Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrazzini

Alright, I know this is not the prettiest meal you're ever going to see on a plate. In fact, it looks downright sloppy and maybe a bit like something you would get by following the directions on the back of one of those Chicken Helper kits from the grocery store. However, trust me (please?) when I tell you that this is one of the most delicious meals you can make with leftover turkey. Every time we roast a turkey, I look forward to enjoying this meal later in the week. You can also make it with leftover chicken if turkey is not your thing!

I threw lots of extra peas into this because Matthew is obsessed with them. He normally refuses to eat anything new I put in front of him. Normally we just make him sit there and sulk until he finally decides to venture a bite. From this sampling, he will normally decide: "Hey! this stuff ain't so bad!" and happily clean his plate. However, sometimes we wait a good 10-15 minutes before he even tries a bite.  I'm all for leisurely dinners, but if I am really itching to get some things done, this routine gets a little old.  However, given Matthew's love for peas, I have recently discovered that if I sprinkle peas over anything, he is clumsy enough with a fork that in his attempt to pick out only the peas, he will inevitably end up with a chunk of whatever else I served him on his fork and decides a little more quickly that he will finish the meal. This has worked with everything from risotto and tacos to peanut butter sandwiches (just stick a few peas between the bread along with the jelly, and he will devour the whole sandwich!).  As I've said before, he really is a gourmet.

Luckily, this recipe already calls for the addition of peas.  I just scatter a few extra on top for good measure. And Matthew gobbled down this meal faster than anything he has ever eaten before.

Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrazzini
from Cook's Illustrated

For the Topping:

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Pinch of table salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

For the Filling:  
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 pound spaghetti or other long-strand pasta, strands snapped in half
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons dry sherry
3/4 Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 cups frozen peas
4 cups leftover cooked boneless turkey meat or chicken meat, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

To make the topping, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix breadcrumbs, salt, and butter in small baking dish.  Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and mix with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan in small bowl. Set aside.

To make the filling, increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions soften and mushroom liquid evaporates, about 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Transfer to medium bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain spaghetti, and return to pot with reserved liquid.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in cleaned skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour turns golden, about 1-2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add chicken stock. Adjust heat to medium-high and simmer until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in sherry, Parmesan, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and thyme. Add sauce, sautéed vegetables, peas, and meat to spaghetti and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper.  It is very important that you do not under season this casserole - so be liberal with the seasonings and be sure to taste it before it goes into the oven! Turn mixture into a buttered 13- x 9-inch baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumb topping evenly over the top. Bake  for 13-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs brown and the casserole is bubbly. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Monica, this is a homely dish with a whole lot of flavours! Doesn't look sloppy at all to me, I'm eyeing the green peas too because I love them :)