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Chef Glenys Morgan's 'green' holiday recipes

Below are recipes from Chef Glenys Morgan, whose ideas are featured in Recipes and cooking tips add juice to the holiday feast on bchydro.com.

Do you have questions about any of the tips or recipes? Email Glenys at forkandspoon@shawcable.com.

Recipes:

Leek and Tart Apple Stuffing “Out of the Bird”

The recipe makes enough stuffing for a 15-pound turkey, stuffing neck and cavity. Translated to a crockpot or toaster oven it's the equivalent of 10 generous servings.

  • Choose any type of good quality bread – from French to olive – to use for the stuffing.
  • Be aware of breads with cheese – they may not suit the mix with turkey – but breads containing cornmeal are excellent.
  • Do try to use fresh herbs, the flavour is much fresher.
  • By making the stuffing out of the bird, vegetarians can enjoy it as well, but keep the stock to a vegetable or mushroom base.

10 cups shredded bread in large cubes pieces – about 1 inch
1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 leeks, trimmed to white and pale green
1 cup apple juice or white wine
4 tart green apples, peeled
4 tablespoons minced fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley
salt and freshly milled pepper
2 cups chicken stock or pan juices or vegetarian choice

Place the bread in a large mixing bowl.

Heat the butter in a large pan with a lid; slice the leeks in half lengthwise then slice across on the diagonal into fine strips. Now it's easy to wash the leeks and properly clean any loose dirt away. Add to the butter, stirring to coat. Add the wine and cover, keeping the heat low, braising the leeks until soft and bright green.

Add the leeks and all the juice to the bread. Use a coarse, large hole grater to shred the apple into the bread. Add the herbs and seasonings. Taste and adjust. If the stuffing is not flavourful now, it won't be when it's finished. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Squeeze some of the stuffing mixture together in the palm of your hand to see if it holds together. Moisten with some stock if needed.

Place the stuffing in a casserole with cover (or use foil) and bake for 30-45 minutes. After the first 20 minutes baking, moisten with some of the chicken stock. Leave the lid off in the last 10 minutes of baking to crisp the surface. Bake along with the turkey at 350-375°F to fill your oven, or if oven space is tight, use your crockpot or toaster oven.

Cranberries and Cointreau – or Fresh Cranberry and Zesty Orange Relish

1 package or 1 lb fresh cranberries; frozen will work
3/4 cup - 1 cup sugar
1 medium unpeeled orange, preferably organic – wash, cut into chunks, seed if necessary
1 oz or to taste Cointreau or other orange liqueur, or orange juice, cranberry juice or wine

In the food processor, combine the berries and sugar. Add the chunks of unpeeled orange to the processor and pulse the mixture into a relish texture. Let stand for an hour to dissolve any remaining sugar.

The sauce may be as fine or chunky as you desire. Refrigerate until needed; keeps for several weeks.

If you desire a juicier sauce, freeze and thaw both orange and cranberries before use. This breaks down the cell structure, releasing more juice.

Apple Brine for Turkey

2 qts apple juice
1 lb brown sugar
1 c kosher salt
3 qts water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ozs fresh ginger, thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, crushed

Bring apple juice, sugar and salt to a boil over high heat, skim foam, let cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients. Brine turkey for 24 hours. This recipe yields brine sufficient for a 14 lb turkey. Use the smallest pot your bird will fit into to ensure the brine covers the bird (if you only have a very large pot you may need more brine).

How brining works

Because there is more salt in the brine than in the meat, the muscle absorbs the salt water. There, the salt denatures the meat proteins, causing them to unwind and form a matrix that traps the water. If the brine includes herbs, garlic and other seasonings, those flavors become infused in the meat too. Instead of seasoning on the surface as most cooks do, brining carries the seaasoning throughout. Even a couple of hours in brine will improve bland cornish game hens, and give chicken breast , pork chops, fish or even seafood a flavor boost. Brines vary considerably from chef to chef, as do recommended brining times. But generally speaking, the saltier the brine, the shorter the time required. And the brine will penetrate a chicken breast or pork chop much faster than a large thick muscle like a whole pork loin or turkey. Meat left too long in a brine tastes overseasoned and the texture is compromised, producing a soggy or mushy quality. By playing around with the liquid base, you can give your brine some personality. Some chefs use apple juice or beer for some or all of the water. A mixture of orange juice, cider vinegar and rice wine vinegar is an excellent base for brining turkey. Seasonings can run anywhere from thyme, rosemary and garlic to star anise, cinnamon and vanilla beans. Many chefs put some sugar in their brine to sweeten the meat and make it brown better when cooking. This is good for pork, but it tends to make everything else taste like ham. Brining chicken parts before frying using salted buttermilk will give you the benefits of the brine plus the tenderizing effect of the buttermilk. Whatever you choose to use, brining is a very effective tool for dealing with today’s leaner meats.

How Long to Brine

The thickness of the muscle, the strength of the brine and your own taste will determine how long to brine for an item. 1 gallon of liquid to 1cup Kosher salt is a happy medium. If you can’t use kosher salt, cut the salt by half. Obviously, brined meats do not need to be salted before cooking, because they are already salted throughout the meat.

Brining for 24 hours is sufficient. If your turkey is too large to fully immerse, you may brine it half at a time – assuming you can keep it cool while doing so. In this case, you would brine one half for 24 hours, then turn the bird and immerse the other end for 24 hours.

A brined bird may be removed from the brine, washed and patted dry, and stored in the refrigerator for additional time before cooking, if required. The brining effect will not be lost.

Preparing the brine

Bring your liquid to a boil. Add your salt and sugar (if you are using sugar) and dissolve completely. Add your herbs and seasonings. The seasonings are added to the hot liquid to extract the flavours, therefore better flavouring the meat. Cool the brine completely. When cool, put your meat into a non-corrosive container and pour the brine over it. The meat must be completely covered, so use a plate to weigh it down if necessary. Keep cool; set the pot in the garage if you don’t have room in the fridge. You may start with meat frozen, although it is nice to refresh your brine halfway through if you do – and don’t forget to remove giblets from poultry as soon as thawing permits.

Roasting turkey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place turkey in a large roasting pan, and roast until it starts to brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 350 degrees, and roast for approximately 12 minutes more per pound, until internal temperature at the deepest part of the leg reaches 178° Farenheit.

Baste frequently with olive oil or butter and pan juices, using rosemary branches as a brush if desired. If the bird begins to darken too much, cover it loosely with a piece of foil. Before serving, remove turkey from oven and leave covered with foil. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving and spooning the stuffing into a serving dish.

Source: BC Hydro News