Turkey Chili

Hi, American readers! Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? Lots of leftovers? Good!
When you’ve had all the turkey, cranberry, and mashed potato sandwiches you can stand, (what? you’ve never had mashed potato on your sandwich?) try this turkey chili it’s excellent for using up the rest of your leftovers! (for international readers bookmark this for Christmas!)


Turkey Chili
For the Spice mixture:
2 teaspoons each: Chili Powder, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Dried Oregano.
2 tablespoons Flour.
Mix all ingredients well and set aside.

For the Chili:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup diced Onion
1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
2 cloves minced Garlic
1 can Black Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes (with juice)
3 tablespoons Salsa
2 cups frozen Corn
4-6 cups shredded Leftover Turkey
1 quart Turkey Stock
2 cups Water
Salt & Pepper

In a large stew pot add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.
Add the onion, cilantro, and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes.)
Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the onion mixture.
Then add the tomatoes with the juice, the salsa, and corn.
Next, add the spice mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are well coated.
Add the turkey and mix well.
Add the stock and water and stir to combine everything. Bring to a low boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the chili is thickened and piping hot. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.

Serve with cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and tortilla chips crumbled over the top.

Turkey & Pesto Panini Sandwiches

Panini style grilled sandwiches elevate the humble grilled cheese of our childhood lunches to a meal fit for a weeknight.

Tools: Grill pan or stove top griddle, two clean bricks, aluminum foil.

That’s right you’ll need two bricks to make this sandwich. If you have the space to store a panini maker then that’s great, I don’t so, I use bricks to weight the sandwiches and make them really, really flat and crispy! Also, I payed $4 for mine.

Turkey & Pesto Panini Sandwiches (Makes 4)

1 lb Sliced Turkey
8 Slices Provolone Cheese
1/2 cup Prepared or Homemade Pesto
8 Slices Fresh Tomato
1/2 cup Melted Butter
8 Slices Sourdough Bread

Heat the griddle over medium heat, and wrap your bricks in foil.
Spread the Pesto on the bread then layer the Cheese, Turkey, and Tomato.
Brush the butter on the outside of the sandwich and lay it on the griddle. Set the brick on top of the sandwich and cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip the sandwich over and replace the brick and cool for another 2-3 minutes or until it’s golden and crunchy.

Variations are endless: Ham and Cheddar, Basil, Tomato & Mozzarella, Apples and Brie…I’m hungry now.

Dinner Tonight: Turkey Burgers

Raise your hand if you’ve given up on turkey burgers?
Because you need to cook the meat all the way through it’s very hard to get the inside done before the outside is burned up, right? And forget grilling them on the barbecue, they’ll fall apart when you turn them.
Yeah me too. Until I had a small eureka moment. Sear the outside then bake until done!

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs Or 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes

At this point if you want to opt for a little more flavor by adding herbs, finely grated onion, or cheese go for it. I thought we would keep it simple this time around.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Form the turkey mixture into 4 large or 6 small patties.
Heat a griddle or large non stick saute pan on medium high. Spray with cooking spray.
Cook the turkey burgers for about 2-3 minutes on a side. Remember you want to just get a little color the main portion of the cooking time will happen in the oven.

Move the burgers onto a sheet pan, cover with foil and place in the oven for about 10 minutes,
or until you get a reading of 165 degrees on a digital thermometer inserted in the middle of the burger.

Rest the meat for at least 5 or so minutes before serving to allow all the juices to re-absorb.
This is the rule I follow for all protein. The larger the piece of meat the longer the resting time.

Serve on a toasted bun with your choice of fixings.

Ahhh, much better right?

Turkey Day Tutorial: The Big Bird!

More than any recipe, this is the one that terrifies novice and seasoned cooks alike. You can breathe easy. I’ve figured out the hard stuff so you can be the hero.
Thanksgiving Turkey

1 (18-20 lb.) turkey
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 lemons (quartered)
1 whole head of garlic (halved)
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Place breast side up in a recyclable foil roasting pan. No need for more dishes right?
Oh yes, and I should have said before You see that plastic pop up timer? Take it out! I’m yelling at you now, TAKE IT OUT!! That stupid little piece of plastic has been the ruination of countless roast turkeys! The reason being, it’s calibrated to go off at a much higher temperature to keep the FDA happy. If at all!

I’m begging you, use a probe or digital thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh meat; (which cooks slower than the breast meat) when your dark meat is done (165 degrees) your white meat is too.
Alright, rant over on with the bird…

Tuck the wingtips under the body of the turkey.
Fill the cavity with the lemon and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Let the turkey stand at room temperature for up to an hour.
Remember putting cold meat into the oven extends the cooking time and makes for a dry bird!

With your hands, smear the butter all over the skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the oven rack at the lowest position.

Insert your digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and set the timer function to go off at 165 degrees.

Roast the turkey, rotating the pan every hour until your timer goes off at about 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours.
Let the turkey rest for about 30 minutes before carving.

image courtesy of food.com

Turkey Day Tutorial: Brining your bird

Brining your turkey is the best way to add flavor and ensure tender meat.

Turkey Brine
Dry ingredients:
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups brown sugar
10 whole cloves
10 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 whole nutmeg (slightly crushed)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 cinnamon sticks (broken)
Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside or cover and store for up to 3 days.

Wet ingredients:
7 quarts cold water
1 bottle white wine like Riesling or Chardonnay
2 onions (quartered)
1 head garlic (halved)
1 large orange or 3 clementines
1 small bunch each: fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme

Place a clean never used tall kitchen garbage bag (do not use a scented or deodorant type bag) into a clean container (I use a rectangular 5 gallon bucket bought especially for this) and fold it over the sides so it can’t fall in while you are mixing your brine.

Next, pour the water and wine into the container/bag. Add the onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Give the orange a squeeze and plop it in too. Add the dry mixture and stir until most of the salt and sugar is dissolved.

After removing the giblet bag for the cavity of the turkey, and giving it a good rinse inside and out. Slowly ease the turkey into the brine, submerging the whole bird breast side down. Tie the bag up and place the container in a cold place overnight.

I put mine on the shelf away from pets in the un-heated garage. You can also prepare your turkey brine in a cooler, resting the brining bag and turkey on a bed of ice.

If your turkey wants to float, weigh it down by placing an inverted plate onto the top of the turkey (but outside the bag) and use large soup cans stacked on the plate.