Saturday, March 19, 2011

Book Twenty-One: The "21" Cookbook by Michael Lomonaco

Recipe: Wild Turkey with Ginger Chestnut Stuffing (substituted Apple Sage Stuffing)

(What a kawinkydink! Did you notice the title of this post? This was not planned!)

I purchased this book not because it is from the famed New York restaurant (actually I never heard of it) but because I loved the jockeys lining the balcony and stairs on the front cover; a short story about that follows.

There are a handful of recipes in this book I would like to try (in which I should have) however I have been thinking of cooking a turkey for a few days now (why do people think turkey is only for Thanksgiving?) and thought why not? Well, I'll tell you why not! This turkey did not turn out as expected. My turkey was larger than what the recipe called for (don't you think a "farm-raised wild turkey" is an oxymoron?) by just a couple of pounds, though it apparently was done before the allotted time for the smaller size. It turned out a bit on the dry side and quite pitiful looking. My Thanksgiving turkeys, when I have a million other things going on at the same time, turn out better than this one. I shouldn't complain; better now than on Thanksgiving when you have to serve it to guests!

I chose to make the Apple Sage Stuffing instead of the Ginger Chestnut Stuffing and glad that I did. I love sage and always seem to go for recipes that call for it. I like it so much that I added a tad extra to the stuffing. I advise to resist that temptation; it was a bit too much, but still very good. I have never made a stuffing which called for using eggs to the chicken stock and letting the bread soak up all the goodness before putting it into the oven. It was almost like it came from inside the turkey itself, so moist. I also made our trusted roasted asparagus with Parmesan (substituted Gruyere for I was out of Parm).

Success meter (1-3): 2

 This is why it is a good idea to always  
have a pan under your turkey.

Back side before turning over.
Thinking...beautiful. This is going to be good. 

Think it's done?!!
Bone slipped right out! Can you say "dry"?!

Looks like a dried up old....

Andy salvaging the rest for
sandwiches, enchiladas, soup, etc.

Now for the stuffing!

The best tool ever
for coring apples, pears, etc.

This was good.

As was this, as always...

As I mentioned above here is the story about those jockeys (duplicated from "21"):

The Jockeys
The story behind this often-photographed statuary has been subject of much rumor and misinterpretation, including tales that they represent real riders, and that they are mysteriously linked to the Jockey Club, a private organization started in 1894 by a group of horseman on New York's East Side. Some have speculated that '21's jockeys are mere decoration. The truth, however, is far more interesting than all of the theories combined...

'21' was home to the affluent 'horsy' set as far back as the early 1930s. To impart their personal stamp on the speakeasy-turned-restaurant, many breeders began donating jockeys as symbols of their private horse farms. Today, many of the brightly painted figures represent the country's most prominent stables.

It all began with Delaware native Jay Van Urk, such a loyal patron that he had, in fact, his own private table and the distinction of having a '21' dessert named in his honor. Sometime during the '30s, Van Urk donated the first jockey to his regular haunt as a token of his appreciation. Thus, a '21' tradition was born.

Over the years, some of America's most famous breeders and owners have followed in Van Urk's footsteps, including many high-profile '21' "regulars" from the Vanderbilt, Mellon and Ogden Mills Phipps families, as well as the Galbreath clan, owners of Darby Dan Farms.

In addition, there is a jockey dedicated in honor of Secretariat, the greatest racehorse of all time. Two jockeys are also posted inside of '21's front door -- a welcoming tribute to equestrians and racing enthusiasts everywhere.

Wild Turkey with (Apple Sage Stuffing)
Serves 6-8

1 (10-pound) farm-raised wild turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Several bay leaves
1 unpeeled head of garlic, split in half
2 cups hot water
3 Tbl melted unsalted butter
1 recipe Apple Sage Stuffing (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 425°. Season the turkey inside and out with the salt and pepper. Place several bay leaves and the garlic inside the body cavity. Place the turkey breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour the water into the bottom of the pan and roast 30 minutes. Turn breast side up, brush the melted butter on the breast, reduce the heat to 350°, and roast 1 to 1 ½ hours more, or until the juices run clear when the thigh joint is pierced with a fork and the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 165°. If the water evaporates before the turkey has finished roasting, add more hot water, to keep the turkey moist. Allow it to stand 20 minutes before carving.

Apple Sage Stuffing
Serves 4

1 cup chicken stock
3 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup whole milk
3 cups cubed French bread, fresh or day-old
1 onion, peeled, and diced (about 1 cup)
2 Tbl unsalted butter
3 large tart apples such as Granny Smiths, unpeeled, cored, and cut in medium dice
2 Tbl chopped fresh sage or 1 Tbl dried sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine the chicken stock, eggs, and milk in a mixing bowl. Soak the bread cubes in this mixture until all the liquid is absorbed. Sauté the onions in the butter until translucent. Add the apples and continue cooking until the apples have just begun to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool, and then combine the onion and apple mixture with the bread cubes. Lightly stir in the sage and salt and pepper, and pour the mixture into a 2 quart ovenproof dish. Bake 25 minutes.

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