Spatchcocking for Friendsgiving, inter alia

Yesterday we had an amazing Friendsgiving feast! It was a huge success, due largely in part to my husband’s approach to cooking the bird this year: spatchcocking. This was the fourth time we’ve cooked turkey and I must say, this method has been by far the fastest and best method he’s tried so far. Just look at the delicious results:

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If you’re interested in learning how to try this method out for Thanksgiving, check out Martha Stewart’s how-to.

You should also brine the turkey overnight accordingly, rubbing your preferred salt under the skin and letting it stand overnight in the fridge for maximum flavor. We had an 18 pound turkey, 14 guests and practically zero leftovers (aside from a little breast, which we will be reheating tonight, for sure). I’m telling you, this method is legit.

I made a couple of sides, which were a hit. They were based on Food and Wine magazine recipes, but with a couple of tweaks:

Sausage and Apple Stuffing Muffins

Based on a recipe from Food and Wine Magazine

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Ingredients:

  • Olive oil cooking spray for greasing the muffin pan- but I prefer just using silicone muffin cups (on sale at Crate and Barrel!), no oiling needed
  • 8 ounces french bread cut into 1 or 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/3 cups finely chopped fennel
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons chicken or turkey broth
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray OR I prefer using silicone muffin cups for even cooking and non-stick awesomeness. See below for a comparison of the results. The best part, you can just put the silicone cups on regular baking sheet, no need to buy a separate muffin pan!
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 4 tablespoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted. Transfer the croutons to a bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and fennel and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, garlic and sage and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no trace of pink remains, 5 minutes. Mix the sausage, apple, eggs and broth into the croutons; season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Pack the stuffing into the muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Loosen the muffins with a sharp paring knife and lift them out. Serve warm.
"Non-stick" muffin pan, never again!
“Non-stick” muffin pan, never again!

See the difference in the baking method? Silicone cups are much better, and they are also the environmentally conscious choice!

Another hit came from Food and Wine Magazine’s Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe.

The only changes I made were to use bacon fat instead of canola oil, omit the walnut oil and use hazelnuts instead of chestnuts. I also roasted the Brussels sprouts in the skillet for about 10 minutes on 400 after finishing off with the apple cider vinegar and nuts, then transferred the skillet to the stove top again to reduce the sauce before serving. It was a maaaajor hit.

I did unfortunately have a slight burn incident when making these little guys.

IMG_0015Word to the wise, DO NOT plop Brussels sprouts in searing hot bacon fat willy nilly. Be sure you are close to the skillet and drop them in slowly.

Luckily, we had plenty of wine and prosecco, so I quickly forgot all about these nasty battle wounds.

IMG_0014

I am now enjoying leftover pie and pistachio cranberry scones, and can’t wait to use the leftover gravy for all kinds of sauces. As you can tell, paleo takes a back seat this week. All worth it!

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