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Rutherford Weekly's Favorite Reader Recipes 11-23-16

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Cheesy Leftover Turkey and Mashed Potato Bites

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1 cup finely chopped leftover turkey

1/3 cup chopped scallions

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 large eggs

2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Leftover cranberry sauce or gravy, for serving

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, turkey, scallions, cheese and eggs until well combined. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate large bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out about 3 tablespoons of the mashed potato mixture and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Repeat the scooping, rolling and breading process with the remaining mashed potato mixture. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Add the vegetable oil to a large heavy-bottomed stockpot and attach the deep-fry thermometer to the side. Heat the oil until it reaches 360°F. Carefully add a few of the mashed potato balls to the oil and cook them, turning occasionally, until they're golden brown. Using a slotted spoon or colander, transfer the mashed potato bites to the paper towel-lined plate and immediately season them with salt. Add the remaining mashed potato balls to the oil, returning the oil to 360°F between each batch. Serve the mashed potato bites with leftover cranberry sauce or gravy for dipping.

Note: All leftover mashed potatoes will vary in texture and taste. If your mashed potatoes are thinner in consistency, add additional flour until the mixture is cohesive. Similarly, season the potato mixture with salt and pepper to your personal taste preferences.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces (2 ounces)

1 cup leftover sweet potato casserole (or mashed sweet potatoes)

1/8-1/4 cup milk (or more, if needed)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray). Mix dry ingredients in food processor. Pulse butter into flour mixture until all butter has been blended into the flour. Process in the sweet potatoes to the flour mixture, just until fully combined with flour. Add 1/8 cup of milk to mixture. Add more milk, a tablespoon or two at a time, if necessary to achieve a ball of dough in your processor. Dough should be soft and smooth, not dry or too wet. If you end up with dough that is too wet and sticky, at a bit more flour so that it can be handle and rolled. If too dry, add more milk. Roll dough on your surface so that it is approximate ½-inch thick. Cut in 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared baking sheet. Reroll remaining dough and continue cutting rounds until all dough is used. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie with Stuffing Crust

For the Crust: About 2½-3 cups of stuffing/dressing made from the recipe of your choice (leftover is just fine)

About ½ cup turkey or chicken broth/stock

For the Potatoes: 2 each medium Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes

salt and pepper, to taste

about 2 ounces butter

about 1 cup warmed milk (maybe a bit more. I just put it in a pan over medium heat until it was hot but not scalding)

For the Filling: 3 Tablespoons fat (you can use oil, butter, coconut oil, chicken fat--whatever you like here)

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 large rib celery, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

salt and pepper, to taste

2 Tablespoons flour

1-1½ cups chicken or turkey stock

sweet potatoes in ½" dice. (I used about ½ cup or so, I guess)

2-3 cups diced chicken or turkey (leftover is fine. If you're making "new," the meat doesn't have to be cooked all the way through since it'll bake up in the pie)

1 cup frozen peas

½ cup dried cranberries

If you're using cold, leftover stuffing, cut it into kind of manageable 1" chunks. Put in the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup of stock and pulse until it still has some texture but isn't too chunky. Test to see if it is still crumbly. If it is, add the other ¼ cup of stock and pulse again.This stuff will be sticky, so look out. Spray a deep-dish pie pan lightly with pan spray. Dump the stuffing into the pan and roughly press it out with the back of a spatula. Lightly spray this with pan spray so you can work with it, then press the stuffing in the pan and up the sides trying to make it look as nice as possible. It should be about ¼" thick. Bake in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, until the crust is dry on top and has taken on some color. If any of it has slumped, you may have to futz around with it a bit once it comes out of the oven. Just press it back in place with a spatula or something. It will be fine. Set aside.

For the Mashed Potatoes: Peel and cut the potatoes into 1" dice (more or less) and place them in a pan of cold water. Add a healthy sprinkle of salt and several grinds of black pepper to the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Let the potatoes simmer about 12 minutes until tender. Drain off all the water, put the lid on the pan and let the potatoes dry over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Mash the potatoes with your favorite masher. Add a bit of salt and pepper and the butter and mash well to combine. Taste for seasoning and add the milk, a bit at a time, until you like the consistency. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and set aside to stay warm.

For the Filling: Heat a large saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the fat. When it is melted and shimmering, add the onions, carrots and celery (mirepoix) to the pan along with a heavy pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and the poultry seasoning. Stir and saute for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened and somewhat translucent. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes or so. The mixture will seem very dry. If you want to add a bit more fat, you can. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. The mixture will be quite thick. You can add a bit more stock if you want, if you want your final pie to have a bit more gravy in it. Personally, I think thicker is better. Add in the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring, for about 5-7 minutes, just to give them a head start since they're kinda hard. Stir in the meat, peas and cranberries and stir everyone around for a minute.

To Assemble and Bake: Spread the filling evenly in your stuffing crust. Top with the mashed potatoes, making it swirly if you want. Tent the pie with foil and bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more at 375F. Take the pie out of the oven, tent with some foil, and let set up about 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

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