November 01, 2010

Turkey (or Chicken) Croquettes with Spinach Mashers and Pan Gravy

Dinner gave this Mouse lots of energy!

After blowing off the dust from my Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners cookbook I found the first recipe I marked for "Mr. Sideline Chef might like" and decided that would be dinner. Reading the ingredients list reminded me of a spin off of Thanksgiving dinner.

What sounded like a labor intensive meal to make an hour before departure for trick or treating ended up being a snap to whip together. I thought I had picked an ambitious meal and was starting to panic with Mr. Sideline Chef's questioning every 5 minutes of, "How much longer Babe?"

The turkey croquettes were a mix of ground turkey, seasonings, celery, and onion rolled in breadcrumbs before frying. They sat on a bed of mashed potatoes with spinach mixed in and a pan gravy poured on top. I could have drank the gravy by the gallons. I did slurp two spoonfuls while putting dinner away. I had my back to the family so no one saw. No harm no foul. Rachael Ray recommended a side of whole-berry cranberry sauce for passing at the table. There was no passing. Mr. Sideline Chef won't touch it and the kid didn't even bat an eyelash at it.

The meal was ready in under a half hour, devoured in 10 minutes, and we were costumed and out the door before 6:45 p.m.
At the pumpkin patch a couple days before Halloween.

This was such a hearty meal and left us uncomfortably stuffed. I don't know what it is with Rachael Ray's recipes but everything is in abundance. Her ingredient amounts are often too much. Seasonings that overpower the food or too many breadcrumbs in this instance that end up being wasted. Don't get me started on her serving sizes or calorie counts. Let's just say... if you are calorie conscious this one might not be for you. I did lighten up our version by using a majority of fat free ingredients or healthier swaps.

The verdict was out and the one opinion that matters more to me about my cooking. Let's hear it Mr. Sideline Chef. "It's good but too much onion and next time, if there is a next time, I'd like to have a bite of mashed potatoes without the spinach."

There won't be a next time. This recipe didn't get the reaction from him that warrants this as a "he can't wait til the next time I make this meal." I would keep the recipe though because it is nice enough to serve to guests and was easy breezy to whip together.

Turkey or Chicken Croquettes with Spinach Mashers and Pan Gravy
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 Servings

 Stars of the Show:

  • 3 large starchy potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • coarse salt
  • 1 package (about 1 1/3 pounds) ground turkey breast or ground chicken - I used the turkey since it was cheaper than the ground chicken.
  • 2 celery ribs and their greens, finely chopped - I did not use their greens.
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme - I used dried since that is what I had on hand. No need running up the grocery bill if I don't have to have it.
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley - Once again... read the above statement.
  • coarse black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs - I think something more along the lines of 1/2 cup to start with and adding more if needed. I ended up throwing away what looked like the entire 2 cups. Like I said before... everything in her cookbook seems to be in abundance.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup cream or half-n-half 
  • 1 pound baby spinach leaves - When adding this amount to the mashed potatoes it became too much. I only used about 1/3 pound.
  • Prepared whole-berry cranberry sauce for passing at the table.

And Action:
  1. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Put a lid on the pot and bring water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes cook, make the croquettes. Mix the turkey or chicken in a bowl and add the celery, onion, poultry seasoning, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg yolk. Combine and form 8 patties. Coat both sides of the patties in the bread crumbs. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side. Remove the croquettes to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Reduce the heat under the skillet. Add 2 tbsp butter to the skillet and melt. Whisk in the flour. Cook the roux for a minute or two. Whisk in 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a bubble. Thicken for a minute or so and turn off the heat. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the cooked potatoes and return to the hot pot. Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter, the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock (I actually think using half this amount would be better. The potatoes were a little too runny for my preference.), and the cream. Mash and season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Fold in the spinach leaves until they all wilt into the potatoes.
  4. To serve: pile the spinach mashers on the plates and top each portion with 2 croquettes and a spoonful of gravy. Pass the cranberry sauce at the table.

He didn't want to go without his Steeler's jersey since it was Game Day! Everyone oohed and aahed over him! First time trick or treater. His Mickey Mouse bucket got so full and heavy but he refused to let us hold it for him. At every door he also refused to let the people put the candy in his bucket. He wanted to do it himself, haha! Such a fun night out with my guys!!!


Jeanette said...

It's great that you're trying new recipes. I have found some good Rachel Ray recipes, but you're right, some work better than others. You just have to go with your instincts. Cute picture of your little guy!

Pretend Chef said...

Jeanette - I can't stand making the same thing more than once. I don't mind leftovers of course but I live for trying out new tastes. My guys on the other hand could eat the same thing day after day. Thank you for the compliment!

coolblogger said...

I love turkey croquettes. Perfect day-after-thankgiving-handy recipe.
Your little mouse is so cute..

Pretend Chef said...

This was my first time having or making them and we were surprised with how yummy they were. Thank for the compliment. I'm biased so I think he is the stinkin' cutest mouse ever!!!

Susan: My Food Obsession said...

OMG! Little Mickey is the cutest little mouse I ever did see!!

Pretend Chef said...

Susan - That made me smile! Thank you so much! I searched all over the internet looking for a good costume. I was so disappointed with what most websites had as a "Mickey Mouse" costume. I decided to check the Disney Store website and to my surprise they had the best and most lifelike costume. It was also the cheapest. $20! I couldn't pass it up!

Tiffany said...

Try it with chicken! I made it with turkey at first but once I made it with chicken I was sold. Now I make it with chicken every time and love it. But I agree that there is too much of stuff sometimes...and I hate too much onion. and like you, if I don't get a reaction from my husband I'm like, 'totally not worth it!' unless it's super easy, fast, and/or cheap. and then he just might have to put up with it. ;) happy cooking!!

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