26 December 2014

Gobble gooble

"Gobble gobble" is what the turkey says. The verb "gobble" also means "to devour", as in "I gobbled it up" or "I gobbled it down". Yesterday, there was more human-style gobbling going on around here than turkey gobbling.

Here's the spicy glazed turkey ready to serve.

As it happens, I had a brilliant idea about this year's Christmas turkey — something I'll do again. A few days ago, Walt and I made a batch of Cajun-style chicken wings. That involves oven-roasting the wings, which are dusted with flour or corn meal, and then tossing them, after they're cooked and crusty, in a sauce composed of melted butter and Louisiana hot sauce.

Above, the poached turkey with its first coat
of the spicy glaze, before it went into the oven
As I was lying in bed awake early Christmas morning, having poached the turkey the day before, this thought occurred to me: Why not brush a glaze of melted butter and hot red pepper sauce on the skin of the bird before putting it in the oven, to make the turkey more perky? That's what I did, and It turned out great. The hot sauce is not at all overpowering, and it gives just a hint of heat to enliven the bland turkey meat.


Below is a photo of the cornbread dressing we made to have along with the turkey, Brussels sprouts, and baked potimarron (winter squash). I don't know if other people make bread stuffings like the ones we almost always have with roasted turkey in the U.S. at Thanksgiving or Christmas (or both). It's basically a savory bread (and butter) pudding.


Bread stuffing is made by lightly cooking diced onion and celery, lardons or sausage meat, and chopped turkey giblets (liver, gizzard, neck meat), with herbs (sage, hot red pepper flakes) and spices (cloves, cumin, etc.) in a good amount of butter until everything is done and tender. Then you add a large amount of cubed, slightly stale bread (wheat, corn, or whatever other bread you like) to the buttery mixture and toss it well. Add a couple of beaten eggs as a binder. Moisten the mixture with some turkey broth and bake it in a pan alongside the turkey (then it's called "dressing"), or stuff it into the two cavities of the bird (to make "stuffing"). (You can find many recipes for bread stuffings on the 'net.)

23 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas, though you are probably just waking up on the 26th! Everything looks delicious.

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  2. I do think I posted a comment this morning........Is blogspot playing tricks?

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    1. Sometimes there's a lag before comments appear... Yours is here now. Thanks.

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  3. Your turkey looks great. You are a fantastic cook

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    1. I love to eat, and cooking is the perfect hobby for somebody like me.

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  4. Thanks for the photos, Ken. It all looks superb. Have you ever roasted
    poultry directly after poaching? Of course, it's helpful to get it done ahead
    of time, but I wondered if the bird benefited from a day's rest. And how long
    did you poach that eight-pounder? It looks picture- perfect in its glaze.

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    1. See my responses further down the thread...

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  5. Merry Christmas to Ken, Walt, and all of you who celebrate Christmas.

    Very late, I know, but I was away from my keyboard.


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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. Hope you and E. had a good Christmas -- wherever you were!

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  6. Like Sheila, I'm interested in the roasting time for a poached turkey like yours. I may try your technique with a turkey breast soon.

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    1. See my responses further down the thread...

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  7. We had a pork roast, and didn't make a side dish of stuffing (well... dressing?), but I love cornbread stuffing. We like to add chopped apples, and sautéed mushrooms, and dried cranberries, too. Yumm. Lots of turkey or chicken stock, too!

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    1. I had mushrooms in the fridge, but I decided not to add them to this years dressing. Cranberries and apples would be good additions I think. I ended up with three liters of turkey broth, so turkey barley soup is on the menu for Monday or Tuesday.

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  8. Dressing and giblet gravy was always my favorite. I actually made some dressing that was edible this year! I sure miss my Mom and Grandmama's cooking around the holidays. Your dressing looks delicious! Tomorrow I'm making oyster dressing…another holiday favorite.

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    1. I want to make an oyster dressing soon. I would have put the cooked chicken gizzard and heart in my cornbread dressing this year, but I saved those two pieces as a treat for the dog. The liver, however, went in, with bacon and sausage. We'll be having turkey and dressing again either today or tomorrow.

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  9. Evelyn and Sheila, I put the turkey into a pot of cold water with seasonings, herbs, and onions, celery, and carrots. I put it on high heat and when the liquid came to the boil I turned the heat down and let the turkey (about 8 lbs.) simmer for 45 minutes. Then I turned the heat off and let the turkey cool in the liquid until it was down to room temperature. At that point, the turkey was ready to be oiled/buttered or glazed and to go into the oven for an hour at 350F. I put it on a rack in a roasting pan and poured some of the poaching liquid into the pan so that the turkey could steam and brown at the same time. My turkey was done at that point -- crispy glazed skin with moist meat.

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  10. that dressing looks heavenly! and it IS a perky turkey!

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    1. I'm thinking a rye bread stuffing might be good. Maybe I'll make that with oysters in it when I make dressing again. In France, we always eat rye bread with butter alongside oysters on the half shell, with lemon or shallot vinegar.

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  11. Looks superb Ken...
    that dressing gives a golden glow to the skin.
    And there's nothing worse than a dry hunk of turkey breast...
    or any dried white meat for that matter, pork included.

    I must remember to try this method on the next fowl...
    we have a Kirkland roasting pan from Costco...
    that came with a hints sheet...
    one of which was cook the bird the right way up....
    breast down as if it was walking around...
    for the first two-thirds of the cooking time...
    then turn it on its back in the traditional position.
    That has given some lovely moist breast flesh when we've roasted...
    most chickens sit that way quite happily....
    pintades need a couple of onion halves to hold them in position.

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    1. Roasting a bird breast down makes sense, Tim. I've done that before too.

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  12. Your bird looks great! I have brined mine but never poached it. The hot sauce sound good too. I ay have to give both a try.Your recipe for dressing sounds just like mine. I've never put in hot pepper flakes but I add toasted pecans. My dad always liked it with a pint of stewing oysters stirred in!

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    1. Hi Margaret, did I forget to mention the toasted pecans? I had some left from a batch I brought back to France from Morehead last spring. I'm sure oysters would be good too -- maybe next time.

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