Sunday, 8 November 2015

Terrific Tasty Turkey (in two hours)

How do you make moist, tasty turkey in two hours?  Flatten it! 
Cook your turkey in two hours? No, really I'm serious. 

By removing the backbone and flattening your bird you can reduce the cooking time dramatically. more overcooked breasts and undercooked thighs. All the meat pretty much cooks at the same time. 
HA! So there mister turkey!

This technique is called spatchcocking(not my word) and can be done with any poultry.

This bird weighs about 15 pounds. 

Chop one onion, two large carrots and two ribs of celery into large pieces.

Now for the big job. We need to cut the back bone out of this bad boy.

Using a sharp knife, make an incision down one side of the back bone.

Then the other side.

Lets wrestle with the turkey!

Starting at the neck, cut through the ribs. You need a bit of elbow grease here. If you are having trouble cutting with your knife, try using kitchen shears. Take your time. cut all the way dow to the tail. It can be tricky getting the pelvis separated from the back bone. 

Remove the entire backbone from the carcass.

Give the breast bone a couple of wacks.
Using the heal of the knife as you would a hatchet. Press the two sides of the turkey to flatten it.

Cut the wing tips of and reserve them

Cut the back bone in half. Reserve the backbone, wings and neck.

Place the chopped veggies onto a baking sheet that is large enough to hold your bird.

I like to use fresh herbs from my garden. I have used parsley, rosemary and thyme. Use dried thyme and rosemary if you don't have fresh. If you haven't got fresh parsley, just leave it out. 

Generously salt and pepper the inside of the turkey 

Flip it over. Coat the skin with oil. Salt and pepper the skin.

Place the turkey in the fridge for an hour of two or up to overnight. 

While the turkey is sitting in the fridge, make some stock for gravy. Chop an onion, 1 rib of celery, and one carrot. Place the veggies into a large pot.

Add the stems of the parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Add a one half of the back and the wing tips to the pot.

Cover everything with cold water.

Add salt and pepper. bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat for several hours. This can be prepared the day before.

So now, how do you make the dressing? you ask. 

Prepare everything as you normally would. This is how I make mine.
Chopped onions and celery, butter, chicken stock, salt and pepper, finely chopped parsley, rosemary and thyme. and a bit of grated ginger.
I cook mine in the microwave until the veggies are tender

Stale white bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes. I have about 10 cups here. Combine the bread and the cooked veggies.

Place the bread mixture onto a large greased piece of tin foil. Nestle half of the backbone and the neck down into the bread cubes. This will impart great turkey flavour, just like if you were stuffing your bird. 

Wrap the dressing up and refrigerate till later.

Bring your turkey out of the fridge for an hour before it goes into the oven. Bake at 375 for 2-21/2 hours. Don't add any liquid to the pan for the first hour. After the first hour of baking you can add two cups of water to the pan. Using an instant read thermometer, check the temperature of the thigh meat after the first two hours of baking. The turkey is done when it is 165 degrees. It may need to bake a bit longer, like 30 minutes. This time can vary due to several factors. Such factors include your individual oven temperature(not all ovens cook to accurate temperature), the size of your bird(the bigger the bird the longer the cooking time, and even the age of your turkey can affect the time. Be flexible and allow extra time.

Look at that! Beautiful, crispy golden skin. Moist breast meat and tender thigh meat.

Cover and let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes. Put the dressing package in the oven to cook while the turkey is resting. The dressing should cook for about one hour. 
Remove the turkey to a cutting board to carve it. Scrape the baking sheet. There will be lovely golden drippings to make gravy with.

Terrific Tasty Turkey

1- turkey, thawed, giblets and neck removed from the cavity
Salt and pepper
canola oil 
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary(2 teaspoons dried)
2-4 sprigs fresh thyme(1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup fresh parsley(leave out if you don't have fresh)
2 cups water

Remove the back bone from the turkey as illustrated. Remove the tips from the wings. Place the veggies and herbs onto a baking sheet.  Salt and pepper the inside of the turkey. Place the flattened turkey onto the veggies. Oil, salt and pepper the skin. Place the turkey, uncovered, into the fridge. Let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before baking. Bake, uncovered for 2-21/2 hours at 375 degrees. Add two cups water to baking pan after the first hour.

Stock for Gravy
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 of the back bone and the wing tips
water to cover(about 4-6 cups)
salt and pepper

Combine all into large pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2-4 hours. Strain the broth and reserve for gravy. Can be prepared the day before. Thicken using flour or cornstarch as you would for gravy.

1/2  onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
salt to taste
pepper to taste
10-14 cups white bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 turkey backbone and turkey neck

In a large glass bowl combine the first 10 ingredients. Cook in microwave stirring every two minutes until the veggies are cooked. add the veggie mixture to the bread cubes and mix well. Place the bread mixture onto a large sheet of greased tin foil. Nestle the backbone and neck into the cubes. Fold the edges to seal the package. Put into the fridge until ready to bake. Bake for one hour.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Da Bomb Fish Tacos

Absolutely the best fish tacos ever, and I'm not just saying that. I have tried a few. In Mexico, US and Canada. I like these best. So much more than the sum of its parts.
 Smokey, spicy, tangy, crunchy, creamy. Yummy!  

Start by assembling the spice rub for the fish. You can prepare this rub in advance, if you like. Or even prepare a triple batch and keep it in a jar. Combine everything, salt, pepper, cayenne, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and cumin. Set aside.

Smoked paprika is with looking for. I found mine at Winners. It imparts a pleasant, smokey quality to the fish, almost like they have been grilled over a wood fire. If you can not find smoked paprika, substitute it with regular paprika.

Next step. Prepare the slaw. Finely shred 3 cups of green cabbage. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup cilantro. Combine cabbage and cilantro into a medium bowl. 

Prepare the dressing for the slaw. Combine 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Pour dressing over the cabbage and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the tacos. The cabbage will wilt slightly, this is normal.

Prepare the spicy mayo. Combine mayonnaise(I like Hellmann's), garlic, cumin, chili powder, lime juice, honey, Frank's hot sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble. I like to put my spicy mayo in a squeeze bottle. This mayo will keep for a week in the fridge.

Sometimes I like to make shrimp tacos.
I like to use peeled and deveined shrimp. Thaw the shrimp overnight in the fridge. Rinse shrimp with cold water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towel .

Use any mild flavoured with fish. I like Hake, it kind of reminds me of cod. Thaw fish overnight in the fridge. Use fresh fish if you wish.

I like to cut the fish fillets in half so that one half is used for one taco.

Coat the shrimp with a bit of canola oil and sprinkle generously with the spice mixture.

Coat the fish fillets with a bit of canola oil and sprinkle generously with the spice mixture.

Bake the fish/shrimp at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque. Be careful not to over cook.

Assemble the taco. I like to pass bowls of chopped avocado, finely chopped red onion, cilantro and extra lime.

Everyone can assemble their own and make it the way they like it.
I like mine loaded

Roll it up.
 Nom, Nom, Nom!

2-3 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Smokey spice rub for fish
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper(optional)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika(use regular paprika is you cannot find smoked)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Spicy Mayo
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's)
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chill powder
1 tablespoon 'Franks' hot sauce(or more if you wish)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

10-12 8inch flour or corn tortillas
5-6 fish boneless, skinless, mild flavoured fish fillets(cod, sole, Northern Pike, etc) or substitute
 300-400 grams peeled and deveined shrimp for the fish. Thawed, drained and patted dry.
2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced, in and individual bowl for passing
1 avocado chopped, in an individual bowl for passing
1/2 cup fresh cilantro. in an individual bowl for passing
lime wedges, in an individual bowl for passing

Make the slaw- Combine lime juice, honey and salt. Stir well to dissolve the salt and honey. Pour over cabbage and cilantro. Toss cabbage with the lime dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the spice rub-Combine all ingredients. Set aside. Can be made many days ahead and kept in a covered container

Make the spicy mayo-Combine all, cover and refrigerate. Mayo will keep for a week in the refrigerator

Cook the fish-Cover a baking sheet with foil and parchment. Cut the fillets in half if the are large. Brush the fish with canola oil. Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the fish. Rub the mixture into the fish and let sit for five or ten minutes at room temperature. Bake the fish in a 400 degree oven for 10-15  minutes or until it flakes easily. Do not over cook.

Assemble the tacos- I like to pass bowls of chopped onion, avocado, cilantro and lime, so that everyone can customize their own tacos.
This is how I make mine. On a tortilla layer, avocado, onions, fish, slaw, cilantro, spicy mayo, fold, eat, nom nom nom.

Watch me make them on You Tube

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Grandma K's Chicken And Rice

 I grew up eating this and so did my Mother and her 10 siblings. My Mother made it for me and now I make it for my kids. My Grandmother was so good at making something from nothing and filling all of her hungry bellies with great tasting food. Another family favourite, my kids love it. This was her recipe.

Start with chicken pieces. I like skinless thighs and drumsticks. Use whatever your family prefers. Use only bone-in chicken, you need the bones to make great tasting broth to cook the rice in.

Coat the chicken with a couple tablespoons of flour.

Brown the chicken pieces in a few tablespoons of canola oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.

Cook on medium high heat, until the chicken is browned and there is a brown crust on the bottom of the pan

Add rice and water. Scrape the bottom of the pot to release the brown bits. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.Taste the water and make sure that there is enough salt, rice absorbs salt as it cooks. The water needs to be almost as salty as sea water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let the rice cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes the rice will be tender. Dinner is served. A side salad goes really well with this.

My biggest critic. Quality control.

Thumbs up! 

Chicken and Rice
Serves 6

7-10 pieces bone-in chicken
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt(divided)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups rice
4 cups water

Coat the chicken pieces with flour. In a Dutch oven, brown the chicken in the canola oil on medium high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken, about 1/8 teaspoon of salt on each side. It is important to have golden brown bits in the bottom of the pan, this makes for super flavour. Add the water, and remaining salt and pepper. Taste the water and add more salt if necessary. Bring the water  to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. The rice should be tender after 20 minutes. Serve with a side salad.