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My Recipes-of-the-Week are featured here on my Home page. You can find 2000 of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch over 125 Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. "We are all in this food world together." ~Melanie

11/12/2019

~ Gobble Gobble: Divine Parisien-Style Turkey Divan ~

IMG_3838Turkey divan is a spin-off of chicken divan -- an all-American casserole invention. At this time of year, with Turkey Day just around the corner, it is, obviously, a very tasty use for leftover turkey. That said, by using quick-to-cook stovetop-poached or oven-roasted turkey tenderloins, it is a truly wonderful alternative if you want to serve turkey in a non-traditional way for a more laid-back or take-to-a-potluck feast.  Make no mistake, we're not talking "cream of canned any kind of soup" thrown into a casserole dish.  This dish is indeed real-deal creamy, comforting and divine.

IMG_5784While we're all familiar with whole, bone-in turkey and whole bone-in turkey breast or breast halves, we're not all as familiar with turkey breast tenderloins.  Weighing anywhere from 8-ounces to 1-pound each, these 7 1/2"-8" long, plump pieces of turkey are the tenderest part of the turkey. I love them, and use them occasionally, because, quite frankly, an entire turkey or a turkey breast all-to-often yields more turkey than needed, or takes more time to cook than I've got.  There's more. Trust me when I tell you, a poached or roasted turkey tenderloin served with mashed potatoes, gravy, a green vegetable and cranberry sauce is as wonderful as any oven-roasted turkey dinner.   

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4c5194e200dDivan refers to a baked casserole containing poached all-white-meat chicken (or turkey) and blanched broccoli florets enrobed in béchamel sauce (it's called Morney sauce if cheese is added). It was invented in the 1940's and was a popular, medium-budget entrée on the menus of fine-dining restaurants and country club catering menus during the 1960's and 70's, which is where I encountered it.  When I got married in 1974, it was one of the first meals I cooked out of Betty Crocker's Cookbook (p. 306), which was my first cookbook and a bridal shower gift, then afterward, from the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking (p. 264), which I purchased myself.

Divan-ParisienDivan is classic American. It was created in the 1940's in the Divan Parisiene Restaurant of New York City's Chatham Hotel by a chef named Lagasi.  He had entered his dish in a contest, and, after winning money for it, it became the hotel's signature dish.  In French the word "divan" means an elegant meeting place or great hall, and it was this meaning that caught the attention of the owners as they searched for a name implying continental elegance.  In America, the word "divan" had come to mean "sofa", and, in the 1940's and 50's, in the Divan Parisien restaurant, diners ate at tables that were drawn up to small sofas (divans).  (Photos of Chatham and Parisien courtesy of Card Cow.)

6a0120a8551282970b017c321a8a6d970b-320wiWhen I was a young bride and just starting to entertain, chicken divan (dī-van) was one of my favorite go-to all-occasion casseroles.  It is great served for brunch, lunch or dinner.  It can be baked in one large casserole and served family style, or, it can be baked in individual-sized casseroles and served at a fancier gatherings too.  There's more.  It can be served with or atop toast points,  buttered noodles or steamed rice -- buttered noodles are my favorite.

Note:  The following recipe fills a 2-quart casserole (11" x 7" x 2"), and, when served with toast points, buttered noodles or rice, will easily feed a family of six people. In the event you've got hungrier mouths to feed (teenagers), a bigger crowd, or want leftovers (they reheat great in the microwave), do the math, double the recipe, and, bake it in a much larger 4-quart casserole

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8baafe2970bFor the casserole:

1 1/2-2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey tenderloins  

1  pound frozen broccoli florets, preferably medium-large, not chopped broccoli

3  14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth, or 5 1/2-6 cups homemade stock, for poaching chicken and broccoli  (Note:  Plain, nicely salted water can be substituted, but I like the added flavor that stock or broth lends to the chicken and the broccoli.  There's more.  I don't waste a bit of it, meaning:  I don't pour it down the drain.  I add some water to it, to get the necessary amount needed, and, I boil my egg noodles in it too.)

4  tablespoons salted butter (1/2 stick)

a scant 1/8  teaspoon ground cloves

a scant 1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2  teaspoons sea salt

1/2-3/4  teaspoons white pepper

1 cup small-diced yellow or sweet onion

1/4  cup Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour for Sauce and Gravy

2  tablespoons dry sherry  

2  cups heavy cream, half & half or whole milk, your choice

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing casserole dish

For the topping:

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1/2 cup French-style breadcrumbs or panko

For serving:

toast points, buttered egg noodles or steamed white rice, your choice

IMG_5803 IMG_5803 IMG_5803Step 1.  Poach (photo #1) or roast (photo #2) 1 1/2-2 pounds turkey tenderloins according to my directions provided in the links, cool until meat can be handled comfortably with the hands, then pull it into bite-sized pieces.  The alternative is to use turkey breast leftover from your Thanksgiving feast.

IMG_3738 IMG_3738 IMG_3738 IMG_3738~Step 2.  Return the saucepan of remaining stock to a simmer and add the frozen broccoli florets. Adjust heat to a steady simmer and partially cook it, until it is just thawed, 1 1/2-2 minutes.  Using the same Asian spider or large slotted spoon, transfer it to a colander and rinse it under cold running water, to halt the cooking process.  Allow to drain thoroughly, giving the colander an occasional shake every five minutes or so for about 15 minutes.  Set aside.

IMG_3754 IMG_3754 IMG_3754 IMG_3754~Step 3.  In the same saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, then, using a large spoon, stir in the spices (ground cloves, ground nutmeg sea salt and white pepper).  Add the onion and increase heat to medium and cook until onion is tender, about 1 minute.  

IMG_3766 IMG_3766 IMG_3766 IMG_3766 IMG_3766 IMG_3780 IMG_3780~Step 4.  Stir in the flour. Stirring constantly, cook for 1 full minute.  The roux will be very pasty.  Add the sherry then the cream (milk or half & half) and adjust heat to simmer.  Continue to simmer, stirring constantly until nicely-thickened but drizzly, about 2 minutes.  Lower heat to low and stir in the Gruyère.  Stir constantly until a thick Mornay sauce has formed, about 1 more minute.  Remove from heat.

IMG_3755 IMG_3755 IMG_3755 IMG_3755~Step 5.  Place the pulled turkey pieces and blanched broccoli florets in a large bowl.  Add all of the hot Mornay sauce to the bowl.  Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the sauce, until everything is evenly enrobed in sauce.  Do not over mix.  Do not risk breaking the turkey or broccoli into smaller pieces.  Using the spatula, transfer all of the mixture to an 11" x 7" x 2" casserole that has been sprayed with no-stick spray.  Set aside while preparing topping.

IMG_3798 IMG_3798~ Step 6.  In a 1-cup measuring container, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in microwave.  Stir the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs into the melted butter.  Using your fingertips, sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the entire top of the casserole.

IMG_3814 IMG_3814~ Step 7.  Bake on center rack of 350° oven, until golden brown on top and bubbling around edges, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and rest 15-20 minutes prior to serving.  Use rest time to make toast points, cook egg noodles or steam rice.

Turkey, broccoli & Mornay mixture in 11" x 7" x 2" casserole:

IMG_3804Casserole w/breadcrumb topping & ready to go into oven:

IMG_3809Golden & glorious after baking in 350° oven 25-30 minutes:

IMG_3822Place toast points, buttered egg noodles or steamed rice into the bottom of six 8"-9" round or oval au gratin dishes.  Portion & place turkey divan atop each portion & serve immediately:

IMG_3848Gobble Gobble:  Divine Parisien-Style Turkey Divan: Recipe yields 6-8 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List: 4-quart saucepan, preferably nonstick; Asian spider or large slotted spoon; colander; cutting board; chef's knife; hand-held box grater; large spoon; large rubber spatula; 11" x 7" x 2" casserole; 1-cup measuring container; ordinary tablespoon

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2c31f90970cCook's Note:  Another great use for poached or roasted turkey tenderloins is ~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~. Simply known as "the hot brown", or "Louisville hot brown", this Kentucky ope-faced sandwich is a culinary legend.  Invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches, this one was no accident.  It was specifically created, from some carefully-selected, well-thought out ingredients, to please his hungry late-night crowd.  It was a sort-of spin-off of the British Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (using a smooth, creamy fondue-like "cheese sauce on toast").

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

11/09/2019

~ Let's Talk about Roasted Turkey Breast Tenderloins ~

IMG_5909While my family always celebrates Turkey Day with a traditional dinner, with all the pomp and circumstances leading up to the moment when the oven-roasted and well-rested turkey gets carved and served, there are many folks, both novice and experienced cooks, (single men and women, young couples, elderly couples, etc.) who neither need nor want, or, don't have the time for an entire turkey.  There are other folks, for whatever the reason, simply want to eat some turkey for the sake of the day and move on.  That's why I'm talking about turkey tenderloins.  

IMG_5784While we're all familiar with whole, bone-in turkey and whole bone-in turkey breast or breast halves, we're not all as familiar with turkey breast tenderloins.  Weighing anywhere from 8-ounces to 1-pound each, these 7 1/2"-8" long, plump pieces of turkey are the tenderest part of the turkey. I love them, and use them occasionally, because, quite frankly, an entire turkey or a turkey breast all-to-often yields more turkey than needed, or takes more time to cook than I've got.  There's more. Trust me, a roasted turkey tenderloin sliced and served with mashed potatoes, gravy, a green vegetable and cranberry sauce is as wonderful as any oven-roasted whole turkey dinner.

That said, unlike its cute cousin the chicken tender, turkey tenderloin, because of its larger size, is not quite as versatile.  When it comes to cooking turkey tenderloins, any method that works for a bone-in or boneless chicken breast half can be adapted to work for a turkey tenderloin. My two favorite methods of preparing it are oven-roasting or stovetop poaching, but, it's worth mention I've had excellent results marinating it or applying a dry rub to it to grill it outdoors too.

Poaching vs. Roasting = Low Moist Heat vs. High Dry Heat.

Poaching = 30-40 minutes.  Roasting = 1-1 1/4 hours.

Loosely defined for modern times, roasting implies food items, like meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables that "stand on their own", meaning, they have an independent structure prior to being roasted -- unlike baking, they are not dependent on a vessel to attain their shape during the cooking process.  Like baking (a casserole for example), roasting can be done, covered or uncovered or a combination of both, but unlike baking, roasted foods are placed on a rack so they do not cook or stew in their own juices.  Typically, the desired end roasting result is a brown crust, which requires fat, either provided naturally by the item being roasted, or, applied by hand.  In the case of roasting turkey tenderloins, open roasting to attain browning is not ideal in that they emerge dried out -- they do not have the body mass to support a moist end result no matter how much fat one apples.  Please trust me on this point, or, do your own experiment at your own risk.

Place 2, large 3/4-1 pound turkey tenderloins on a rack in a small (disposable aluminum) roasting pan to which 2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup diced yellow onion, 1/2 cup diced carrot, 1/2 cup diced celery, and, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary sprigs (or 2 thyme sprigs or bay leaves depending on what you're making/serving with tenderloins) have been added.

IMG_5845Using a pastry brush, the paint entire top surface of the tenderloins with 2 tablespoons (microwave) melted salted butter, and, a fresh grinding of sea salt and pepper corn blend.

IMG_5849Tightly seal the top of the roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake on center rack of preheated 375º oven for 1 hour.

IMG_5857Remove from oven, remove foil and transfer tenderloins to a plate.  There's not need to discard the stock.  It's well seasoned and perfect for making gravy.  

IMG_5858Cover plate of turkey with plastic wrap and wait until it has cooled until you can comfortably handle it with your hands, prior to proceeding with specific recipe.

IMG_5867Steamy, roasted perfection, fork-tender, moist and juicy too.  Each tenderloin yeilds 3-4 servings sliced and about 3-4 generous cups of chopped or pulled turkey tenderloin:

IMG_5887Let's Talk about Roasted Turkey Breast Tenderloins:  Recipe yields instructions to oven-roast 2, 3/4-1 pound turkey tenderloins/6 servings.

Special Equipment List: 3" x 9" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pan;  cooling rack; cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; pastry brush; aluminum foil; plastic wrap

6a0120a8551282970b0240a49b39b1200cCook's Note: Looking for an all-purpose gravy that goes well on almost anything?  I've got one.  One basic recipe, made with a few pantry staples, and, in a few minutes:  a great gravy that carnivores and vegetarians can sit down to enjoy, together. Got pan drippings?  Just add them to my ~ Vegetarian Herb Gravy for Whatever Floats the Boat ~ along with the stock. Like a chameleon adjusts its color to blend in, this gravy graciously accepts any carnivorous flavor you've got to add.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

11/07/2019

~Let's Talk about Poached Turkey Breast Tenderloins~

IMG_5828We're all familiar with chicken breast tenderloins.  Weighing in at about 2-3 ounces each, these 4 1/2"-5" long, thin strips of chicken are the tenderest part of the chicken.  I love them, and use them often, because, quite frankly, they are superior to the last-luster, "rubber chicken" boneless, skinless breast.  Whole, chopped, sliced or lightly-pounded, they cook quickly.  They can be poached or simmered, pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried, or grilled-panned to use in any recipe that requires cooked chicken -- soups, salads, sandwiches, or casseroles, and, dishes like chicken curry, Parmesan, Milanese, Oscar, Piccata, etc.  You get my point -- they're versatile.

IMG_5784While we're all familiar with whole, bone-in turkey and whole bone-in turkey breast or breast halves, we're not all as familiar with turkey breast tenderloins.  Weighing anywhere from 8-ounces to 1-pound each, these 7 1/2"-8" long, plump pieces of turkey are the tenderest part of the turkey. I love them, and use them occasionally, because, quite frankly, an entire turkey or a turkey breast all-to-often yields more turkey than needed, or takes more time to cook than I've got.  There's more. Trust me when I tell you, a poached turkey tenderloin sliced and served with mashed potatoes, gravy, a green vegetable and cranberry sauce is as wonderful as any oven-roasted turkey dinner.

That said, unlike its cute cousin the chicken tender, turkey tenderloin, because of its larger size, is not quite as versatile.  When it comes to cooking turkey tenderloins, any method that works for a bone-in or boneless chicken breast half can be adapted to work for a turkey tenderloin. My two favorite methods of preparing it are oven-roasting or stovetop poaching, but, it's worth mention I've had excellent results marinating it or applying a dry rub to it to grill it outdoors too.

Poaching vs. Roasting = Low Moist Heat vs. High Dry Heat.

Poaching = 30-40 minutes.  Roasting = 1-1 1/4 hours.

The term "poach" is from the French verb "pocher" meaning to cook gently in water or seasoned liquid.  The liquid, called "court bouillon" or "short broth", is classically a mixture of water, an acid (such as lemon juice, wine, and/or vinegar or wine vinegar), aromatics (such as onion, celery and/or carrot), an herb or two (such as parsley, thyme and/or bay leaf), salt and peppercorns. That said, poaching chicken is a worldwide sport and the liquid should be seasoned accordingly. For example: When I'm poaching chicken for Asian fare, I use ginger, lemongrass and/or lime leaves, cilantro, soy sauce and/or fish sauce (in place of salt) and a cayenne chile pepper.

Shallow poaching involves placing the food to be poached, presentation side up, atop or in the center of the aromatics, herbs and spices in a shallow cooking vessel.  Cold or room temperature court bouillon is added until the food is partially-submerged in liquid.  The pan gets covered and the food gets cooked gently at a low temperature (barely simmering/shivering), which preserves both the flavor and the structural integrity of the food.  Deep poaching is almost identical, except the food is placed in a deep vessel and fully-submerged in liquid.  In both cases, depending upon the recipe, the liquid might require skimming at the start of or throughout the cooking process.

Place two large 3/4-1 pound, bone-in, skin-on turkey tenderloins, in a wide-bottomed 3 1/2 quart chef's pan w/straight deep sides (or a deep skillet):

IMG_5786Around perimeter, arrange 6-ounces onion chunks (half a medium onion), 4-ounces carrot cut into 2" lengths (one large carrot), 2-ounces celery cut into 2" lengths (one large celery stalk), 2 bay leaves (or 2 rosemary or thyme sprigs depending on what you're making/serving with tenderloins), and, 2 teaspoons each coarse sea salt and peppercorns:

IMG_5790Add 1 quart water, or, 3 1/2 cups water + 1/2 cup white wine:

IMG_5792Cover and place on stovetop over high heat.  When liquid comes to a rapid simmer, adjust heat to a very gentle simmer/shiver and continue to cook until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 170º, 30-40 minutes (smaller or larger tenders cook quicker or longer.):

IMG_5801^^^ Tip from Mel.  If you have a chef's pan with a glass lid, it's ideal, as it allows you to watch the poaching process and regulate the heat as necessary.  Remove from heat:

IMG_5803Using a large slotted spoon, transfer turkey from liquid to plate.  There's no need to discard the liquid, it's well-seasoned and tasty.  Simmer some egg noodles or rice in it:

IMG_5809Cover plate of turkey with plastic wrap and wait until it has cooled until you can comfortably handle it with your hands, prior to proceeding with specific recipe.

IMG_5813Poached perfection, fork-tender, moist and juicy too.  Each tenderloin yeilds 3-4 servings sliced and about 3-4 generous cups of chopped or pulled turkey tenderloin:

IMG_5818Let's Talk about Poaching Turkey Breast Tenderloins:  Recipe yields instruction to shallow-poach 2, 3/4-1 pound turkey tenderloins/6 servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides and lid (preferably glass); instant-read meat thermometer; large slotted spoon; plastic wrap

6a0120a8551282970b01bb0a00852d970dCook's Note: Looking for an all-purpose gravy that goes well on almost anything?  I've got one.  One basic recipe, made with a few pantry staples, and, in a few minutes:  a great gravy that carnivores and vegetarians can sit down to enjoy, together. Got pan drippings?  Just add them to my ~ Vegetarian Herb Gravy for Whatever Floats the Boat ~ along with the stock. Like a chameleon adjusts its color to blend in, this gravy graciously accepts any carnivorous flavor you've got to add.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)