Sunday, December 8, 2013

Plan B: Parchment
We had to go to Plan B for Thanksgiving which turned out to be the Martha Stewart’s method of cooking a Thanksgiving turkey…in parchment paper. After having my first bite of the finished bird, I decided that we were lucky that every store in Minneapolis had run out of the essential “turkey bag” the night before.
This bird was so delicious that I plan to cook both turkeys and chickens like this from now on.
Parchment is a fundamental tool when using the classic French technique of “en papillote.” This simple but elegant culinary tradition creates one of the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen. Steamed to perfection, “en papillote” would embody fresh, healthy cooking if it were not for the stick of butter we used in the process. That’s what made it so good and quite frankly, I never count calories on a holiday.
What was really sinful was the gravy. The drippings, which were slightly burned, generated the most amazing and flavorful gravy.
When it came time to eat, I couldn’t think about sitting down and digging in. I had already eaten far too much at the carving station just after my brother pulled it from the oven.
Plan A tomorrow: No turkey leftovers.
Bon Appetit!
Roast Turkey in Parchment Paper
1 – 14 pound turkey
10 cups favorite stuffing
1 stick butter, softened
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Let turkey stand at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in lower third. Pat turkey with paper towels. Fill body cavity with 6 cups stuffing. Fill neck cavity with 4 cups stuffing. Secure skin flaps with toothpicks or skewers. Spread 6 tablespoons butter over top of turkey, then season with salt and pepper. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under turkey.

Place a 40’ sheet of parchment on a work surface and spread with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Place turkey on top with a short side of bird facing you. Gather ends wrapping turkey. Fold overlapping ends of parchment over turkey and secure with staples. Place a 48” sheet of parchment on work surface, place turkey on top and rotate 90 degrees. Fold short parchment sides over turkey and secure with staples. Rotate bird another 90 degrees and repeat process with another 40” sheet of parchment. Secure all paper flaps with staples.
Place turkey in parchment on a flat not V shaped rack inside roasting pan. Roast turkey 2 hours, 45 minutes. Remove from oven; cut open parchment with scissors.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. While holding drumsticks, slide parchment out from under turkey and discard. Return turkey to oven. Continue to roast until golden brown and thermometer inserted in breast reads 165 degrees, about 45 minutes more. Transfer to a carving board and let rest at least 45 minutes or one hour before carving.
Meanwhile, remove stuffing from both cavities; transfer to an 8” square baking dish and bake until thermometer inserted in center of stuffing reads at least 165 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.
Use drippings in pan to make gravy.
Apple and Cranberry Galette

This free form pie with cranberries and apple slices is a stunning finale for any holiday meal. You can also use pears and pears do not require precooking.

This is one of my favorite recipes because it does not have much sugar so you really get the true taste of the fruit.

The recipe makes 2 galettes.

For the pastry:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbs. white cornmeal
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
6 Tbs. sour cream
1/2 cup ice-cold water

For the filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs. honey
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 large Granny Smith apples, about 4 lb. total, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
Sugar for dusting (optional)
Crème fraîche for serving (optional)

To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Scatter the chunks of butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and ice water. Drizzle the mixture over the dough and pulse until the dough is smooth and clings together. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, in a large fry pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the apple slices and simmer until the apples begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple slices to a bowl.

Add the cranberries to the liquid in the fry pan and simmer until they start to pop, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the bowl with the apples. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil the liquid until reduced slightly, then spoon over the fruit.

Position 2 racks in the middle of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each half into a round about 12 inches in diameter and transfer to separate baking sheets. Divide the fruit filling equally between the pastry rounds and spread it in an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border uncovered. Fold the border over the fruit, pleating the edges to form a rim. Lay the butter slices over the exposed fruit. Dust the pastry rims with sugar.

Bake the galettes, rotating them 180 degrees at the midway point, until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the galettes cool completely on the pans. Serve with crème fraîche. 

Makes two 9-inch galettes; serves 10 to 12.