Traditional Poultry Stuffing

 

Ready for stuffing the bird.

Ready for stuffing the bird.

When I was very small, I remember watching with fascination, as Mom & Dad would put the turkey in the sink, and proceed to stuff it full of the mixture they’d cooked earlier that morning. They’d skewer it closed, stretching the skin to fit. Hefting the bird into a roaster that we never used for anything else, they would then put it in the oven. This would all happen before lunch, as it would take hours for the bird to roast. As soon as it was in the oven, Dad would drive off to go pick up Grandma to spend the holiday with us. The smell of the herb-laden stuffing would fragrantly scent the house all day.

As we grew, we took on a bit more of the holiday cooking each year, learning to simply make dinner, perhaps with a quick glance at the well-thumbed Joy of Cooking, but usually just following what Mom did, which was probably essentially the same as her mom did, and her mom before that.

Although I now buy a bag of coarse breadcrumbs, when growing up we never did. Slightly stale crusts and bits of bread would be kept until there were enough to either break apart to make a coarse crumb, or put folded into a tea towel to be rolled and crushed into fine crumbs. Today our bread trimmings tend to go to the chickens with their morning feed.

As stuffing is a bit of this and a bit of that, I needed to narrow it down to the essentials for the recipe; herbs, vegetables, a bit of fruit, egg, a bit of liquid, and sometimes the treat of oysters, and dry breadcrumb. This is essentially how I make it year after year, occasionally adding something new just to switch it up. Continue reading

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Herbs & Garlic

IMG_9090Tenderloin of beef is a perfect go-to roast for special occasions. It is very easy to prepare, takes little time to roast, and carves beautifully. Yes, it is expensive, but when reserved for special occasions, is so worth it.

The tenderloin is the most tender of cuts. This muscle runs under the ribs next to the backbone of beef, and gets very little use, so remains tender. Even in an older animal who’s meat might be only be used for minced or stew, we try to reserve the tenderloin, which has amazing flavour, but is still tender. Unfortunately on-the-hoof aged tenderloin is hard to get (unless you raise beef).

The basic principal is that the more exercise a muscle gets, the more flavourful it is. So although very tender, the tenderloin benefits when treated to a rub or paste before roasting. Buy a roast that has had its fat and silver skin removed. It will have a long tip at one end, which you’ll be tying back to create a uniformly shaped roast. Continue reading

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce

IMG_6205Last weekend we were catering for a large group, with multiple meals.  Menus were gone over carefully making sure we weren’t duplicating anything, and that each meal would be memorable on its own.

Dish selection for buffets can be quite difficult, when you’ve got the same group of people back again the next night. The two most useful meats for a buffet are chicken & pork.  If you go to other poultry or red meat, there should be an alternate. Time and space constraints were at play last weekend, as well as sticking to a tight budget.

We served chicken the first night as part of a casual Indian inspired buffet.  The second night was to be a bit more formal, so we did herb crusted pork loin with roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, broccolini, and Waldorf salad after some appetizers and before a dessert of blackberry compote filled Pavlovas with orange cream and pistachio crumb.

The smell of the herb-crusted roasts was fantastic, and we wanted to support that sensation with a great sauce to serve over the cut slices of pork.  I used a Dijon cream sauce that I typically make while deglazing a pork tenderloin pan. It is super easy, and always works.   Pork tenderloin is quick and tender, and can be on the table in about half an hour, which gives you just enough time to cook a side, and make a salad.  Continue reading