This year I decided to ditch the Christmas turkey in favour of a lovely piece of pork resplendent with spiced and salted crispy crackling…well that was the plan! At the last-minute the teen, who had up until this point been a vegetarian, decided she was after all going to eat white meat from now on, so just for her I bought a small turkey crown. When I say smal,l I mean small in turkey terms and in the end there was probably enough food on the Christmas table to feed a whole supper club, let alone just the four of us. All went without hitch until the moment I served Christmas dinner, as I put the bird on the table the teen announced
“oh, is that turkey? I don’t like turkey”
“its white meat, you said you were going to eat white meat” I replied
“but not turkey” she responded.
The other three of us ate both turkey and pork but I was left with rather a large amount of the white meat so, instead of facing the uninspiring pairing of cold meat and bubble and squeak for the next three days, I used the rest to make a Russian dish koulibiac. A koulibiac basically consists of rice mixed with fish (usually salmon) and herbs, wrapped in puff pastry. In this recipe I substituted the fish for diced turkey and very effective it was too. I used
1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, peeled and chopped, 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced, 1 tbsp plain white flour, about 150m chicken stock, 300g diced turkey meat, 100g cooked long grain rice, 2 tbsp single cream or you could use fromage frais or creme fraiche, salt and freshly ground black pepper, a couple of tbsp fresh herbs including chopped tarragon, parsley or even dill, 300g block of puff pastry, and a little beaten egg to glaze. You could use or add other things too like mushrooms, wild rice, green peppers, different herbs.
First preheat the oven to 220 degree C/425 F.Gas mark 7. Heat the oil in a pan and sweat he onion and pepper for a few minutes without browning. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for two minutes then remove the pan from the heat. Gradually stir in the stock, then return to the heat and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced turkey, cooked rice, cream or fromage frais, seasoning to taste and herbs. Cover and leave until cool.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to make a 30 x 15cm / 12×6 inch oblong. Place the cooled filling on one side of the pastry oblong and brush edges lightly with a little beaten egg. Fold the pastry over encasing the filling, then seal the edges firmly pressing them together with the back of a knife. Transfer to a baking sheet and allow to relax in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes. Make a couple of slashes in the top of the pastry and brush with beaten egg. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.
This made such a lovely change from all the Christmas food, served simply with a salad and some home-made cranberry relish. Although i have to say it was still sufficiently comforting on yet another snowy day.