Monday, March 21, 2005

I Know it's Not November, but ...

Yesterday was the first day of Spring and one would think that I'd have whipped up something light and spring-like for dinner. But I didn't. The weather has been stormy and windy and my newly blooming flowers are in a state of shock. The temperature has plummeted and it feels like the middle of winter. To "celebrate", Clay and I went out to dinner and a movie. Wanting to write something, I offer you the following.

A number of Thanksgivings ago, faced with some left-over smoked turkey and not wanting to make soup (how un-american of me!), I came up with this spur-of-the-moment dinner, definitely influenced by the season.

Smoked Turkey Croquettes with Cranberry, Pear & Ginger Sauce

  • 1/3 cup pistacios
  • Peel from 1 lemon, no white pith
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • A large plateful of leftover turkey pieces
  • Bread crumbs (no specific amount, just use your judgement)
  • 2-4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, grind the pistacios finely and set aside.
Next pulse the lemon peel, garlic and thyme until combined and in small bits and set that aside.
Grind the plateful of turkey pieces until it looks like, well, ground turkey.

In a large bowl, combine the pistacios, herb mixture and turkey. Add bread crumbs and blend well. In a separate bowl, beat just until blended, 2-4 eggs, depending on how much turkey mixture you have. Add eggs to the turkey mixture, mixing well. (I use my hands for this. They're the best tools I have!) Shape mixture into patties and saute in olive oil with a bit of butter until browned and crisp. Serve with the cranberry, pear, ginger sauce below.

Cranberry, Pear, Ginger Sauce

  • 1 cup cranberries (may be frozen), coarsey chopped
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp candied ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional, but it really adds to the flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp orange juice or orange-pineapple juice

Combine first 5 ingredients in small saucepan over med-low heat, stirring until brown sugar starts to melt. Add juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the consistency of chutney, or to your liking. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Be careful, this syrupy mixture is very hot. Can be prepared several days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temp to serve.

I just thought of an addition to this sauce. If you can get your hands on a gloriously red jalapeno pepper, char it, peel it, seed and de-vein it, chop it finely and add it to the sauce along with or instead of the cayenne. This is, of course, if you like your sauce more on the spicy side.

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