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.

Roasted Duck

DSC_4946 [1600x1200]I had already started the duck in a 375 oven when the thought to look for sides struck me.  I wandered into this post and looked at the recipe for “gastrique” sauce and saw the honey roasted veggies and thought that they were something I could pull off.  I used what veggies I had on hand for the honey roasted side – parsnips and carrots.  I had no idea what a gastrique was.  Studying up after the fact shows such sauces to be made from fruits, usually.  Tons of recipes out there for those. If I do this again I will be more patient.  The sauce should have reduced more, and the honey roasted veggies needed more color.  The parsnips look like boiled French fries.  It all tasted pretty good but my technique really sucked.

Mmm… Stir fried shrimp over noodles.

There are parsnips in there.  I just wanted to mention that up front.  Genius move?  Desperation?  I will mention that the broccoli I wanted to use was way past it’s use by date.  Other than the parsnips, this was a straightforward stir fry.  Cook the shrimp almost done in a bit of oil then set them aside and cook the veggies in the same pan, add a bit more oil as needed and toss in plenty of minced garlic.  The sauce is chicken stock with a slug of Chinese rice wine, a splash of sesame oil, grated ginger root, a couple spoonfuls of the chili garlic paste, some rice wine vinegar, and a tablespoon or two of corn starch.  I made nearly three cups total.  Add the sauce when the veggies are still crisp, and add back the semi cooked shrimp, stir to combine as the sauce thickens.  This will work over rice, I used noodles today.  The veggies?  Well, the parsnips I mentioned, and there are carrots that were also prepared with the special super secret peeler gadget, sliced celery, water chestnuts, and sliced red onion.

Mmm… Meatloaf

Thawed a couple of links of Italian sausage and a like amount of hamburger this afternoon while I piddled about in the basement.  Nothing special about the recipe, an egg, a splash of milk, a handful of bread crumbs, some Parmesan and an onion, some minced bell peppers.  Odds and ends of spices: dried basil, oregano, onion powder and garlic. Tossed some veggies in after the meatloaf had a head start, then cranked the heat when the meatloaf came out.  By the time the gravy was ready the veggies had some nice color.

Crockpot Pork Roast

I was happy to see TaMara’s crockpot post yesterday.  They sure make cooking easy.  Mrs J hauled a pork butt out of the freezer and once it thawed we added a bunch of garlic, pushed whole cloves into slits in the meat, salted and peppered it,  and added a few cups of chicken stock.  Six hours on high and it was ready.

We tossed the veggies with a bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper.  Tossed a few sprigs of thyme on top and gave them 40 minutes or so at 350.

Slather some butter on that whole clove garlic bread and have at it!  Yum!

Some post-holiday snow

Not quite in time for the holiday, and it looks like it will melt soon enough to not be a bother.

I don’t think I bothered to turn the clock in the camera back at the end of DST, so the time is an hour ahead of the clocks here in the house.

Looks like an entire holiday meal has gone by and I haven’t mentioned it here.  Just this one photo:I roasted a small chunk of lamb (~3lbs) after an overnight marinade in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.   A couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary were rubbed over it and it cooked at 350 for just over an hour, to an internal temp of ~150.  It sat out with a loose tent of foil as it rested and I did my last minute flurry of table setting.  There was enough well done to satisfy Mrs J and the rest was rare enough to suit me.

I cooked some white potatoes with a diced parsnip in cream and butter and a couple of cloves of garlic.  They were great.  The gravy was made from turkey necks and chicken giblets with some home made chicken stock and with lamb drippings stirred in.  Also on the plate are some sprouts roasted with garlic and olive oil.  Serious good veggies even if you don’t care for steamed or boiled sprouts – these are just not the same thing.  Let them brown a bit, you will love them.

The little bowl in the background is a dipping sauce for the lamb, and it was good on the sprouts too.  I reduced the juice of half a lemon and a quarter cup of white wine with some minced onion and garlic and chopped fresh rosemary, then stirred in a stick of cold butter a pat at a time.  A final touch was a good squirt of Dijon mustard.  Yummy

How About Now?

About being tired of turkey yet, I mean.  This soup worked about as expected, the only thing I wish I had done different was adding the broccoli as early as I did.  Should have waited but ran ran into the “simmer the soup for a long time” mindset.  You know what I’m talking about-start it at a simmer and wander by now and again to stir it around a bit.  Some veggies just can’t stand long simmers, and broccoli is right there at the top of that list.  Bean, carrots, onions, potatoes?  Sure you can overcook a carrot but an overdone carrot still looks pretty good.  Overcooked broccoli?  It’s just sad looking.

Used a couple of those parsnips I bought, never put any of those in a soup before.  They held up fine but the very nature of the dish means that their particular flavor was lost-melded with the flavors of every other veggie in there:  Carrots, potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.  I spooned some parsnip chunks out individually just to see what I could tell, texture little different from the potatoes, I could tell it wasn’t a carrot by taste but that was about all.

I made the usual loaf of bread to go with the soup.  Used the machine with the basic recipe for white bread but I added lard rather than the butter the recipe called for.  I’m not going to make a  judgement on the basis of a single loaf but I can say that this loaf  turned out just fantastic.  I wish I could say that every loaf I’ve made in this unit turned out just the same but that would not be true.  There have been few outright failures and different loaves have risen differently.  Not sure I can attribute any particular change to a certain thing like bad yeast, or too much flour, or some other technical item-when a loaf fails I generally shrug and make the best of what comes out.  I will be making the next loaf with lard again.

Soup’s on!

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Growing Up Trixie: Venison Stew

This book takes place over the Thanksgiving holiday, so it is full of good food.  My favorite recipe comes from Mr. Maypenny, an independent gent, who lives in the middle of the Wheeler game preserve.  They think he’s a poacher and he ends up becoming their gamekeeper, but not until he shows off his cooking skills to Trixie and Honey.

From Trixie Belden and the Mystery Off Glen Road:

“Well, now,” Mr. Maypenny said, sitting on the bunk, “a stew just isn’t worth putting into a pot unless you put everything in your garden in it.  In that I got turnips and parsnips and carrots and potatoes and beans and corn.  And I don’t use any water a-tall.  Why should I?  Onions and cabbage and tomatoes are full of water – the right kind of water.  I must have used a peck of tomatoes in that goo-lash.  Spices, too.  I’m a bit heavy with garlic and basil and thyme.  There may be some folks who don’t go for such, but it suits me to a T.”

 Trixie had been eating steadily…..”It suits me, too.”

In all honesty, I think that recipes says it all.  Start with 1 pound of stew beef or venison, cut into 1-inch pieces, brown in a bit of oil.  Add  the meat and the remaining ingredients, cut up about 4 tomatoes, 1/2 head of cabbage, 3-4 carrots, 2 turnips, 2 parsnips, 4 potatoes, 1/2 lb of green beans, 1 onion,  1 cup of corn and 1/2 cup water or wine, also – salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, basil, salt and pepper to taste – into a slow-cooker, cover, set on low and cook for 8-12 hours.

Beef Stew

  • 1 lb lean stew meat
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4-6 small potatoes, quartered
  • 8 oz baby carrots, halved
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • ½ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 tbsp flour


Place meat, onion, potatoes, carrots & spices in crockpot, add 6 cups water and cook according to crockpot directions, (usually 8 to 10 hours on low). Before serving, turn heat to high, mix 1 cup water and flour completely, add to stew, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, about 1-3 minutes.