27 November 2010

Weekend Cooking: Culinary Classics & Improvisations by Michael Field

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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

Serves 4
  • 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
To make the sauce, lightly and slowly brown the onions, shallots, and garlic in 2 tablespoons of the butter. Then pour the vinegar into the saute pan, raise the heat and, stirring almost constantly, boil the vinegar completely away. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir in the stock. Bring this all to a boil and immediate reduce the heat to barely simmering. Add the sugar and bay leaf and season quite highly with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce slowly, uncovered for about 20 minutes; it should be quite thick when its done. If it isn't, cook it a while longer. Stir in the turkey gravy--thickened or not--if you have it, and add the capers.

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
ISBN-13: 9780880010153


caite 11/27/10, 6:31 AM  

I love turkey, but not a fan really of anything past a turkey sandwich or, of course, turkey soup. Turkey bones make the best stock...
although if it has a lot of butter and cream I may consider it..lol

caite 11/27/10, 6:34 AM  

btw, I would totally go for the toasted bread crumb/broiler ending. yum.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 11/27/10, 7:32 AM  

Good job on the turkey post. i am sure this will come in handy for many.

bermudaonion 11/27/10, 8:40 AM  

This sounds like a fantastic cookbook for me because I'm not very good at using leftovers.

Beth S. 11/27/10, 8:42 AM  

I LOVE turning leftovers into something new. It's one of the most satisfying things to do in the kitchen. I'm going to have to check that cookbook out!

Heather 11/27/10, 11:15 AM  

I'm going to try this tonight with the 6 (no make that 5 as the dog got a leg) drumsticks left over from our Hogwarts dinner. Sounds like a flavourful dish.

Sherrie 11/27/10, 12:50 PM  

Hi Beth,
This sounds like a wonderful book to have in the kitchen. I'm going to have to look around and find a copy. Have a great day!

Just Books

Diann 11/27/10, 2:33 PM  

Thanks for the turey recipe! I might have to try it so we have something different with our leftovers this year!

Nan 11/27/10, 2:42 PM  

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this great weekly event. Instead of the muffins, my link is to chocolate chip cookies I made today.

Bonnie 11/28/10, 11:37 AM  

I like the premise of this cookbook of turning the main recipe into another dish that uses the leftovers. Thanks for sharing this one with us.

Julie P. 11/28/10, 8:14 PM  

I love the idea of this book -- in theory. I'm just not a fan of using leftover stuff. I know I should be, but....

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 11/29/10, 7:28 AM  

Did anyone else have to look up "capilotade" ?!

I can't find the definition, is it a French term?

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