Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 2010

I haven't always been as thankful as I should be for what I have been given. This year I really have a feeling of appreciation for all of the blessings I have received. I wish I could give everyone I know the feeling of peace and serenity I have, but I know that that job is below my pay grade. I guess I will just say thank you to everyone who is reading this message and I hope you have great joy throughout the coming year---Adam, "The Pie Guy."

Alice Yucht, a librarian acquaintance I met on the Internet, kindly gave me permission to use this recipe for cooking a 15-20 lb. turkey in just 2 and a half hours several years ago, and every turkey I have made has turned out great!

Alice’s Roasted Turkey

1 15-20 pound unstuffed, completely thawed turkey (Be sure to remove innards!)
2 cups chicken broth
Optional: 1 raw onion or 1 raw apple
Assorted herbs and spices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put UNSTUFFED, COMPLETELY THAWED turkey into deep roasting pan.

Note: If turkey is 20-25 pounds, just add 15 minutes to last hour. If turkey is 10-15 pounds, subtract 15 minutes from last hour.

Pour broth into bottom of pan.

Cover turkey with aluminum foil (tented, not sealed).

Put turkey into hot oven, set timer for 90 minutes and walk away. (Do NOT keep opening oven to look; that bird is not going anywhere).

When timer rings after 90 minutes, take foil tent off turkey. Lower heat to 4000, set timer for one hour, and walk away. Do NOT open the oven!

When timer rings, take turkey out of oven and remove from pan to rest on platter for 15-20 minutes before carving.


This is an outstanding stuffing recipe to go with the turkey given to me by a former aide, Shirley Gatis. I add the finely minced turkey liver, because Mom always did, and I like the added flavor. You could make a half recipe to go with any roast chicken.

When I lived  in Germany, we were worried that we would have to forego a traditional Thanksgiving dinner because we could not find a turkey, not even on base. A German restaurant offered to make us a turkey dinner. We were delighted, but when dinner was served, the turkey had been smoked instead of baked, and “pommes frites” (French fries!) were served. Not exactly traditional, but we appreciated the effort! This recipe was adapted from my aide in at Naples High.

Adam’s Sausage Stuffing

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 pound mild pork sausage
4 Tbsps. butter
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
1 turkey liver, finely minced
4 cups chicken broth
Sage, salt, pepper to taste
1 loaf dry white bread, cubed

Sauté sausage in butter until brown. Add celery and onions, cook until soft. Add minced turkey liver and sauté until no longer pink. Pour in chicken broth and spices to taste. Bring to boil. Add bread. Stir until combined.

Spray casserole pan with non-stick spray. Put in pan, bake until top is brown and crispy, about 30-40 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adam’s Polish Hunter’s Stew (Bigos)

Polish Hunter's Stew: Bigos
I learned later that Polish people call this Hunter's Stew "Bigos" but we called it kapusta when I was growing up.

1/2 pork tenderloin, cut into 1” pieces
3 links of fresh Polish or sweet Italian sausage
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound baked ham chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large can of sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium cabbage
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
1/2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
Salt and pepper

In a large frying pan brown sausage in olive oil. Remove and transfer to large soup pan .Do the same with the pork pieces.

Sauté onions and garlic until golden in the frying pan. Add mushrooms, sauté for 10 minutes, add cabbage, sauté for 10 minutes. Add butter as necessary to keep vegetables from sticking. Transfer to soup pan.

Add the ham pieces to the soup pan.

Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Add to soup pan.

Add 2 cups chicken stock to soup pan. If you want more soupy stew, add an additional 1 cup of stock.

Bring to boil, and then simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in mushroom soup. Turn off heat. Stew can be served now but it is better if you refrigerate it overnight to allow flavors to meld together. Reheat the next day and serve over boiled potatoes.

Seeded deli rye bread goes well with this dish.

We called this dish "Kapusta" which is the Polish word for sauerkraut, but the official name is "Bigos" or Hunter's Stew. It was originally made with whatever combination of meat Polish hunters were able to find.