Just wing it!

20190105_165634I was planning to have roast turkey thigh, but once the package was opened I discovered it was wings instead!  I had never cooked or eaten turkey wings before, but I love chicken wings rather than white meat.  This turned out to be a happy accident–leaving me wondering why I’d never tried turkey wings before.

Turkey wings look a lot like chicken wings–just much bigger.  “An Anatomical Guide to Chicken Wings” from Kitchn will give you a good start on understanding wing anatomy and how to describe the parts.

My turkey wings were just the “flat” and the tip–no “drumettes” in this package which was fine with me since my favorite part of the chicken wing is the “flat”.

I did a little skulking about on the internet to see what times and temperatures were recommended for roasting or baking turkey wings.  I discovered a wide range of temperature recommendations–from 275°F to 425°F, and quite a range of times–from 30 minutes to three hours.  (Just like with chicken wings if you look.)  After perusing a few recipes I decided that one using “crispy” in the title fit my appetite for this particular meal.

I seasoned the turkey wings (leaving tip and flat together–pure unadulterated laziness as well as the pressure of a looming deadline) with kosher salt and let them sit for about 45 minutes.   Then I patted them dry, rubbed them with olive oil, and put them on a rack on a foil-lined (more laziness) rimmed baking sheet, and gave them a final sprinkle of salt and black pepper.  After baking for 1 hour and 20 minutes I had some seriously crispy wings.  The only detraction was that the meat wasn’t as tender as I might have wished.  But definitely edible!

For my next attempt at turkey wings (yes, there will be another) I’ll try splitting the cooking time starting with just a little water in the baking sheet covered with foil, followed by some open cooking time for the crisp skin.

If you’re one of those people who think there is never enough crispy skin on the Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll love these.  Even the tips can provide some good nibbling if you are one of us.

The bones and the roasted tips from these wings went into the  Instant Pot for a quick little batch of brown turkey stock.  These wings will provide one more meal with turkey soup.

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A son gôut!

 

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A one-dish oven meal

It’s time to do the weekly (at least I try to make it weekly) troll through the fridge to see what is left from last week, to use for the first two or so meals this week. There’s some kohlrabi, radichio, fresee, lettucepart of a rutabaga, a head of radicchio, and there’s part of a bag of frozen butternut squash in the freezer that should be used as well since it’s already open. There are also two boneless, skinless chicken thighs and two black pepper and onion sausages.

The chilly, drippy, damp and grey weather calls for something warm and colorful. This weather has left me feeling like I really want quality time with the cat and a good book, so I’m thinking oven type meal. It can’t be a stew–already did that quite recently. So a roasted supper seems like a good idea–and something with lots of flavor!

I’ve been wanting to try roasted radicchio, butternut squash is good roasted too–and that certainly would be cheerful and colorful. Although I usually use bone-in chicken thighs for roasting, a little perusing of recipes from The Kitchn I found a suggestion for roasting the boneless, skinless ones as well.

  • A little further browsing suggested 425ºF.for about 20 minutes for the thighs.
  •  From Bon Appetit for roasted radicchio suggested 450ºF for 12 minutes for a head cut into six wedges–I think I’ll cut mine a little thicker
  • For the butternut squash, a recipe from Food & Wine suggested 425ºF for about 40 minutes for 1-inch dice of raw squash. The frozen squash is par-cooked, so I think the 20 minutes should work for that. Since this is frozen, I’m not expecting it to brown in the oven–it will be too wet, but better than dealing with way too much squash. It should still taste good.

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It was a pretty good result for a trial run with just whatever was in the fridge, and went into the oven all in one baking dish.  It’s a combination that will likely even happen as a planned meal in the future.

The chicken thighs didn’t brown much but were tasty; however, I definitely my chicken thighs bone-in and skin-on–especially if you salt and air dry the skin so that it gets crispy and brown. I may have to give bone-in a bit of a head start on cooking, then add the other stuff.

The butternut squash did as expected–cooked fine but didn’t brown. Again, still tasted good and it was great with the radicchio.

I didn’t get part of the core with the radicchio, so my wedge fell apart–oh well, a learning experience. But roasted radicchio is now right up there with grilled or roasted cabbage. The edges a little brown and almost charred, but tender (though still some texture. The bitterness of this against the sweetness of the squash was great. That’s a combination I’ll come back to again.

It wasn’t particularly photogenic since the radicchio fell apart as I removed it from the baking dish to my plate and the chicken wasn’t browned, but it was a very tasty meal with some good taste contrasts.

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 A son gôut!

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Red Cabbage and Beet Salad

It is probably obvious that I consider beets and cabbage both to be under-appreciated vegetables. After making  cabbage steaks this recipe for Warm Roasted Red Cabbage and Beet Salad from Will Frolic for Food just really clicked with me.

It’s not  complicated, nor does it take that long even with the separate preparation for the beets and the cabbage–but well worth doing. It’s a veritable symphony of flavors with the roasting providing all sorts of additions to the flavor. This has been added to my list of awesome recipes!

I’d agree it could be a meal with the chickpeas added. I omitted the chickpeas with part of it and used it as a side (only the one) for both roasted chicken leg quarters, as well as for griddled pork steak and I’d do it with lamb steak, too.

If you have not got red cabbage on hand, it’s worth doing with plain old white cabbage–though not quite as striking in color–still very tasty!

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Turkey–with truffle butter

Thanksgiving does have its good points–getting together with friends! There’s another positive thing, especially if you are like me, someone whose favorite part of the turkey is the dark meat: you can find turkey thighs in the grocery store. That means dark meat in quantities suitable for cooking for one.

Perusing my food-related emails a few days ago I found one from D’Artganan–my favorite source of foodstuff that can be hard to find (e.g. the cassoulet  ingredients–no, I didn’t say it was inexpensive). There was a link to a delightful video on preparing your Thanksgiving turkey using truffle butter. (Attempting not to drool on my keyboard.)

You’ve seen from some of my previous posts that I really like truffles (not the candy–well, those, too, but…), even in my comfort food. In my attempts to be frugal and still indulge my tastes for the expensive stuff I do skulk through the “manager’s specials” and those carts full of end-of-season bargains. Sometimes I’m lucky and find an indulgence elsewhere. Not long ago I found a small tub of truffle butter at my local supermarket–marked down as it was lingering with the cheese and spreads, but not past it’s sell-by date. Needless to say, it came home with me–some of just have no willpower when it comes to food!

20161119_165833After seeing the turkey with truffle butter video, realizing that I had truffle butter, and turkey thighs to hand, I decided to try  turkey this way. I decided (since I was roasting all dark meat) to use my Schlemmertopf  for this. I carefully loosened the skin over my turkey thighs, and as directed in the video, put bits of truffle butter under the skin. After soaking the clay cooker properly, I patted my turkey thighs in, sprinkled some kosher salt over them, and put the pot into a cold, 300ºF oven for about 2-1/2 hours–until they were nice and brown, and very tender. (Many recipes will suggest oven temperatures of about 450ºF, but I chose to use a lower temperature because dark meat can tolerate longer cooking, and it often tends to be tough. I wanted slower cooking to break down collagen and make my turkey really tender.

The skin did shrink away from the edges of one of the thighs–I would rather have had one big thigh instead of two small ones, but it seems those haven’t hit the stores yet. Size and skin shrinkage aside, I had some lovely dark-meat turkey nicely flavored with black truffle. Turkey my way!

A son gôut!

Cabbage steaks

As a fan of cabbage in many forms other than coleslaw, I was delighted to find this recipe on Avocado Pesto for Vegan Cabbage Steaks with Tahini sauce. Try it–you’ll have a very pleasant surprise.

Addendum:  In reviewing my notes I realize I used only 2 teaspoons of mustard rather than 2 tablespoons  called for in the recipe. The dijon mustard that I have is REALLY potent. I think with 2 tablespoons that would have been the only flavor you’d get.

Slow-roasted pork

It’s a day that shouts that fall is finally, really here–steady, gentle rain, cool breeze, a bit dreary–the kind of day that says cook something savory and warming.  As the weather has been getting cooler, I’ve been anticipating this kind of day, so on yesterday’s trip to the market, I had the butcher cut me two extra-thick, bone-in, loin end pork chops.  When I got home, I “prepped” them for roasting–a generous sprinkle of salt (for a dry brine) and let them stand overnight in the fridge. Though it’s not cool enough to turn on the heat, just what I get from the oven while these roast will be cozy, and the smell of roasting pork….almost as good a baking bread.

I’ve gotten two chops because I actually want to have extra meat. Leftovers in this case are welcome (which is, admittedly, unusual for me).  This kind of weather brings out a desire for soup-making and other hearty fare, and roasted meat is a good starter!

Slow-roasted loin-end pork chops

Note: The pork was roasted in the clay cooker–with very simple seasoning. I just wanted some big roasted pork flavor. I used loin-end chops here, but thick-cut shoulder chops, or country-style spare ribs will also work. I love the Schlemmertopf/Romertopf for cooking, but you can do this in a Dutch oven if you don’t have a clay cooker.  It will still taste good!

loin end pork chopIngredients

  • 1 or 2 extra thick (1-1/2 to 2 inches) loin-end pork chops
  • a generous tablespoon kosher salt (for the two chops)
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes scrubbed, cut into large chunks (eighths)

pork chops and potatoesPreparation

  • Pat chops dry and sprinkle kosher salt evenly over the chops.
  • Refrigerate overnight or for about 8 hours (up to 24)
  • Soak clay cooker for at least 20 minutes, add chops and place in cold oven set for 295 °F until easily shredded with a fork (about 3 hours).
  • Serve with roasting juices from cooker.

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roasted pork and potatoesI made the spicy grilled cabbage from The Kitchn, to go with this. The weather didn’t permit grilling (and lack of planning the oven, therefore the broiler, was in use) so I did a thinner wedge on a smoking hot cast-iron griddle. It was fantastic–no doubt this would be even better on the grill. The spicy lime sauce is yummy (and the bit that found it’s way onto the pork was good there, too).

I did make a couple changes to the sauce: since I was lacking the “smoky” grill, I added chipotle chili powder as well as the cayenne, and I used honey instead of sugar. (I would love to try this sauce with buckwheat honey in it, but none in the house today.)  Definitely a keeper of a sauce!

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There are leftovers–but I’ve planned how to use them. The pork is seasoned only with salt at this point–deliberately so that I have lots of flexibility in using the rest of it.  I want to try a pasta dish with the “pulled” pork, sage and brown butter sauce. There are roasting juices that will contribute to some good soup–maybe hot and sour soup, or maybe something with hominy and sort of southwestern flavor. I suspect that a serving of basic roast pork is headed to the freezer for a quick comfort-food meal in colder weather.

pork, potatoes, cabbageA son goût!

The less common parts of the beast

As you’ve seen in my posts on offal before, there are edible parts of the animal that you won’t find in the supermarket–Americans seem to focus on only the really choice (not referring to USDA grading here) parts of the animal–like steaks and roasts.  We relegate  some really tasty parts to pet food (not that I don’t love the cat–I’ll share).

If you want to sample some of these tasty bits,  you’ll  need a local supplier who butchers their own animals or you can likely find some of these other edible parts in an Hispanic or Asian market, though I’ve noticed that pork belly has been showing up in the meat case at my local Harris Teeter recently.

For cooking instruction for the odd bits, some of my favorite cookbooks for this “nose-to-tail” or “everything but the oink” eating are by Fergus Henderson and Jennifer McLagen. See Bibliography page.

This really isn’t offal–it’s not an internal organ, but it is part of the beast that we don’t usually cook (except as bacon), kind of like jowels or cheeks.  For some really luscious pork, you should try pork belly.  This is going to be more like what you’d get if you attend a “pig pickin'”, rather than the usual pork roast that shows up on the dinner table.  If these pictures from Eat the Earth don’t have you drooling on your keyboard, I can’t imagine what will.

The method used there was from Jamie Oliver.com; here is a recipe for roast pork belly.  This is serious comfort food–and it’s good to be able to get this without having to wait for an occasion where the whole pig has been cooked. Now that you’re acquainted with “less common” parts of the beast you should check out true offal: heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and even the stomach and intestines. (Frankly, I have cooked and eaten tripe (stomach) and chitterlings (intestines), and probably will not ever cook those two bit of offal again–unless it’s the intestines as the casing of sausages.  That’s a whole different thing.  I’ll happily have a go at most of the other organs.

Since I’ve an easy supply of offal from Rose’s Meat and Sweet Market and a large Li Ming’s Global Mart (Asian) I’ve no problem getting the odd bits–like duck gizzards–so there will be more about offal as we go along.