Craving an interesting twist on turkey? Try this recipe for a spicy-sweet Moroccan-flavoured bird. For ease of cooking and presentation, I have the butcher flatten the turkey by removing its backbone and the breast bone. It cooks more quickly this way, freeing up the oven to reheat other vegetables. It also makes for easy carving, which is helpful when you’re rushing to get dinner on the table. Using Moroccan spices gives the turkey a complex flavour profile without heat. It is also an opportunity to vary the side dishes to match the turkey seasoning. For sides, I would serve couscous garnished with pomegranate seeds, roasted root vegetables and cardamom-flavoured Brussels sprouts. A beet and yogurt salad as a first course would complete the feast. My spice mixture is based on Moroccan ras el hanout, a blend of up to 30 spices that varies from household to household. Mine is simpler, with sweet spices at its core. You can buy ras el hanout in some supermarkets and spice shops, but it is also easy to make at home.
A powerful, full-flavoured but not spicy dish with the taste of the sun that we sorely need at this time of the year. Prepare the dish until it is ready for the oven and then bake when needed. Estonian food is based on the land and the sea. They grow wonderful vegetables in Estonia, the mushroom market was a sight to behold. It has many international influences but lately more from the Nordic countries. However to be truly Estonian, serve with black rye bread.
One of my favourite ways to cook chicken is to braise it in the oven in a heavy pot. It comes out browned and moist and you can cook the garnishes along with it. At this time of year, apples are a perfect complement to chicken; to add some zest, I have also included hot Italian sausage and the current trendy vegetable: celery (both are superb with chicken, too). If spice isn’t to your liking, use mild sausage. And choose apples that will hold their shape and not turn to apple sauce; my preference leans toward the Gala or Pink Lady varieties, which are sweet and keep their texture. In the winter, I make this same same dish with prunes instead of apples and mushrooms instead of celery. The perfect accompaniment is sautéed Swiss chard and creamy mashed potatoes.
The crisp crackle of Peking Duck skin is one of my favourite tastes and textures. My mother used to make Peking Duck at home. She would hang the duck from a hook, place a fan near it and leave it until the skin dried out (usually 24 hours). Then she would roast it at high heat. It was a superb recipe, but also time-consuming and, with a duck dangling in the kitchen, not altogether attractive. People who saw it were quite shocked. You’ll get a similar result in a short time by making these Peking chicken thighs. A frying pan large enough to hold the thighs is best because the sauce can be made directly in it. Otherwise, use a rack over a roasting pan and make the sauce in the pan. Gai lan is Chinese broccoli, but any green will do. Serve rice on the side. Any sweet wine with a high amount of sugar works to brown the skin. Ice wine would be expensive but sensational.
Every kid (and anyone who’s a kid at heart) loves fried chicken, and these sandwiches will send your taste buds soaring. Marinating in buttermilk overnight is a bit like brining. It tenderizes the chicken and brings out the flavour. You could add bacon and lettuce for a BLC sandwich.