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One of my all-time favorite cookbooks is Michael Field's Culinary Classics & Improvisations. The premise of the book is simple: One night you make a classic dish, such as a roast beef, leg of lamb, ham, or turkey, and then the following night you make a dish that uses the leftovers.
There are meat chapters, a fish and shellfish chapter, and a chapter on stuffed vegetables. These days, I don't make big roasts very often, but when I do, I almost always turn to this book. Thanksgiving is no exception. I rely on several recipes in the chicken and turkey sections for my Saturday night dinner after Thanksgiving. By Sunday, I'm usually making soup (our favorite is turkey and split pea soup).
All the recipes in Culinary Classics that I've tried work and taste heavenly. The directions are written in a clear and chatty matter, which makes the book a breeze to use. Although some dishes call for cream and generous amounts of butter, I have had no trouble substituting more healthful ingredients. On the other hand, what's one more indulgent meal on a holiday weekend?
I'm not sure how available this book is anymore, but if you ever see it around, be sure to buy yourself a copy.
Here's what we're having for dinner tonight. I've noted in parentheses some of the substitutions I usually make.
Capilotade of Turkey in the French Style
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or scallions
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I use sage vinegar)
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped (I use canned diced tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 3/4 cup turkey or chicken stock (I've used unthickened gravy)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (I usually leave this out)
- 1 small bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons leftover turkey gravy (optional)
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 4-8 large pieces of roast turkey: thigh, wing, thick slices of breast
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Although the turkey pieces may now be immersed in this sauce, heated through (without boiling), and served simply with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, the dish will have more character if it is treated in the following fashion. Preheat the broiler, then add the turkey to the simmering sauce and baste it for about 10 minutes to heat it through. Take care not to let the sauce boil or the turkey may toughen. Now transfer the hot turkey to a small shallow baking dish, spread the sauce over it, and sprinkle heavily with the bread crumbs. Dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brown quickly under the broiler. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.
Published by Ecco Press, 1983