Friday, January 11, 2008

Dark Days: Turkey Tetrazzini

I am embarrassed to say how long this meal has been in the planning. But our leftover turkey from Thanksgiving has bounced from the fridge to the freezer and back again. Our CSA (local farm) delivery has been on haitus and I did not want to make the noodles for the tetrazzini without our local eggs.

Do I sound desperate, or what?

What it is, I think, is just guilt over the fact that I have not been able to source all of the ingredients for our food locally. Call it lack of preparation, lack of spunk, or just a beginner's floundering around. The turkey in this dish is the dark meat from the last drumstick and wing that I have been so carefully hoarding. The pasta is made with local eggs but King Arthur flour. The salad is from our garden, dressed with a honey-mustard vinaigrette from standard pantry items. (I'd even been saving the salad greens for this occasion--the weather has been so fluky, I wasn't sure we'd have any left in the garden to pick otherwise.)

Yesterday our CSA deliveries finally resumed. So when I arrived home from teaching my "food appreciation" classes in the evening, my daughter and I set to work making the pasta. It's a two-egg affair with a 50/50 mix of all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. I gave the dough a quick knead on the countertop, then fed it into our pasta machine while my daughter cranked. Turns out we make a great pasta making team and it's so easy, I wonder sometimes why we bother buying prepared pasta. We rolled the dough up to the next-to-last setting, resulting in a sturdy noodle once it was cut into linguine.

The golden, almost orange hue of the pastured egg yolks give the pasta a rich depth of color, while the addition of whole wheat flour produces a very satisfying chew.

The pasta is cooked in a big pot of salted water just to the al dente stage, then quickly drained and rinsed in cold water to arrest the cooking. Meanwhile, we sauteed onion and mushrooms and mixed these with frozen peas in a veloute sauce--a roux of butter and flour blended as for a gravy with homemade turkey stock and finished with a bit of heavy cream.

Layer the pasta and sauce in a greased casserole (a small square, in this case), dust with bread crumbs and bake in a 375-degree oven until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Scoop onto plates with the salad and serve.

(Note: for an even richer Tetrazzini sauce, try adding a tempered egg yolk and some Marsala wine.)


MA in Boise said...

Dear Ed,

I am reading "Plenty" as well as "Animal, Veg" and just finished "In Defense of Food." You are doing a great job on the Dark Days menu and you should stop being desperate. An admirable undertaking to be sure, but never fear, even the pioneers had to go to town once a year for 100 pounds of coffee, some flour and some sugar. I am not going to hold the King Arthur flour ag'in you. I have King Arthur flour in my pantry and my relatives own a wheat farm. It is 300 miles from here but who knows where the wheat ends up.

You are doing a great job. I will use your recipe but will call it Chicken Tet. Chicken and eggs are local, King Arthur flour, local onions (some actually gleaned from the side of the road), and mushrooms (maybe local).

Bon Appetit!

Ed Bruske said...

Mary Ann, thanks for your support. We are doing our best around here to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the local farmers. There aren't many of them milling their own flour any more. Enjoy the chicken tet.

Sophie said...

Hi Ed,

I too am lamenting the fact that I can't get local wheat. I'm in CT and have not been able to find any wheat (certainly not durum) growing in this part of the country. More troubling is that I cannot tell where the wheat/flour I can get did come from.

Ed Bruske said...

Sophie, we're not exactly recreating the frontier days around here, so I don't feel so terrible about not being able to find local flour. Even if the flour is local, doesn't mean the wheat was locally grown. Keep grinding away at it, so to speak. You just might find something.