Kitchen Call: A change from turkey leftovers
By Linda Bassett
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Like most cooks, I’m emerging from a turkey coma, tired of rearranging turkey slices, disguising leftover dressing and mashed potatoes and turning root vegetables into soup. The whole family wants something different, and parents, conscious of healthy eating, don’t want to head to the drive-up window. So the following three recipes might sustain a cook for a bit. Not a hint of turkey or any other roasted bird in them. All are healthy or contain suggested healthier ingredients, e.g Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise. Filling and delicious, the flavors are sophisticated but not overwhelming for children.
Cauliflower always needs a boost. Here, pork fat provides it. Pancetta, Italian bacon, is less fatty and salty than the American version. Sprinkle it over the top as a crouton.
CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH PANCETTA
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound thickly sliced pancetta, in 1/4-inch dice
1 small yellow onion, finely diced, soaked in cold water, and patted dry
2 carrots, in 1/4-inch dice
salt, pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1 medium cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds) cut into florets
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Heat oil in a heavy pot; add pancetta. Cook, 6 minutes, or until it renders most of its fat, browning lightly. Transfer pancetta to paper towels. Keep the fat in the pot.
Add the onion and carrots to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes until tender and translucent. Add stock and cauliflower; bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Bubble gently for 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Cool slightly.
Stir in cream, vinegar, thyme, and pepper. Puree soup in a blender or processor until smooth; return to the pan, warming just to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle pancetta over the top.
Sell these to the kids as “burgers” in buns with lettuce and tomato. Never mention fish or spinach. Dolloped in dill sauce instead of less healthy mayo.
POTATO, SALMON, SPINACH PATTIES WITH DILL CREAM
Makes 12 patties
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cups mashed potatoes, chilled
6 ounces cooked salmon fillet, flakes
2-1/2 cups bread crumbs or panko
4 large eggs
3/4 cup flour
Oil, for frying
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Squeeze the water from the spinach. Transfer to bowl; add potatoes, salmon, bread crumbs, 2 eggs, salt, pepper. Mix well.
Set up three plates, one with flour, a second with the egg mixture, a third with bread crumbs.
Form the spinach mixture into 3-inch patties, 3/4-inch thick. Bread them by dipping each one, in order, into flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Transfer to the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.
Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Cook patties in batches, turning once, until golden, 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, keep warm in 200 F oven.
To make the dill cream, mash garlic and salt into a paste; stir in sour cream, dill, and pepper.
Goat cheese has taken on a stylish cache, maybe because it’s so delicious, or maybe because it is lower in fat than lots of other cheeses. Its tanginess wakes up the flavor of this pie, easy on the cook because it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t turn out perfectly round.
VERMONT GOAT CHEESE & LEEK TART
Makes 8 to 10 servings
This recipe was designed for a large, 12-inch round, somewhat free-form pie on a sheet pan.
2-1/2 cups sliced leeks, white and lightest green parts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt, cracked black pepper
8 ounces plain goat cheese
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon water
favorite pie crust recipe, to make a 14-inch crust
Heat the oven to 375 F. Toss the leeks in a medium bowl with oil, salt, pepper; set aside.
In second bowl, whisk together the goat and cream cheeses, 2 egg yolks, and thyme; set
aside. In a third bowl, make an egg wash, whisking together the remaining egg yolk and water; set aside.
Roll out pie crust into a 14-inch round. (It doesn’t need to be perfect.) Transfer to a sheet pan. Spread the bottom with goat cheese leaving at least a 2-to-3-inch border. Top the goat cheese with the leeks. Fold the edges of dough over filling. Brush with egg wash. Bake until the crust turns golden, 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by e-mail at KitchenCall@aol.com. Read Linda’s blog at LindABCooks.wordpress.com. Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall.