Turkey gets a Canadian touch

Maple syrup adds a uniquely Canadian flavour to Thanksgiving turkey

  • Oct. 4, 2017 3:30 a.m.

It’s been quite the week of contrast so far: first with the horror of mass shootings in Las Vegas, where it seems one of the most powerful nations in the world continues to implode from within. My sympathy goes out to all of the victims, especially the family of the young Canadian killed.

I had to consciously drag myself away from the heartbreaking news to find something positive to feed my soul. I found it by tuning in to the installation of Julie Payette as Canada’s 29th Governor General. I would challenge anyone who doesn’t know of this amazing Canadian to Google “Julie Payette” and let your heart be surprised by a real Canadian heroine.

With Thanksgiving this weekend I decided to offer two recipes that are surely comforting. The first is decidedly Canadian as it has maple syrup in it. The second is mashed potatoes with bacon, onion and mushrooms…what more can I say? Happy Thanksgiving!

Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy

2 cups apple cider

1/3 cup real maple syrup

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons dried marjoram

2 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

3/4 cup butter

Salt and pepper to taste

14 pounds whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup coarsely chopped carrots

2 cups chicken stock

3 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. apple brandy — optional

Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes).

Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter or margarine and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold (syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven.

Wash and dry turkey. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen breast skin. Rub 1/2 cup of the maple butter mix under the skin of the breast. If planning on stuffing turkey, do so now. Rub 1/4 cup of the maple butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. With kitchen string tie legs of turkey together loosely.

Arrange the chopped onion, chopped celery and chopped carrots around the turkey in the roasting pan. If desired, the neck and giblets may be added to the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the vegetables and pour the first amount of chicken stock into the pan. Roast turkey at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cover turkey loosely with foil (shiny side towards turkey). Continue to roast until very tender, basting occasionally with pan juices. About 3 to 4 hours unstuffed, 4 to 5 hours stuffed. Pierce the leg joint with a fork, if the juices run clear then the turkey is done. Transfer turkey to a platter and cove with foil. Reserve pan mixture for gravy.

To Make Gravy: Strain pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from juices. Add second amount of chicken stock. Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.

Mix 3 tablespoons of the reserved maple butter mixture with the flour in a small bowl to form a paste. Whisk paste into broth mixture. Add the chopped fresh thyme and bay leaf. Boil until reduced and thickened slightly, whisking occasionally. Add apple brandy if desired and season with salt and ground pepper to taste.

Mashed Potatoes

with Fried Mushroom, Bacon and Onion

6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

5 slices bacon

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

l6 medium mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons ranch dressing

Add potatoes to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the bacon slices in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Wipe out the skillet, return to stove, and pour in vegetable oil. Stir in mushrooms and onion, and cook until onion is soft and translucent. When the potatoes are done, drain water, and place potatoes in a large bowl. Mash in butter and ranch dressing. With a potato masher or electric mixer, continue to mash until the potatoes are smooth.

Stir in the mushrooms, onions and crumbled bacon. Enjoy!

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