Because we all need an extra hand every now and then...
Holiday Recipe Ideas By: Katie Blight
Ahh, Christmas. Cleaning your kitchen, cooking a ton of food all day long, dishes stacked up, friends and family demolishing the meal in one hour to the 6 it took you to make it. Then, as everyone is passing out from turkey and pie coma and dipping into too much wine, you drag yourself to the kitchen to get at least some of it cleaned up.
Sounds fun, right? Totally. Best part of the holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a great turkey dinner with all the things that go with it. Nothing compares to it! I got tired of the busy, though. I got tired of the dissatisfaction of missing out on so much of the time with my family and friends. I wanted more out of Christmas.
Insert “Alternative Turkey Dinner Burgers”.
So, I am no chef. I don’t measure anything. I don’t write anything down when I make something awesome. What I will do though, is guide you into making something incredible for dinner, the way you like it, and I’ll let you know how I go about mine.
You are going to need a waffle press, a baking dish, and a grill or heavy pan.
First thing’s first, I make the stuffing/dressing a day or two before dinner. I just do this in a baking dish, no need to stuff anything.
I start with bacon, cutting into small strips and frying up until cooked but still pliable. Leave the fat in the pan. Add in a diced onion, and diced celery, around the same volume of both. Cook that in the bacon fat until soft. Add in cubed bread you cut the day before, and then add some chicken stock to moisten, and poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper to your taste preference. You want the dressing to be able to come together in a ball, but you still want some of the bread to be a little bit dry. Bake this up in a pan for around an hour at 350 to meld all your flavours together.
On the day you are going to make these burgers, you will make your burger patties, or you can make ahead and freeze these. Use your favourite binder for the meat. Season the meat with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Alternatively, you can use herbs like oregano, sage, or thyme if you don’t love poultry seasoning. You’ll grill these like any other burger patty, just be mindful to cook through completely, and turkey really likes to stick to the grill.
The buns will be made with your waffle press. You’ll need to make up some pancake batter – go ahead and use commercial mix if you like, but you want to make it too runny, kind of like for crepes. Remember how your stuffing is a bit too dry? The wet pancake batter is going to finish the job. Mix in your stuffing into the pancake batter to make a gloopy mix of wet stuffing that has no pancake batter running out of it, and scoop into your hot waffle iron, making sure to spread to the edges. Cook until browned well, around 6 to 8 minutes in my waffle iron, but this could vary for yours. Your waffles should hold together nicely. If not, adjust for a little more pancake batter, and eat the rejects. For quality control.
Toppings for your burger can literally be anything you like, but for me the obvious choice is jellied cranberry sauce. Let’s keep this real raw and slice it in the shape of the can. Perfect patty sized portion. I knew that can shape was worthy! Some crisp iceberg lettuce, and some mayo, and you’re on your way to Happytown.
Sides, well, this just calls for sweet potato fries. Get the ones from the freezer section in the store to save yourself more work. Make up a mayo dip with hot sauce or aioli sauce, and you might as well be running a 5-star restaurant by now. Except you get to drink on the job if you want to.
If you really love the process of cooking, or you can rope your dinner guests into the job, I have another dinner idea for you!!
Turkey Dinner Pierogis.
Dough: (for like, a zillion people)
2kg of peeled potatoes (or a little more, unpeeled). Cut up into quarters if needed to make all a similar size, and boil until very soft. If you haven’t peeled, you can do it after they cool a bit. Skins come off easily.
Mash as smooth as you can without adding anything other than reserved potato water. For 2kg of potatoes, you need 1kg of white flour approximately. Mix in some seasoning, poultry seasoning would cover the “stuffing” flavours, or you can just add salt and pepper. Season the potatoes well, as you’ll be adding the flour after you check your seasoning for taste.
Add in around half your flour and work into the mashed potato, and as it becomes smooth, you can add more and more until you come up with a nice elastic dough. A little sticky is ok. Rest your dough for 20 minutes. You can tone this recipe down for less people, or the dough freezes really well for later!
You can have fun here. I would start with 250g of ground turkey, cooked up with onions and dried cranberries and some poultry seasoning. Make sure its minced up nice and small, and cook until there’s no running liquid. Another filling option is sweet potato, carrot, ginger, garlic and brown sugar.
Building the pierogi:
Quarter the dough, and roll out on a lightly floured surface to around 3mm in thickness, and cut out circles or squares, about 3 inches (a drinking glass, or tuna can is around the right size). Put around a half to full teaspoon filling in the pierogi, use a small pastry brush or your fingers to dab water around the edges (making sure no filling is falling out) and you can either fold this in half, or place a second piece of dough overtop (like a ravioli would be). Pinch this WELL. Really meld those two pieces of dough together to become one, or you will lose your filling during cooking.
Cooking the Pierogi:
You can do this two ways. You can either drop your filled pierogis into a pot of salted, rapidly boiling water, and boil for approximately 5 minutes, or until they all float to the surface. Drain, then you’d toss in butter or oil, or with sautéed onions and bacon (or whatever suited you, mushrooms sound nice too).
The other method is to place the raw pierogis directly into a preheated nonstick pan with butter or oil, fry on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes each side, finishing with a couple tablespoons of water with a lid to cover to steam them for a couple more minutes.
Try both and see how you like it.
Katie Blight - Katie is a 34-year-old and a mother to a seven-year-old and a wife. She has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys outdoor activities such as snowboarding, Canadian Ski Patrol, backroads camping and travel.