November 17, 2010

The Maine Ingredient: Time to talk cranberries, and turkey


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For confit, break down your turkey and cook it in fat a week ahead for the perfect make-ahead meal for entertaining.

Elizabeth Poisson

Serves 6 to 8.


Use the carcass, neck and giblets (those squishy things that come in the bag if you are using a store-bought turkey). For a more flavorful stock, use an uncooked carcass, but you can also use the bones left over from carving a whole turkey.

Place in a large pot with 2 large carrots, 2 small leeks and 2 celery sticks, all quartered. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce immediately to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours (if you are using cooked bones, it won't take quite as long), skimming any foam and fat that rises to the surface.

Strain and use stock immediately for gravy or soup, or freeze for later.


Use your favorite stuffing or my recipes for cranberry and challah stuffing; cranberry, pecan and sage stuffing; or sausage and apple stuffing on my blog at

3 cups of your favorite stuffing

Both breast halves from a 12- to 14-pound turkey, skin on, about 4 pounds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

Lay the turkey breast skin-side down between two large layers of plastic wrap. With a meat tenderizer, pound the breast until it is an even thickness and 1/2-inch thick. Discard the plastic. Season the breast with salt and pepper.

Arrange the breasts so that if you picture yourself as facing north, the long side runs east to west. Place the stuffing in a row in the middle of the pounded turkey breast lengthwise. Roll one side of the turkey up and over the stuffing, tucking everything in as neatly and tightly as you can. Roll the other side to make a log with the stuffing in the center. Use toothpicks to hold the final edge in place while you tie it with butcher's string every 1 to 2 inches.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat and add canola oil. Carefully place the roll into the pan. Brown for 10 minutes on all sides, turning as needed. Transfer skillet to oven and cook for 45 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 155 in the center of the roll. Let rest 5 minutes, and slice in 1/2-inch slices.

Serves 6 to 8.


1 1/2 cup cranberries

1 cup water (or more if you like the syrup a little looser)

1 cup sugar

Pinch of ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 vanilla bean, split

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and cool. Store in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups.


2 cups cranberries

1 1/2 cup water

1 cup port

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 whole bay leaves

Zest from 1 orange

Zest from 1/2 lemon

Juice from 2 oranges, about 3/4 cup

Juice from 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the cranberries burst, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and strain. Cool completely to serve as a jelly, or serve hot as a more liquid sauce.

Makes about 2 cups.



Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of "At Home, At Sea," a recipe book about her experiences cooking aboard the family's windjammer. She can be reached at:


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