Confit Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette

Did you watch the 2013 season of Top Chef Masters?

If you did, then you probably remember chef Sang Yoon. Yep. The ketchup-hater.

Well, he owns two fabulous restaurants that are just a few minutes from our apartment.

Lukshon, an asian-fusion restaurant is one of my absolute favorites. It’s home to my favorite sparkling rose, luscious silky broths, and succulent spicy noodles. It’s my go-to place for a celebratory dinner or date night.

But realistically, we can be found more often at Father’s Office, Yoon’s casual, cooler, sister restaurant that serves up one of the best burgers in LA, thin and crispy fries, and a huge selection of craft beers.

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette and Figs

I almost always get the burger at Father’s Office (and yes, there’s no ketchup allowed, only aioli), but one time I went rogue and got the salad.

I know… a SALAD at a burger joint??

But this wasn’t just any salad. It was a duck confit salad over bitter greens with a delicate orange vinaigrette.

And omg it was so good, I ordered it again the next time we went to Father’s Office.

And then I got a little obsessed and tried to recreate it home.

Turkey Drumstick Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but duck isn’t sold at my local Sprouts, so I swapped in a prehistoric looking whole turkey drumstick instead. It has the same vibe as a whole confited duck leg, and turkey legs are actually pretty cheap!

Next step? Figuring out how the heck to confit something.

P.S. if you don’t know how to pronounce confit, it’s “con-fee”

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette, Cashews, and Figs

The confiting process is actually relatively simple and hands-off.

You simply submerge your piece of meat (or veggies- garlic confit is super popular) in a pot of olive oil and slowly simmer for hours and hours until the meat is fall off the bone tender.

I like to finish the turkey with a quick high-heat cook in the oven to crisp up the skin, because let’s be honest, crispy skin is the best part of home cooked poultry, am I right?

But really, once the confit is in the oven, you can hang out and do something else for the afternoon while the meat simmers away, and it’ll be ready and waiting for you come dinner time.

Confited meats are super rich.

I mean, you DID just cook it entirely submerged in oil for hours 😉

So to balance it out, it’s perfect served atop a lightly dressed bed of bitter greens, with a fresh orange vinaigrette, crunchy salty nuts, and delightfully sweet dried figs.

Nom nom nom.

This meal is definitely a cooking project, but I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon! You get to be creative and try a new cooking techqniue, AND totally impress yourself and your family with a restaurant quality salad with fancy confited meat 🙂

Turkey Confit Salad With Fresh Orange Vinaigrette

Confit Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 50 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 4 whole turkey drumsticks
  • Sprinkle of kosher salt
  • Sprinkle of ground black pepper
  • 1.5 liters olive oil
  • Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 shallot, halved and peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large head curly green leaf lettuce, leaves washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small head radicchio, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 16 dried figs, stem ends removed, each fig sliced into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 small navel orange
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the turkey legs with kosher salt and pepper and place in a large enameled dutch oven. Nestle them in so that they are in one layer. Pour enough olive oil into the dutch oven to fully submerge the turkey legs (don't worry, you can save the oil for cooking later. It won't be wasted). It took about 1.5 liters to cover the turkey legs in my dutch oven.
  • Add the garlic cloves, shallot, and bay leaves to the pot. Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to barely a simmer. Turn off the heat, and put the unlidded pot in the oven. Let cook for 4 hours, or until the skin and flesh of the turkey has begun to pull away from the end of the leg bone and the meat is fall off the bone tender. Check on it periodically to make sure the oil is NOT boiling. If it is, turn down the heat so it is barely at a simmer.
  • When the turkey is done, remove the pot from the oven and set aside to cool. Use tongs to remove the turkey legs from the oil and place on a cooling rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place the baking sheet with the turkey legs in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the skin is nicely browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • When the olive oil is cooled, fish out the garlic and shallot confit & store submerged in a bit of the oil for another use. Strain the rest of the oil into a tupperware and keep in the fridge for up to a month for all of your general purpose cooking needs.
  • While the turkey legs are browning, assemble the salad and make the dressing.
  • Place the lettuce and radicchio in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove pressed garlic, and Dijon mustard. Season with a little salt and pepper, and pour the dressing over the lettuce and radicchio. Toss to coat.
  • Divide the lettuce up onto 4 large plates. Top each plate with 1/4th each of the dried figs, cashews or macadamia nuts, and green onions. Place 1 turkey leg on top of each salad and enjoy!
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Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin Served on Small Plates

Let’s be honest here.

Decadent potato dishes are one of the best parts of holiday meals.

Mashed potatoes drenched in gravy, gooey cheesy potatoes au gratin, or crispy golden latkes served piping hot off the stove.

Potatoes are a corner stone of the holiday meal, providing an anchor between the light salad and heavy roasted meats.

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Au gratin potatoes are a classic in my family.

We have a tried and true 1950’s recipe in which thin slices of potato are mixed with a creamy beschamel sauce, topped with shredded cheddar and breadcrumbs, and baked until gooey and golden.

It’s delicious, BUT, dare I say, I’ve found a way to make it better.

Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

By adding cauliflower!

I know, it sounds crazy, but adding cauliflower does two amazing things:

  • It adds a new texture to a typically one-note dish.
  • It boosts the nutrients in the dish, adding some extra fiber and heart-healthy flavonoids.

Cauliflower works particularly well in this gratin, because it manages to blend right in with the creamy potatoes.

It’s the same color, and has a pretty mild flavor, so if you don’t tell anyone, they might not even know it’s in there! (Perfect for the secret veggie haters in your life).

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

I also upgraded the original recipe by using a mixture of Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses instead of plain Cheddar, and using extra crispy panko breadcrumbs seasoned with garlic and thyme instead of traditional breadcrumbs.

The final upgrade?

Baking the gratin in a wide 9×13 baking dish so that each serving gets plenty of the garlicky crispy topping. I mean, that IS the best part of a gratin, right??

Seriously, this dish will be the star at your holiday party. You should probably make it.

And everyone will love you for it.

Close-up of Cheesy Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided for 2 uses
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 3 quart (9x13 inch) baking dish and set aside.
  • Cut the russet potatoes in half crosswise and add to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. When they are fork tender but still have some resistance, scoop them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool.
  • Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets in a small pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add an inch of water to the bottom of the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Steam the cauliflower until just barely tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the steamer basket and spread out on a plate or tray to cool.
  • When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the potato skins and discard. Cut the potatoes into a 1-inch dice and set aside.
  • In a small nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook over medium-low heat until golden. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, and thyme and remove from the heat.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Add the 1/4 cup flour and whisk until smooth. Keep the heat low to prevent the butter from browning or the flour from burning and cook until the roux is bubbly and barely a light golden color.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream and milk. Continue whisking over low heat until the sauce is thickened and coats the whisk when removed from the pan. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and remove from the heat.
  • Place the cubed potatoes and cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Pour the creamy white sauce over the vegetables and toss with a soft spatula until evenly coated. Dump the creamy vegetable mixture into the buttered casserole dish and shake to spread out the mixture evenly. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese followed by the Parmesan cheese, and finally, top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes and serve.

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Green Posole with Shredded Chicken

Green Posole Verde with Chicken

Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than a warm bowl of chicken soup?

I think not.

The way the warm broth slips down your throat and warms you from the inside out. The steam from the bowl wafting up over your face, bathing you in the rich smells of chicken and vegetables. It simply can’t be beat.

While I LOVE a good chicken noodle, I also really love posole. (Do I really have to remind you of my obsession with Mexican food? I didn’t think so 😉 ).

There are different types of posole, but generally they include some sort of slow-simmered meat, a flavorful broth (either green and tomatillo based or red chile based), and tender grains of hominy.

What’s hominy?

It’s basically dried corn kernels that have been softened by soaking them in a mixture of lime or wood ash (or in modern times, sometime lye).

The process is called nixtamalization, and it results in tender white kernels that look sort of like mushy corn nuts. (appealing, I know)

But soaking the kernels in lime or ash also gives hominy a nutritional boost.

Without the soaking, our bodies cannot access the vitamin B3 (niacin) in the corn kernels. This is a problem for people who rely on corn as a major food source. They need every vitamin and mineral they can get!

Without enough niacin in the diet, a deficiency disease develops called pellagra. Signs of pellagra are the 3 “D’s”: Diarrhea, Dementia, & Dermatitis, and if untreated, can even lead to death!

Yikes!

Yes, this actually happened back in the day when American settlers tried to use corn as a staple in their diet without following the customs of the native people. Without soaking the corn first, they were unable to access and absorb the vitamin B3 (niacin) in their food and pellagra ran wild.

Thankfully, our modern diets are typically rich in niacin, and pellagra is now uncommon in America. Phew!

Ancient wisdom saves the day!

Posole Verde with Chicken and Hominy

So anyways, back to my hominy soup.

I’m obsessed with green posole with shredded chicken and ALL the toppings.

I mean all.

This soup becomes a hearty meal once you top it with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream and/or cheese, avocado, radish, cilantro, onion, lettuce, lime, and hot sauce.

The sour cream melts into the broth and makes it gorgeously light green and creamy, while the radish, lettuce, and tortilla strips give each bite texture and crunch. When you take a bite, the tangy broth makes your tastebuds dance and sing. You’ll start in, and 2 seconds later, wonder where all the soup went as you reach the bottom of the bowl.

It’s that good.

Perfect to enjoy family style on a cool winter’s night, or serve at a party for everyone to top their bowl to their liking. Have fun with it!

Close Up Shot of Chicken Posole Verde

Green Posole with Shredded Chicken

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 lb fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved if large
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 large poblano peppers, seeds, stem, and core removed, each cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 small serrano pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50 oz canned hominy, drained
  • Your choice of toppings: Shredded iceberg lettuce or cabbage, , thinly sliced radish or jicama, diced avocado, minced white onion, sour cream or crema, shredded monterey jack cheese or queso fresco, minced cilantro, crispy tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips, lime wedges, and Tapatio.

Instructions

  • Pour the chicken broth and water into a large enameled dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquid and place on a plate to cool. Keep the cooking liquid for later.
  • While the chicken cools, add the tomatillos, onion, garlic, poblanos, serrano, cilantro, and oregano to the blender. Scoop 1 cup of the chicken cooking liquid into the blender as well. Pulse until combined, then blend until smooth.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the tomatillo puree and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 or 15 minutes, until the sauce has turned dark green.
  • As the sauce cooks, shred the chicken breasts and discard the skin and bones. Add the shredded chicken and the hominy to the pot with the chicken broth. When the tomatillo sauce is done simmering, pour it into the pot as well. Bring to a simmer, then ladle into bowls and top with all the toppings your heart desires!

Based on one of my favorite recipes: Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde by Anya Von Bremen.

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