Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Driving by the Eiffel TowerDSC01934

Looking for light in darkness, anywhere I can find it…everyday routines, wit, kindness, imagination, running into a friend, silly animal pictures… Trying to stay up to date without OD’ing on headlines…Every time I think I’m coming to terms with events, they go to another level…never thought I’d see the day when I’d be talking to my son about how to survive grenades (run, get down, close eyes, put fingers in ears, open mouth) and kalashnikovs (run, crouch behind a car at the wheel hub) and more…Grateful for the holiday season, music, decorated streets, ancient traditions about death and rebirth of light… winter food!

DSC02367A new discovery: what to do with leftover roast turkey, dressing, and gravy, inspired by watching Chef Gilles Épié… (Works especially well with free range birds and home-made stuffing) It’s great to keep the carcass for soup stock, so a few days after the big meal, remove the last meat from the bones and scoop the drippings from the roasting dish into a sauce pan to start a “roux” over a low flame. Turkey fat replaces butter and instead of sprinkling in flour to thicken it, put in a few tablespoons of stuffing (full of turkey juices, and depending on your recipe, bread, chestnut bits, onion, celery, apricots, walnuts, a little parsley?) flattening them with a fork to blend with the drippings as they melt. Pour in broth from stewed giblets and as much milk as needed depending on the number of hungry mouths (last minute cream is also an option). Add in leftover turkey or sliced free range filets to round out the quantity. Secret ingredients: sweet paprika for color and a little curry powder to bring out the meat flavors, plus sea salt from Guérande, and freshly ground black pepper. If you have a slab of parmesan, you can grate some in for texture and pizzazz. Meanwhile, sauté broccoli in olive oil and garlic. You can use frozen or fresh. The main idea is to let the water (already in the frozen, add to fresh) steam the stalks until tender, then cook over low heat, keeping an eye on them so the water evaporates, to “concentrate the savors” as they say at the Cordon Bleu “Chef’s Secrets” evenings (worth every euro)… When the broccoli is almost ready and the sauce is thickened, seasoned to your taste, and liquid enough to keep warm on a low flame without burning, heat several quarts of water in an electric kettle, pour into a pan with a little salt, bring to a boil, and add a pack of linguine (500g or 1lb will make enough for the next day). Cook pasta about 8 minutes, then drain, leaving a little hot water in the bottom of the pot. Serve pasta on plates, with a ladle of sauce and a few fleurettes of broccoli. When I was little my grandmother and mother used to make “Turkey Tetrazzini” casserole with similar ingredients, baked in the oven. Every time I tried, it turned out dry, so this is my new version. It was a big success. Thanks Gilles Épié for the stuffing as thickener concept (in his turkey gravy recipe). I recommend his restaurant Citrus Étoile, near the Champs Élysées. Joy to the World!

PS Just found my mom’s Turkey Tetrazzini recipe and the reason it’s so mouth-watering is that it has sherry and lemon juice in it, plus cream!!! Something to look forward to next year! Putting the recipe with the holiday ones :-))))

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