Well today it was gray and gloomy outside so I decided that it was a good day for some comfort food. With Nicole having some trouble sleeping lately I decided to help her out with a good ole fashion Thanksgiving dinner. Hush it, why does it only have to be once a year?
I started off by heading up to the local grocery store where I had the butcher cut me a turkey breast from a whole frozen turkey. I encourage doing this, because it keeps the breast on the bone, which is great for flavor, and it ends up being very affordable. Then I had to decide on what sides I could have with my dinner. I decided on Cheesy Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Italian Sausage and Apple Stuffing cupcakes, and Fresh Cranberry Compote.
So I began to roast the turkey breast in a roasting pan with a rack. The I proceeded to give the turkey a nice bath in olive oil and then stuffed it with general aromatics (onions, carrots, lemon, lime, and basic herbs or rosemary and thyme.) Then I put a couple cups of water under the under the rack in the roasting pan. I finished the prep by putting a nice layer of foil over the top of the breast, this will keep the top from burning and lock in the the juices. You can remove the foil 15 minutes before pulling it from the oven. This will give you a crispy crust if you desire.
For gravy discard the turkey breast from the rack. Then remove the everything from roasting pan except all the drippings or liquid is left. For best results make sure it has had time to chill to room temperature. Add flour and butter and whisk together on moderate heat until coated spoon consistency is achieved.
Below are the side recipes of the sides:
Fresh Cranberry Compote
1/2 pound fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool completely.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE & APPLE STUFFING CUPCAKES
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 bag herbal seasoned stuffing
4 red apples chopped (leave skin on)
1 cup sour cream
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 raw eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
In a pan, over medium heat, brown sausage pieces and drain fat (make sure the sausage is crumbly)
In another large pot, sauté the apples, celery, and onions in butter (or butter) until tender
Place dry stuffing in a LARGE BOWL and add the chicken broth until soft. If not moist enough, add some water.
Using your hands, combine the stuffing with all ingredients: sausage, sautéed apples, celery, onions, raw eggs, garlic, chopped parsley, nuts, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
Place the stuffing mix into a cupcake pan, and bake at 350 degrees in oven for 20 minutes or until brown.
Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds potatoes
3/4 cup milk and or sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste
PLACE potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain.
RETURN potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter. Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
NOTE: Chopped green onions, chopped parsley or cooked, crumbled bacon may be added to mashed potatoes.