Sunday, October 24, 2010

wild turkey dinner

I desperately need to catch up on blog posting - have a backlog of photos, recipes, and reviews - but I really want to do this one while it's fresh in my mind (and while my house still smells so damn good !)

Today's dinner courtesy of my son Alex, the mighty hunter :

10 pound hen, Gilmanton NH
Our last encounter with a wild turkey suggested that smoking was definitely the way to go, so that's what Alex requested for this one.  (Plus the timing worked out well, since the Pats game was at 4:15 today :) ) Brining is essential...this one was done in an apple cider-orange-spice brine, which worked really well - bird was juicy, all the flavors melded together perfectly.

Since we had the smoker going already, Smoked Shrimp with Cajun Remoulade made the perfect appetizer :

Smokin' !!
I am soooo into the smoked shrimp, ever since we got the smoker-grill...shouldn't have been a surprise, since I love smoked food and seafood. Seriously, so good.

Since the bird was only 10 pounds and we weren't sure how many we were having for dinner, we threw some sausages on too...lamb sausage from Hager's Farm Market, cheese-garlic and chicken from McKinnon's. All were good...I especially liked the lamb, though the guys (including the in-law) weren't really thrilled. I think some sort of sauce/dip was called for...maybe I'll go steal some of my friend Sarah's homemade mustard :)

mmm, sausage...
Two side dishes to round out the meal - one was Roasted Sweet Potatoes, using some Grade B Maple Syrup from Gould's. If you've never experienced the deliciousness of Grade B syrup, do yourself a favor and check it out sometime if you get the chance. It's excellent for cooking and baking, darker with a much deeper, stronger maple flavor with hints of caramel. (Unlike, say, meat, Grade A isn't "better", just lighter.) Use sparingly until you're used to it, though !

Sweet !
The other side was a version of a salad I love making in the fall...mixed greens, dried cranberries, glazed pecans are the staples. Cheese is also always in there - usually Gorgonzola, but this time I used the blue from the trip to Smith's a few weeks ago. What an amazing cheese...super creamy with just the right amount with blue. I love throwing pears or apples in , but didn't this time as Mark is not a huge fan of either in a salad...but I did make my very simple homemade balsamic dressing.

perfect fall salad
Drinks were a choice of beer - Harvest Moon Pumpkin, Sam Adams Octoberfest, or Smithwicks - or apple cider (not the boozy kind, for once :) ) . All went perfectly.

I so love cooking in the fall !!!

plated and ready !
The recipes :

Apple-Citrus-Spice Brine

5 cups water
1 quart apple cider
1 quart orange juice
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon of whole cloves

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Bring the water, salt and sugar to a boil, and simmer until everything is dissolved. Let cool and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Seal turkey and brine in a large ziplock bag, and let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours. 

Cajun Remoulade 

This is a little different than the version I posted before...mostly because this is what I had on hand :) I also didn't want to make it too spicy....personally I like at least double the chipotle, but the non-spice heads (Alex and the inlaw) were very, very happy with the spice level. Very, very, very good result !

1 cup Hellmans
2 T ketchup
2 T mustard
1 T dried chives
1 T minced celery
½ t chipotle powder
2 t horseradish
1 t paprika
¼ t minced garlic
3 shakes Worcestershire
2 shakes chipotle Tabasco
dash of Old Bay 

Mix well, and let sit in fridge at least an hour to blend. 

Maple Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 T butter
3 T maple syrup 
2 t cinnamon 
1 t nutmeg
1 t allspice
1/4 t cloves

Melt butter and stir in syrup. Drizzle over potatoes, sprinkle with spices and mix well. Roast in a 350 oven for about an hour, until nice and tender. 

Balsamic Dressing 

So super easy to make - and so good - once you start, you'll wonder why you ever bothered with store-bought. Since it only has three ingredients, though, you want to make sure they're the best quality...this is when to break out the good stuff ! 

3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard (Maille is the best) 

Whisk everything together until creamy and lovely and delicious...really, that's it !  

1 comment:

  1. I have never made a brine, but I'm copying this recipe down and giving it a shot! Your pictures are so great, and I love that Alex got the bird-way to go!! You make everything SO good!!