A number of months ago, the owner and operator of online retailer FoodiePages, Erin Maynes, asked us to participate as testers in her “Food Explorer” program.
FoodiePages is an online shop that lets you order small batch goods made by artisan producers from across Canada. Imagine being able to peruse goods from craft and farmers’ markets, be they food, kitchen gear, or wine, any hour of the day. Maynes has worked hard to establish her large network of vendors, representing every province.
[Most are centralized around eastern Canada, however.]
What we find innovative are the curated “foodie boxes” that combine together products for almost every occasion. Want to discover what a specific region of Canada produces? There are boxes for that. Want a holiday-themed box to gift your line-manager at work? There are boxes for that. Some boxes are even assembled by Canadian celebrity chefs. Or, you could create your own basket of goods to gift.
Us, we are sent small boxes of products to sample similar to the tasting box. We rate the products and enter our findings in an online survey with other “explorers.” Based on the results, Mayne shortlists producers and decides whether or not to add or feature their products on FoodiePages.
To date, we’ve incorporated products into our cooking, both for projects and otherwise.
[Honestly, the bottled pan sauce was awful! Either learn how to make a pan (also known as “integral”) sauce when pan roasting a good steak (add stock, scrape the fond, reduce, add cream, add cognac, reduce) or try a “gentleman’s” steak sauce like David McMillan’s. For the latter option, think English brown sauce.]
And, we’ve done tastings, sometimes comparing craft products with their mainstream brethren.
This month, Maynes and her communications manager Deanna Berry issued a challenge:
Publish a new recipe to your blog of a classic dish along with a photo by December 15th (we’ve extended so you have the weekend too!) and mention ‘FoodiePages CHEF’SBOX Challenge’. FoodiePages will review submitted recipes for completeness and David McMillan will select a winning recipe by December 31st based on creativity and simplicity for our home audience (note: you must reside in Canada to participate).
Yeah, that McMillan of celebrated Joe Beef Restaurant (and Liver Pool House) in Montreal.
So, here’s a take on the classic turkey dinner.
Actually, we don’t quite have a recipe for this dish. The following is more of a simple technique.
What You’ll Need:
- Skin-on dark meat turkey portions (thighs or drumsticks)
- Large grain salt for seasoning (either Kosher or sea salt)
- Rice starch (or corn starch) and egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tsp of water) for dredging
- Panko bread crumbs for coating
- High smoke point oil for deep frying (canola or similar)
- A Japanese curry “roux cube” (we usually opt for the S&B brand), blonde turkey stock (or water), carrots, and potatoes
- Steamed long grain Jasmine rice
- Season the turkey pieces well with salt.
- Roast the turkey pieces in an oven pre-heated to 300F until they reach an internal temperature of 150°F. Use a probe thermometer.
- Immediately chill the turkey pieces.
- Prepare the Japanese curry as per instructions on the package. Please note the curry and sauce can be prepared in a pressure cooker. Just cook on full pressure for an hour. Then, fish out the carrots and potatoes and reduce the resulting sauce.
- Pre-heat the oil to 350°F.
- Pat dry the turkey pieces.
- Coat the turkey pieces in a very thin coating of rice starch.
- Drag the turkey pieces through the egg wash.
- Coat thickly in panko.
- Deep fry the pieces until they float and the coating turns golden brown. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.
- Evacuate the turkey pieces to a cooling rack set over a sheet pan.
- Repeat until all the pieces are fried.
- Serve the turkey pieces hot with rice and curried carrots and potatoes. Slather with curry sauce.
Now, we purchased an immersion circulator from Anova during the Kickstarter funding phase for their second generation device’s release. As such, I boned the turkey pieces and deep fried roulades of dark meat as per the technique described by Chefsteps.
One wrinkle, I initially chose not to employ Activa (transglutaminase), so just salted the boned out turkey with 0.5% salt by mass. With enough salt, meat releases myosin, so will hold together like good sausage filling.
[Asking the home cook to have a probe thermometer and scale is difficult enough…]
In hindsight, Activa meat glue would have resulted in a more refined product.
Our take is essentially turkey prepared with precision to a doneness enjoyed by most diners. Instead of a turkey gravy, we went with a curry sauce.
Best of all, going with boned roulades, the turkey dark meat portions of a holiday feast can be prepared beforehand and finished to serve. The roulades are ridiculously easy to carve as well.