Grilling: Turkey Breast Dinner Menu

Got a good deal on a bone-in turkey breast this week, so I spatchcocked it and grilled it.

Rubbed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and extra sage. Put it in the wood pellet grill at 400º F for 15 minutes, then turned down the temp to 350º F for an additional hour. Came out at about 162 º F and was about 165º after resting for 15 minutes.

Made cranberry sauce (recipe here) and gravy, served with fresh tomatoes from the garden.


Turkey Confit


I did these turkey leg quarters last week and they’ve been in the basement fridge since then.  I finally brought them up today to finish them off for a nice Sunday dinner.I only had duck fat enough for one so I bought some cheap olive oil for the second one.  These have just spent four hours in a 275-ish oven and I’ve already lost track of which was which but I sorted them out today when they warmed back up a little.  I did do the green salt thing on both, letting them spend the night with a generous coating.DSC_1446You will want to brush most of it off but leave a little on because it’s delicious.  I found a few recipes online for the salt mix but most agree that fresh thyme and parsley should be part of it, tarragon, bay leaves, and green onions were also suggested.  This time I went with parsley, thyme, and sage.  A food processor makes short work of blending the kosher salt with the herbs.  Like mine, they can spend a week or more submerged in the oil.  When you are ready to eat them, let most of the fat drain off then brown them in a skillet on the stove top and then pop the skillet into the oven to warm through.DSC_1517I made more cranberry sauce to go with the turkey, and roasted some root veggies with honey and olive oil.  There’s a slab of Parmesan polenta under there, too.  These are absolutely the best turkey legs I’ve ever eaten.  The green salt was perfect and the meat came right away from the bones.

T-day Rehearsal Dinner

DSC_7344 (1600x1060)We have been deciding on a Thanksgiving dinner menu and have it set, mostly.  Nothing here will be a part of the dinner save for a cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce.  The dressing was a trial run, I think it will work out.  It has homemade cornbread and was good but I think I may go half and half with white bread next time because the cornbread was a tad crumbly.  On the plate tonight are braised chicken thighs, the dressing, mushroom gravy, corn, cranberries from a can, and ciabatta rolls with garlic butter.

The big day will see a table groaning under a roasted turkey, dressing, garlic mashed white potatoes, pecan praline sweet potato casserole, huge fresh baked dinner rolls, a tub of gravy, scratch made cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and Mrs J’s Famous Pumpkin Pie.

Getting an Early Start

Raining today, not going out much, still thinking about side dishes.  The turducken will have some dressing with it but it won’t have my dressing.  I decided to make some today that I could pop into the oven tomorrow.  Just a basic cubed bread stuffing with onions and celery, mushrooms, sausage with fennel seeds and some dried parsley, sage, red pepper flakes, and ground back pepper.  All held together with chicken stock.  Probably some items not in that list, the odd spice or two.

basic dressing in a throw-away tin pan

I found a cranberry sauce recipe that looked better on paper than it does in the pan.  Fresh cranberries plus diced fresh fruit and chopped dried fruit.  Cinnamon and nutmeg.  I have it all simmered out and cooling.  Maybe it will look better when it’s cooled and adding a spot of color to the table.  It does smell good.  I hewed pretty close to the recipe, I did zest the orange before I peeled it and added the zest in with the orange that I chopped but didn’t puree.  My dried fruit selection was rather pedestrian-golden raisins, regular raisins, and…dried cranberries.


Just as an aside:  Real nutmeg rocks!  There may be better graters for nutmegs but the Microplane “Zester” does an excellent job, and works well for the cinnamon, too.  [Mrs j just tasted the cranberry sauce and says it is good.]

For whatever reason, my camera just doesn’t handle reds very well.  The picture makes it look ickier than it really looks!  It is a deeper red/purple.

Stay tuned!  I have some parsnips I’m still pondering over.

Cornish Game Hen Update

The Cornish Game Hens came out really nice.  And so simple, pretty much foolproof, which is the way I like my recipes. No major notes to add.  I did have to cut my own hens this year and it was a very simple task.  Sharp knife and two cuts.  I expected it to be a bit more difficult.  Though I’ve deboned a turkey, so maybe my expectations are skewed.

I raised the oven temperature to 400 degrees during the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the skin a bit more.  I used less butter and more chicken broth for basting, so it may have slowed the browning process.  It worked out well, though, because I made Blueberry Coffee Cake instead of Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies and the oven needed to be at 400, so I popped the cake in as soon as I removed the hens.

I served it with cranberry sauce, since I had some cranberries from the holidays in the freezer and with a tossed salad – greens, apples, walnuts and a vinaigrette dressing.