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Monday, November 22, 2010

Hungry Yuppies Take Turkey Day

Not only is Thanksgiving THE food holiday of the year, it also happens to be my favorite holiday. A day filled with eating, drinking and napping, and not feeling guilty about it either! This year I will be flying south with Rich for Turkey Day with his family, so it will be the first time in my 25 years that I won't be home. The weekend before I decided to invite my parents for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner over at our place. My mom is always hosting us and she will have plenty of cooking to do next week, so I thought it would be nice to cook instead. I didn't want to re-create the usual dishes (since we will all be eating them again in a few days), so I've found some new twists on the classics. For a starter I'm making baked brie and fresh figs. It is incredibly easy to make, yet so impressive (and decadent) when you serve to guests. I've had with with fruit filling before, but I'm using caramelized onions instead. Since I won't have all day to cook an entire bird, I'm preparing turkey breast cutlets with pancetta and sage from a Cooking Light recipe. My personal favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the stuffing, and I have found a fun recipe from Rachel Ray that combines stuffing with my other favorite food group...muffins! And finally, I'm making roasted Brussels spouts sweetened with maple syrup and simply steamed green beans for some greenery.

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Taken from Food Network's 5 Ingredient Fix
1 TBS unsalted butter
2 Large Vidalia or Spanish onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Cup water
1 Sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (5-inch) rounds brie cheese
1 Large egg, lightly beaten

Stuffing Muffins
2 TBS EVOO, 2 turns of the pan
1 Stick butter, softened
1 Fresh bay leaf, available in produce department
4 Ribs celery and greens, from the heart, chopped
1 Medium to large yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 McIntosh apples, quartered and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 TBS poultry seasoning
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
8 Cups cubed stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
2-3 Cups chicken stock

Maple Brussel Sprouts
Taken from The New York Times
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (or 10 grinds) black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Turkey Scaloppine Ingredients
1 1/2 LBS turkey breast cutlets (about 8 cutlets)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup flour
2 TBS olive oil
1/3 Cup thinly sliced pancetta (about 1 ounce)
2 TBS thinly sliced fresh sage
3/4 Cup white wine
1/2 Cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 TBS butter, cut into small pieces

To save time, get as much of the slicing and dicing done ahead of time. Start with the onions for the baked brie. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until just brown, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook stirring often, until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. While that cools, dice the onions, celery and apples for the stuffing and clean the Brussel sprouts. Heat oil and 4 TBS butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. When butter melts, add the bay leaf and add the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook 5 to 6 minutes to begin to soften vegetables and apples then add parsley and stuffing cubes to the pan and combine. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until all of the bread is soft but not wet. Butter 12 muffin cups, liberally with remaining butter. With a large spoon of ice cream scoop, fill and mound up the stuffing in muffin tins, removing the bay leaf as you go. Keep covered in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll the pastry to a 12-inch square. Spoon the caramelized onions in the center the pastry. Put a brie round on top of the onions and brush edges of both pastry squares with beaten egg. Fold pastry to completely enclose the cheese in the pastry. Press the seams together to completely seal. Arrange each pastry round, seam side down, on a lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each pastry round with beaten egg. Feel free to add decorations as well, I cut out leaf shapes and applied them with more egg. Bake until browned and puffed. In the meantime toss the Brussel sprouts in a roasting pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn down oven to 375 degrees when brie is done, and roast the sprouts for 30 minutes. Toss with maple syrup and let cook for 15 minutes more. At the same time, bake the stuffing muffins for 15 minutes, or until browned on top.

Place each turkey cutlet on a large piece of saran wrap. Cover with another piece of saran wrap. Pound the cutlet until about 1/4-inch thickness (this can also be done ahead, but you want to cook the turkey last minute). Season the cutlets generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat lightly in the flour, shaking off any extra. Heat two large skillets over medium heat. Add 1 TBS of oil to each. Cook until the turkey is lightly browned and no longer pink on the inside, 5-7 minutes. Remove turkey from pan and keep warm. Add pancetta and sage to pan; cook 3 minutes or until pancetta is browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Add broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to about 2/3 cup (about 2 minutes). Stir in butter. Add the turkey scaloppine back to the pan and turn to coat with sauce. Cook for another minute to blend flavors.

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.