Tag Archives: Turkey

Old-Fashioned Turkey Noodle Soup — Foster’s Market

I seem to make this Old-Fashioned Turkey Noodle Soup once a year, around the holidays when leftover turkey is abundant. The recipe is from the Foster’s Market Cookbook, but fortunately, it is also online.

I start by cutting all the leftover meat off the turkey bone. I put the bone in a big pot, cover it with water, and add roughly chopped onions, carrots and celery (don’t bother to peel). Throw in a bay leaf and few whole peppercorns. I simmer this for a couple of hours, then drain and discard the solids. This homemade stock doesn’t take much effort and definitely results in a richer, more satisfying soup.

I like this recipe because it is very adaptable, and thus is a great way to make use of any leftovers hanging around. I omitted the pasta and parsnips this time, but I added a peeled, diced potato and, in the last few minutes, some leftover green beans. Watch the cooking times in the recipe: I think they’re a bit too long, especially at the beginning. I was able to shorten the time for softening the vegetables without any noticeable issues. This recipe will yield plenty of leftovers, suitable for freezing.

This soup is tasty and, after the indulgences of the holidays, very healthy. You can also make it with leftover roast chicken. Here is a link to the recipe on the Foster’s Market website. Enjoy!


Super Bowl Challenge: Sliders

This week, I had a challenge for our mini Super Bowl party, which was to make sliders. This was a real challenge for me because (a) I’d never made them before, and (b) I don’t eat beef. My husband requested both a beef and turkey version, so I did get to eat some of them.


Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? I’d say this challenge was an unqualified success. Everyone enjoyed them, and my toddler even ate half of one. I may have been designated the official burger maker of our family, which is funny because, again, I don’t eat beef.

The first issue for me was what kind of beef to use. Many of my cookbooks advise grinding your own meat for burgers, but I wasn’t prepared to go quite that far. I decided on ground chuck because of the higher fat content. Burgers need fat to be delicious.

I also needed a good recipe. After some Internet searching, I settled on this one by Alton Brown (I’m not going to re-type it; just follow the link). This recipe has an interesting technique. You roll out the beef on a large cooking sheet into a very thin layer. You then season the top part and fold it over. Cut that into squares to get the White Castle-style burgers. My only quibble was that the instructions were to cut 8 squares, which seemed to make very large burgers for something that is called “mini man burgers.” I ended up cutting them into 16 burgers, which was just the right size for our tiny hamburger buns.

Speaking of buns, I did attempt to make my own, but my attempt failed gloriously. My dough did not rise. I don’t know if the yeast was kaput, or if I did something wrong in the initial step when I combined the yeast with warm milk. At any rate, I intend to try again sometime in the future, as the pictures of the finished bread in Peter Rinehart’s Artisan Breads Every Day are just way too yummy to resist. Still, for this challenge, we ended up using the backup, which was mini Martin’s potato rolls. Nothing wrong with that.

As for the turkey version, I do have a turkey burger recipe that I have been working on for a while now, and that I think it is pretty good. (Scroll down for it). You do have to add some fat and other flavors to the mix, because turkey burgers will turn into hockey pucks if you don’t. I ended up using the same technique of rolling the ground turkey mix out thinly. Then I added a layer of cheddar to the middle before folding and cutting. The cheddar adds much-needed fat while cooking the burgers, and the little pocket of cheese in the middle is a nice surprise when you’re eating it.

As for toppings, I decided to go traditional. I provided mustard, ketchup, iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickle slices and pickled red onions (recipe to be posted tomorrow). Next time we make them, my husband wants to try a barbecue version using the barbecue sauce I made for a previous challenge. But for a football game, these little burgers couldn’t be more appropriate. We also had potato skins, cheese bread, guacamole and salsa for dipping — we feasted.

Turkey Burgers

This recipe was adapted from Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking. Makes 4 large burgers or 16 sliders.

In a bowl combine:

  • 1 pound ground turkey,
  • ⅓ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • cheddar cheese, cubed or sliced (optional)

Mix well and form into 4 patties or 16 sliders. Optional: insert a cube or slice of cheese in the center of each burger. Either grill or pan-fry in a little oil for 5 minutes each side, until there is no pink at the center and an instant-reading thermometer measures at least 150 degrees. Serve them hot on buns, topping with your favorite condiments.

Finally a Good Turkey Burger

For those of us, who don’t eat beef or are trying to cut back, a good turkey burger is the holy grail. A burger made from ground turkey seems like a good idea, in theory. In practice, though, it is often quite similar to eating a flavorless hockey puck.

The problem with most turkey burgers is fat, or lack of it. Because turkey is a lean meat, it doesn’t have the fattiness of ground beef to keep it moist when being cooked and to make it flavorful on the bun. I’ve seen a lot of tricks to “fatten up” the turkey burger, but so far no recipe I have tried has lived up to its promise.

Until I tried the Cheddar and Tomato-Packed Turkey Burgers in Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s How to Eat Supper. I have been trying a lot of new recipes out of How to Eat Supper since I got the cookbook for Christmas, and while the results have been fairly uneven so far, there have been a few unmistakeable home runs, recipes that I star several times and will keep making for years. I think this will be one of those recipes, as it is the only turkey burger I have ever made that actually tastes like a burger, that remains moist, juicy and full-flavored after cooking.

There are two secrets. One is incorporating cooked onions and tomatoes into the burger patty itself, which adds moistness and flavor. The other is inserting a few cubes of cheddar cheese into the center of the burger, which adds fat. Not too much cheese — as that would overwhelm the burger and probably make a mess during cooking — but just enough to punch up the delicious factor and make you feel like you’re eating a real burger. Plus, there’s the nice surprise of biting into the burger and encountering a gooey pocket of cheese, rather than just melting a cheese slice on top.

I won’t reprint the recipe here, as they have already done so over at Serious Eats, so just head on over there to get a copy. Or pick up How to Eat Supper. This one’s a keeper.

Cooking notes: I recommend making the patties ahead of time and chilling for an hour or so to help them hold together better while cooking. This is not a burger for grilling. It just won’t survive. Pan-fry it instead in a little oil over medium-high to sear, then turn down the heat to medium and cover to finish cooking through. I froze the leftover patties with no problems.

Turkey Loaf with Roasted Tomato Sauce

My husband specially requested that I make a meatloaf, which I have never made before. I actually didn’t think I liked meatloaf all that much, having associated it with dried-out, ketchup-laden school cafeteria food. But I had some ground turkey to use up, and in the spirit of trying new things, I attempted it.

I combined two different recipes to get what I was looking for: something that would have a lot of substance, not be too dry (I hoped) and with an interesting sauce. The results — Turkey Loaf with Roasted Tomato Sauce — were fantastic. We both went back for seconds (which I later regretted, because there were no leftovers). This one is definitely a keeper.

Full Disclosure: My turkey loaf was only about half this size, but I didn’t write down the measurements of the ingredients I used, so I referenced the original recipes when listing amounts here. I think you should use amounts as a guide, not as gospel. For instance, if the loaf is looking too dry, try increasing the stock a bit or add another egg white.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Time to make: ~1 hour

What you need:

  • 1 bell pepper, halved
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 whole head garlic, top sliced off and wrapped in foil
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. On a foil-lined pan, roast the pepper, tomatoes and garlic until the pepper and tomatoes are slightly charred, about 35 minutes
  3. Let the pepper steam in a paper bag for 10 minutes or so
  4. Remove as much of the skin from the pepper as possible
  5. Puree the roasted vegetables with the remaining ingredients

Notes: Incidentally, this is a great multi-use sauce that would also work on pasta or even as a dip. Leftovers were abundant.

Turkey Loaf

Serves: 4-6
Time to make: ~1 hour 15 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • ¾ lb. cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp. ketchup
  • salt, pepper and dried herbs to taste
  • 2 slices good white bread, processed to a fine crumb
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high
  2. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms for 10 minutes, or until very soft
  3. Mix the egg, stock, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and seasonings
  4. Stir in the breadcrumbs
  5. With your hands, mix in the turkey and the sauteed vegetables until the mixture is well-mixed and holding together fairly well (it will be very moist)
  6. In a lightly oiled loaf pan, form the mixture into a loaf
  7. Bake in the 400-degree oven (still heated from roasting the vegetables for the sauce) for 50-55 minutes, until the top is browned and the interior reaches 170 degrees
  8. Slice and serve with Roasted Tomato Sauce on top

Note: If you don’t want to do the Roasted Tomato Sauce (although I highly recommend it), you could use any tomato sauce or even ketchup, if your tastes run that way. This loaf made its own “gravy” as it cooked, so it might even be fine on its own.

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How to Make the Perfect Stir-Fry

The secrets to a successful stir-fry are organization and preparation, which are also the keys to accomplishing pretty much any complex task. Cooking is a small mirror held up to life (profound, huh?). If you can pull off a good stir-fry, you can probably successfully manage three complex software development projects with deliverables expected in late December, or the equivalent. We’ll see.

Before you even start cooking, you’ll want to get yourself and all of your ingredients organized. When the cooking starts, it goes fast, so you’ll need to have everything ready and at hand. The first thing I do is cook the starch, either rice or noodles, such as Chinese ramen-style noodles or angel hair pasta. The rice will steam and then stay warm while I’m preparing the stir-fry. The noodles will be done fast and then can sit in their pot until I’m ready to mix them in and reheat them.

Second, prepare the protein. I usually use boneless chicken breast for this dish, but turkey, pork, shrimp, scallops, fish or tofu should also work just fine. For 2 people, I use about ¼ pound of protein. Remember, traditional stir-fries are skimpy on the meat and generous with the vegetables. Cube the meat and let sit in a mixture of 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. sherry and ¼ cup water while you prepare the vegetables.

Choose 2-3 vegetables for the dish, enough to make ½ pound. Keeping it simple keeps both you and the stir-fry from getting overwhelmed. Dice or slice each vegetable into as nearly uniform pieces as you can make them. Arrange the cut vegetables in bowls in order of their cooking time, with the longest cooking vegetables first:

  1. Mushrooms: 5-10 minutes, depending on type and thickness
  2. Cabbage, spinach, other greens: 4-6 minutes
  3. Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, green beans: 3-5 minutes
  4. Peppers, snow peas, sugar snap peas, summer squash, zucchini: 2-3 minutes
  5. Bean sprouts: less than 1 minute

These are just suggestions. You may want to try other vegetables.

In addition, mince 2 garlic cloves and ½ tbsp. ginger root, and place them in line behind all the vegetables.

Next, prepare the sauce. My base stir-fry sauce is a mixture of ¼ cup chicken stock, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 tbsp. flavoring, such as a bottled Asian sauce, sake or rice wine, or fermented black beans soaked in sherry. Feel free to experiment. I give a suggested variation at the end of this post.

Finally, get your garnishes together. Chopped nuts, sliced scallions, raw bean sprouts and minced fresh herbs all make good garnishes.

The last step is to prepare a coating for the protein for cooking it. Drain away the marinade and toss the chicken (or whatever you’re using) in a mixture of ½ tbsp. sesame oil, 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 tsp. flour.

Now you’re ready to assemble the stir-fry:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. peanut oil in a nonstick skillet over high until shimmering
  2. Add the protein in a single layer and cook without disturbing until browned
  3. Flip each piece and brown the other side in the same manner
  4. Remove the cooked protein to a plate
  5. If needed, add another ½ tbsp. peanut oil to the pan
  6. Add the vegetables in order of their cooking times and stir-fry, keeping the food moving constantly, until tender
  7. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry 30 seconds
  8. Reduce the heat to medium
  9. Return to the protein to the pan and mix in the sauce
  10. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens
  11. If using noodles, stir them in and heat through
  12. Remove from heat, garnish and serve

Sweet Chili-Garlic Stir-Fry Sauce

Serves: 2

Mix together:

  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. chili sauce, depending on taste
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
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