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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turkey Tetrazzini

Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  I've already roasted one turkey, with another still in my fridge, defrosting to be roasted soon.  And then, of course, more turkey on the big day.

I can't help it, it's 58 cents a pound, we've been/are/will be overdosing on Turkey for awhile.

Yes, Gus gets his share of turkey tidbits.

He will sit at attention and not move a muscle. 

Well, no movement except for the drool dripping out of the corners of his mouth.

He will subtly turn his head, wondering why he has been holding this pose for so long with no reward.

And then he will give it one last sit-at-attention-and-look-at-her-with-my-most-pleading-puppy-dog-eyes-possible-and-if-you-don't-give-me-a-piece-of-turkey-I-will-probably-spontaneously-combust attempt.

Despite Gus' best efforts to entice me to give all the leftover turkey to him, we will still have plenty of leftovers to make lots of tasty turkey dishes.  
Like this recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini.  It's not traditional Turkey Tetrazzini because

I don't bake it casserole style
I use broccoli instead of peas
it's not drowning in sauce
there's no cheese in the sauce
but there's cheese in the topping
sometimes I add mushrooms
but this time I didn't
I like to use sherry
but you can use white wine if you like.

Got a little carried away there, but I'm back in control. 

I think the message I'm trying to get across is that you should use ingredients to suit your tastes and preferences.

Today's Playlist
  • "Volare".........Dean Martin
  • "Runaround Sue"......Dion & The Belmonts
  • "Sway"...Ben E. King
  • "Roman Guitar"..........Lou Monte
  • "Fly Me To The Moon".......Frank Sinatra
  • "Stand By Me".......Otis Reading
  • "Little Bitty Pretty One".......Bobby Day
  • "Don't Be Cruel".......Elvis Presley
  • "This Magic Moment"...........Ben E. King
  • "Be My Baby".........Ronettes

Turkey Tetrazzini (serves 4 to 6)

For the Tetrazzini:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 oz. egg noodles
  • 3 cups leftover roasted turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into florets, about 2 cups
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sherry
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • dash of poultry seasoning
For the topping:
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Swiss cheese

Gather your ingredients.
Boil a pot of salted water and cook the noodles according to package directions.

I never give a step-by-step for pasta or noodle prep, I just assume that everyone can do this.  But as I'm writing "salted water" for the umpteenth time, I'm thinking I should do some explaining.

Just add a bit of salt to the water (I used about 2 to 3 teaspoons for six quarts) when you put the pot on to boil.  Don't worry, you aren't adding all that salt to your food, you are adding it to the water.  Some of it will be absorbed by the pasta, but most of it will still be in the water that gets poured down the drain after you drain your pasta.

Pasta or noodles taste rather flat if they are not boiled in salted water.  It really does make a difference.

Now that we've got that squared away, let's get back to our recipe.

Do all the prep, the chopping, slicing and dicing.

Dice the shallots.  Cut the turkey into bite-sized pieces.

Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets.

Shred the cheeses.   I've got approximately 1/4 cup of each shredded.

You can use any type of Parmesan that you like, I prefer Parmigiano Reggiano.  I like the taste, I like the texture, it's good stuff.

Make your bread crumbs.  Please make your own bread crumbs.  You need to make your own bread crumbs.
Yes, I do have store-bought bread crumbs in my cupboard.  No, I do not use them for this recipe.

Store-bought bread crumbs are good for other recipes where bread crumbs are just an ingredient.  Like when you make cutlets, or meatballs, or any type of recipe where you're mixing them into the dish and they are not expected to stand on their own.

The breadcrumbs in this recipe are part of the yummy topping.  Having breadcrumbs that taste like pulverized cardboard will kinda ruin it.

And for the record, I do not know what pulverized cardboard would taste like, I'm just guessing it might taste like store-bought breadcrumbs.

Okay, back to the breadcrumb prep.  I just take some bread, in this case it's the end of a loaf of Italian bread that is a few days old (in other words, it's stale).  Stale is good when you are making breadcrumbs.

If the bread is too fresh, just stick in in a preheated 300 degree oven for a bit to dry it out.

I tore the bread into pieces and put it in my mini-prep processor,

and I pulsed it a few times and then let the blade work its magic for about 12 seconds.  Yep, that's all it took.  Nice, fresh bread crumbs.

And your prep is done.  Onto the cooking.

Okay, first you melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium heat, and saute the shallots for a minute.  I did have a picture of that step but I hit a wrong button on the keyboard and deleted it before I could even yell "what a terrible picture!"

Then you sprinkle the flour into the pan, right onto the sauteed shallots.  And here is a terrible picture to document that step.

 Turn the heat up to medium high and whisk in the sherry.  

You can use basic supermarket cooking sherry if that's all you have, but remember it's really salty so make sure you adjust the seasoning. 

Add the chicken broth.  Let it come to a boil and reduce for a bit.

While the broth mixture is reducing, cook your broccoli on HIGH for 90 seconds in your microwave.  The broccoli should be tender, yet still crisp and not mushy.

Add the sour cream to the broth mixture.

Whisk to combine.

Add the nutmeg and poultry seasoning.  I never measure this, I just sort of shake them in, but if I had to guess, I would say there is about 1/4 teaspoon of each.

Stir the spices into the sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add in the turkey...........

.........and the broccoli.

Stir to combine.  Let it just simmer there while you prepare the topping.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saute pan.

Add the bread crumbs, and stir to combine.

These are the bread crumbs, after I stirred them into the butter.  You can see that they are still sort of dry; in other words, not dripping in butter, just barely moistened.

Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

Stir to combine, and immediately turn off the heat.  You really don't want to cook the cheese and melt it onto your pan.  You just want to soften it and incorporate it into the bread crumbs.

Drain your noodles and add them to the turkey mixture.

Stir to combine.

 The tetrazzini is ready to serve!

Pile it on your plate, topped with the cheesy, buttery bread crumbs.


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