620, Squanto was one of the first Native Americans the members of the Plymouth colony encountered. As a diplomat, he worked to broker peaceable relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. He played a key role in the early meetings in March 1621, partly because he spoke English. He then lived with the Pilgrims for two years, acting as a translator, guide, and advisor. During this time, he also saved the colony from starvation by teaching the settlers how to sow, plant and fertilize native crops—including corn and squash, which proved vital since the seeds which the Pilgrims had brought from England largely failed. He also taught the settlers how to fish and how to tap maple trees for their sweet sap.

Because of Squanto’s central role in the survival of the Plymouth colony, a feast was held to commemorate the event. It was referred to at the time as “The Harvest Celebration of 1621” and is considered to be the first Thanksgiving that took place in the colony. From historical journals, the menu at the first Thanksgiving celebration between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag consisted of wild game that included venison, goose, duck, pigeon, and turkey, seafood such as mussels, clams, oysters, lobsters, bass, and eels. A combination of wild and cultivated crops including chestnuts, walnuts, squash, beans, and dishes made from dried corn was also been served.

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 12 to 14-pound turkey
2 ½ cups kosher salt, plus more if needed
1 cup white sugar
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked, more as needed
3 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

For the Turkey:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
½ lemon
1 stick of unsalted butter, sliced for basting

For the Gravy:
1 cup defatted pan juices from the roasted turkey
1 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Remove the turkey from the packaging and rinse under cold water.

Place the turkey on a rack in its roasting pan and prepare the brine.

For the brine, combine the salt, sugar, bay leaves, pepper rosemary, thyme, sage marjoram with 2 1/2 gallons water in a large 4 to 6 gallon container or cooler large enough to hold turkey comfortably. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Place the turkey in brining solution and refrigerate or ice overnight.

The following day, prepare to cook the turkey.

Pre heat oven to 425 º F.

Remove the turkey from brining solution; drain well and pat very dry with clean paper towels. Discard brine. Set the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set into a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, then fill the cavity with onion, celery, carrots and lemon. Fold wings under the bird. Truss the turkey up by the legs using kitchen twine. Roast the turkey for 35 minutes, basting with butter every 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 o F and roast approximately 3 hours more, basting bird every 30 minutes with drippings and butter. If the breast of the turkey is browning to quickly , tent the bird with aluminum foil , until and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165 o F.

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Pour the pan drippings into a large Pyrex measuring cup and allow to it stand to allow the fat to rise to top.

Meanwhile, make a gravy from the pan drippings.

Discarding any solid vegetables used in roasting the main meat dish, pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and let stand for 10 minutes. Skim off any fat that forms on the surface. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and pour in the fat/grease free pan juices, then the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into a gravy boat.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Corned Beef with Cabbage and Colcannon

Simple comfort food….The brisket simmered in Guinness with cloves and finished in the oven with a mustard, honey brown sugar glaze. Probably will make hash in the morning with the left overs for breakfast, and Reuben Sandwiches on Russian Rye for lunch.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Quail in Rose Petal Sauce

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In   Laura Esquivel’s Novel,  Like Water for Chocolate, the reader is introduced to this recipe in Chapter 3, where the love sick character Tita, who is a cook, prepared an elaborate dish with a rose, a token of love, given to her secretly by her lover Pedro. She calls the dish “quail in rose petal sauce”. At the dinner table, the meal receives an ecstatic response from Tita’s family members, especially Pedro, who always compliments Tita’s cooking. However, a more curious affect is observed in Gertrudis, her younger sister, not long after eating the dish, who begins “to feel an intense heat pulsing through her limbs.” It appears that the meal serves as a powerful aphrodisiac for Gertrudis, arousing in her an insatiable desire. This turbulent emotion pulses through Gertrudis and on to Pedro. Tita herself goes through a sort of out-of-body experience. Throughout the dinner, Tita and Pedro stare at each other, entranced.

Dripping with rose-scented sweat, Gertrudis goes to the wooden shower stall in the backyard to cool off. Her body gives off so much heat that the wooden walls of the shower stall burst into flames—and so do her clothes.Running outside, the naked Gertudis is suddenly swooped up by one of Pancho Villa’s men, who charges into her backyard on horseback.

“Without slowing his gallop, so as not to waste a moment, he leaned over, put his arm around her waist, and lifted her onto the horse in front of him, face to face, and carried her away.”

The escape of Gertrudis serves as a foil to Tita’s stifled passion. The intensity of the former’s reaction to the meal serves to communicate the potency of the passion that the latter possesses but is unable to express directly. With her primary form of expression limited to food, Tita takes the illicit token of love from Pedro and returns the gift, transforming it into a meal filled with lust. The manner in which Gertrudis is affected by the food and later swept away on a galloping horse is clearly fantastical, and the vivid imagery like the the pink sweat and powerful aroma only exemplifies the novel’s magical realism.

To  be carried away so gallantly,  in a moment of passion………..is magic!

And with that being said, this would be the perfect dish to make for someone you love, especially for a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy!

Updated February 2, 2018

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 quail (or 6 doves or 2 Cornish Hens)
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup dry sherry
6 peeled chestnuts (boiled, roasted, or canned)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red prickly pear fruit puree
(or substitute raspberries, red plums or pink dragonfruit)
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 teaspoons rosewater
Petals of 6 fresh, organic red roses, for garnish
Pepita seeds, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the serving platter in an oven set to low. Rinse the quail and pat dry. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and lightly brown the birds on all sides. Add sherry and salt and pepper to the quail. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn the quail, cover, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove the quail when done to your liking and place on a heated platter.

Combine the remaining ingredients with pan juices, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pan and simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, and/or honey. Pour the sauce over the quail on the heated platter.  Sprinkle with the rose petals and pepitas, for garnish, and serve hot.

Cook’s Notes:
The original recipe for this dish calls for rose petals, but you don’t want to use petals from conventional flower shop roses—those are treated with fungicides. Still, if you have some organically grown roses in your backyard, or know where to buy them, feel free to use them to garnish the finished dish.

If you cannot find any rose petals, 3 bags of  Tazo Passion Hibiscus Tea is a great alternative to use as well.

You can find rosewater at local Middle Eastern stores.

The original recipe calls for cactus. In this version red prickly pear fruit puree or juice is used and can be found at most health food stores—or substitute frozen raspberries or even use 2 large red plums that have been pitted and skinned, for the red prickly pear.

Another  substitution for the prickly pear would be  dragon fruit , which is closer in terms of the flavor given that both are cactus fruits.While you may not initially equate “cactus” with “edible,” the dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is indeed borne on a cactus. When the fruit is cut open, the flesh is revealed to be either snow-white or magenta pink and peppered with tiny, edible black seeds throughout — quite a contrast to the exterior.The flesh is mildly sweet, some say comparable to a melon. A source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C, the dragon fruit is widely cultivated throughout much of the tropics, particularly in Asia. Its popularity in tropical Asia combined with the dragon reference may lead us to believe it originated in Asia, but the fact is no one seems to agree on where it came from. We do however know it is in the cactus family (Cactaceae), and therefore almost sure to be of New World origin.

If you have a dove hunter in the family, try this with dove instead of quail. In fact, doves may be an even more romantic choice, if you don’t mind picking a little birdshot from your teeth. Cornish hens also work well, as a substitute for the protein in this dish.

 

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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