Thursday, July 9, 2009

82. Turkey Tetrazzini

Date Cooked: June 8, 2009
Page: 292
Rating: A

I didn’t plan to make this dish but the circumstances surrounding a thawed turkey left me with a whole roast turkey and no dinner for it. My mother-in-law picked up a frozen turkey because it was on sale and it was left to thaw in my fridge with the intention of having it roasted for a family dinner. Life is hectic and dinner plans were cancelled but I still had thawed 15lb turkey that needed to be cooked. So I roasted it.

Now the last time I roasted a turkey it tasted great and the picture was horrible… The picture actually scares me to look at. This time around the turkey looked golden brown and just delicious. Of course I never thought to take a picture of it because it wasn’t for the book. Anyway I carved it up, we ate some and I figured I didn’t mind having turkey sandwiches for the next week or two (I love turkey sandwiches!). The next day though I was lamenting the fact I had not really cooked anything from the book in a long time when I realized that there was a recipe that required cooked turkey meat! I couldn’t think of a better way to utilize the turkey, not to mention when else was I going to have 4 cups of cooked turkey meat available.

This recipe was a vicious reminder of all my poor cooking habits that I had been trying to change. What a month of cooking familiar recipes can do to a sense of organization. Let’s just say that prepping the onions and mushrooms and turkey was easy. Everything after that was a near disaster. Basically three things needed to be on the go at once since I was trying to get dinner ready quickly. This was the first indicator of impending disaster. I was boiling water for the pasta, cooking down onions and mushrooms and trying to prepare the sauce which starts with a roux. Since I had decided that getting everything together first was somehow a waste of time I came very close to destroying the roux (but didn’t)… Let me stop for a second. This post is becoming as chaotic as my cooking techniques.

Okay, so cooking down the onions and mushrooms in butter was easy and once they had sufficiently released themselves of moisture I set them aside. The pasta I stopped cooking at al dente but since nothing else was ready it sat in the pot with a small amount of reserved pasta water. The sauce eventually came together with the only deviation from the recipe coming at the sacrifice of dried thyme instead of fresh thyme, I thought I had some (and I did), but it was a touch… aged, and not it the fine wine sense but more the backyard compost way. This is a common trend for me and fresh herbs. I always think I have them only to realize it wasn’t last week I bought them but several weeks ago. My sense of timing these days is a touch off.

So once everything was done the pasta and reserved water was mixed with the sauce, onions and mushrooms and turkey, oh yeah and some frozen peas. This entire mixture was placed into a baking dish and baked for about 30 minutes. I also forgot that I sprinkled the top with fresh breadcrumbs and parmesan.

When this dish was done and I pulled it from the oven, the whole ordeal was worth it.

Rating: A. This dish reminded me of the chicken pot pie. It was a stick to your ribs comforting meal. My wife loved it and both the kids ate it (although one decided that since I put the peas in it that I should take them out so he could eat it!). Next time I’m faced with four cups of chopped poultry I will try this again.

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