Monday, February 6, 2017

Turkey or Chicken Stuffed with Black Olives, and Pureed Potatoes with Leeks Sauteed in Olive Oil

Turkey or Chicken Stuffed with Black Olives & Pureed Potatoes with Leeks Sauteed in Olive Oil 


This is a very simple way to roast a turkey or chicken and as far as I am concerned the very best way to roast a turkey. For roasting a bird for celebratory dinners throughout the year and everyday dinners a chicken works very well. I have found that fresh organic turkeys are not available locally throughout the year, only at Thanksgiving. I think this unfortunate, but a chicken is delicious prepared this way also. This is the method my mother, Marguerite and my grandmother Rosalie used to prepare a holiday bird or celebratory bird.  This roasting method was always used on Thanksgiving, and if a turkey was served on Christmas, or Easter this method was used as well. Chickens were used in this way for many family dinners. This makes a great birthday dinner, Valentine's dinner or any time you crave this dish. Once you have made it once you will want to serve it again and again. The flavor of the olives becomes rich and full. As a child I would always be in the kitchen as the turkey was taken out of the oven so that I could have a few of the olives out of the cavity, before the presentation of the grand bird. 

1 medium sized turkey 8 to 10 pounds fresh and organic if available (if you are serving a large crowd prepare 2 turkeys, rather than one large bird as the meat tends to dry out and be tougher than the younger and more tender smaller birds.) or 1 whole chicken organic if possible

15 or more olives (regular black olives are fine, but you can use any variety of black olive that you prefer)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

large shallow roasting pan (you want to have the bird exposed to the air, so that it does not steam)    
rack to place the turkey on (an ovenproof cookie cooling rack works well) 

Remove giblets and liver if they are stored in the cavity. Rinse your turkey under cold running water, and remove any veins or membranes that are in the cavity of the bird, as well as you can. Place the bird on a rack inside of, or sitting  on top of a roasting pan. The rack should keep the bird at least ½ inch of the bottom of the pan. Use a roasting pan with plenty of room to hold the bird comfortably. The roasting pan should have sides about 2 inches high, this will be high enough to make gravy after the bird is roasted and low enough to have air circulate around the bird adequately to ensure even cooking of both the white and dark meat.  Generously salt the inside of the cavity, lift the bird and place it breast side down on the rack and salt and pepper the back of the bird. Lift the bird once again and place it on it’s back and proceed to salt and pepper the breast and legs and wings. Place in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for the appropriate amount of time for the weight of the bird. Approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours for every 5 pounds.When you are about 45 minutes away from the bird being done, place the olives in the cavity of the bird. When the bird is done, you should be able to remove the drumstick without much resistance. The bird should have reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using a meat thermometer insert the thermometer into the breast without touching the bone.Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest. Remove all of the olives from the cavity and reserve 5 or so for garnish. Place the rest in a serving dish and keep warm. Place the bird on a warm platter. Place orange slices and olives around the turkey decoratively. You are now ready to enjoy a bird that is fit for a King or Queen. BuonAppetito!

Mashed Potatoes with Leeks Sautéed in Olive Oil 
Pure di patate cremoso

The sautéed leeks are a great addition and give a subtle flavor to the potatoes. The sautéed leeks can be omitted if you wish and you will have excellent plain mashed potatoes.  

7 or 8 russet potatoes  peeled and cut into thirds
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 to 3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. whole milk or cream or enough to keep the potatoes fluffy 

For leeks
1 to 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat your sauté pan)
2 medium leeks

Place cold water in a large pot and bring it to a boil. While the water is heating peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks.  When the water reaches a boil add the kosher salt, and then the potatoes. Partially cover the pot and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the potatoes cook at a low boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender about  20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the chunks of potato.

While potatoes are boiling, prepare the leeks. Cut off the root ends and the dark green tops. Make a slit running lengthwise to the center of the leeks from the top to the bottom, so that you can open up the leeks and rinse them under cold running water to remove any dirt or sand. Chop the leeks into a ¼ inch dice. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan until it is hot enough to sizzle when a piece of leek is dropped into it. Place the chopped leeks into the olive oil and sauté until the leeks are soft and translucent.
The potatoes are done when they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes reserving ½ cup of the cooking water in case the potatoes are too dry.  Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer back into the pot that you boiled them in. Place over very low heat making sure that they do not burn. Add 2 to 3 Tbsp. butter and enough whole milk or cream, (added a little at a time)until thoroughly incorporated to make the potatoes fluffy and smooth. If they seem too dry add as much as needed of the reserved cooking water. Add the sautéed leeks. Serve immediately or place in an oven proof serving dish and keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to serve them.