Archive for ‘Main Dishes’

February 24, 2016

4plates Spicy Turkey Meatballs

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My experiences with turkey as a stand in for red meat haven’t always been so terrific. The flavorless, dry turkey burger will never beat a juicy, carnivorous, extra-large greasy burger from your favorite burger joint. But when done right, a great turkey burger topped with all kinds of deliciousness can stand up to any beef burger in my book.

Lucky for me, one of our favorite local restaurants, Bowman’s Tavern, serves a damn good burger – turkey or otherwise. Bowman’s Tavern in New Hope is top of my list for honestly, just about everything. This little hide away spot on River Road is the place you’ll find my husband and I many a Friday or Saturday night. I’ll be sitting at the bar, drinking a Victory Headwaters and eating a turkey burger. The perfect way to kickoff a weekend. Friday nights they have a piano bar if you want to belt-out some show tunes after a few cocktails.

Thinking about Bowman’s killer turkey burger inspired me to apply the same logic to meatballs. A skeptical, red meat loving, Italian-o-file of a husband couldn’t sway me – but I was going to make awesome turkey meatballs and he was going to eat them!

In a quest to make sure they were moist and flavorful I decided to mix half ground turkey and half spicy turkey Italian sausage. I prefer Martin’s brand Italian turkey sausage. While many of the brands miss the mark on authentic Italian sausage flavor, Martin’s wins the prize. I buy Martin’s at None Such Farms.

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Sadly, I did find after poking around online at other turkey meatball recipes, Giada has a recipe using a similar combination of ingredients. I thought I was being so creative. With that said, I will say this recipe was adapted from her just to make sure I acknowledge that we are of equal genius in the kitchen. Ha!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small yellow onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1lb spicy turkey Italian sausage, casing removed
  • About 1/4 cup water
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Brush the foil with olive oil and set the pan aside.

Combine all the ingredients up to and including the garlic in a large bowl. Add the two meats and using your hands, mix everything together being sure the sausage meat is evenly incorporated throughout the mixture. Add some salt and pepper. Start to add water to the bowl a few tablespoons at a time, mushing the meat mixture with your hands. You want it to be fairly wet and sticky. You shouldn’t need more than a 1/4 cup of water and may even need less. Water is the trick I also use for my meatballs marinara, it keeps them moist and delicious every time.

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Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small fry pan over medium heat. Take a little of the meatball mix and form into a small patty. Fry it in the pan, flipping after a couple of minutes, until cooked through – about 2-3 minutes per side. Taste it. It should taste really flavorful and delicious. At this point you can decide if it needs a little more salt or pepper, or maybe a little more cheese… or maybe it’s perfect : )

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Form your meatballs and place them on the sheet pan. I make them the size of golf balls. Once done, brush the top of each meatball with a little olive oil and place the pan in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

While you’re waiting for your meatballs to cook, throw together a big pot of marinara sauce. Use your favorite recipe, my recipe or even a couple of jars of your favorite sauce (we’ll never tell).

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When the meatballs are done, remove the sheet pan from the oven and using a spatula, gently lift them from the foil and put them in the pot with the sauce. Now just sit back and relax. Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for a nice long time. I say at least 1 hour is fine but 2 hours is awesome.

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Then just nom nom nom……

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Enjoy!

 

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October 15, 2015

The Best Roast Chicken! With Lemon, Fennel & Onion

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Eat your heart out Ina, I think I’ve invented a roast chicken that’s better than your, “Jeffrey’s Friday Night Roast Chicken,” or whatever you call it. I don’t mean to be snarky, but they say one of the determining factors in whether someone can really cook is how well they can roast a chicken, right? My husband has decided this is the best roast chicken… ever! Ina, just send Jeffrey over and he can decide for himself.

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There are four tricks to how I roast a chicken.

  1. I only use the small 3-4 pound chickens, not the oversized ones. Having company? Just roast a couple of the small ones.
  2. Prep the chicken and place it in the refrigerator, uncovered for a couple of hours or even all day. The salt and spices on the skin make it dry out – therefore, it’s more crispy when you roast it.
  3. Start the oven temperature really hot. Like 500 degrees hot. I lower the temperature after the first 15 minutes, but that super hot oven makes the skin nice and crispy. You can tent it with foil if it begins to brown too quickly.
  4. Spatchcock (butterfly) the chicken. Just remove the backbone and press it flat. I don’t stuff my birds and the butterflied chicken cooks so much faster and more evenly than a whole chicken. Lay the flattened chicken on a bed of vegetables like I did here, and it’s so delicious!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2-4lb chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 small fennel bulbs – trimmed and sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves separated but not peeled
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary
  • Handful of sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • Generous amount of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

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Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

Lay all of the sliced onions, fennel and lemons in the center of a sheet pan. Place the rosemary and thyme sprigs over the vegetables – drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste.

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Tuck a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme under the skin of each chicken breast and lay the flattened chicken on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper – place in the refrigerator, uncovered for a few hours. You could prep the chicken to this point in the morning and just leave it in there all day.

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Remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator and drizzle just a little olive oil over the chicken. Place the sheet pan on the center rack in the preheated oven and roast at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425 degrees and continue roasting for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to the proper temperature. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly you can tent it with foil.

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Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. At this point you can stir the vegetables and I usually put them back in the oven to continue cooking so they get nice and carmelized. After the chicken has rested, cut it into quarters.

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Take a large platter and cover the bottom with fresh arugula. Top with the roasted vegetables, all the juices from the pan and the chicken pieces. Serve with a good baguette so you can spread the roasted garlic on the bread. Hot damn! That’s a mighty fine roast chicken!

Enjoy!

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