Talking Turkey 

The Indy presents its annual heaping helping of holiday food recipes

The sound you hear is not the banging of railcars on the Northside nor the ringing of gunshots at the PEAS Farm—at least we don’t think so, since director Josh Slotnick pinkie swears he didn’t shoot the turkey for his recipe on page 16. No, that sound you hear is the rumble in our bellies here at the Indy office. For the last few years, we’ve handed over our annual holiday food issue to local chefs and dedicated foodies who truly know their way around a kitchen. And every year our contributors supply us with recipes that are as inventive as they are traditional, as decadent as they are wholesome.

The whole project leaves us salivating—and thankful. We’re thankful for the fact that this year’s lineup places an added emphasis on locally grown or harvested foods. We’re appreciative of the fact that each recipe comes with step-by-step directions that even the most culinarily challenged can follow. (That especially goes for the epic dessert recipe we scored from The Pearl. Honestly, we tried it and it’s worth every minute of preparation.) And we’re definitely grateful for the fact that we have such an abundance of talented and willing community members who offered their services to this year’s issue.

But enough with all the preliminaries. We’re probably starting to sound like that crazy uncle who let’s the pre-Thanksgiving meal blessing drag on while our stuffing gets cold. Without further ado, let’s dig in.

Butternut squash soup with spiced cream

Jim Tracey
Owner and chef
The Red Bird, 111 N. Higgins Ave., Suite 100

Food for thought: During this time of year Tracey purchases hundreds of pounds of local winter squash for Red Bird, making it a timely complement to a Thanksgiving meal. Tracey created this recipe specifically for the Indy, inspired by seasonal ingredients and “the fact that spiced cream just makes me think of the holidays.”

What you’ll need:
For the soup:
1 two-pound butternut squash
1 tablespoon oil
salt and cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 small white onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (whole)
2 medium carrots (chopped)
1/4 cup Marsala wine
5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the spiced cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
1 tablespoon honey

How to make it:
For the soup:
1. Split squash lengthwise and rub with oil, salt and cayenne.

2. Bake flesh side down for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, or until squash is soft.

3. In a medium pot, sauté butter, garlic and onion on low for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Don’t brown.

4. Add Marsala, chicken stock, brown sugar and squash (remove seeds and skin).

5. Simmer 10 minutes, then puree in a blender.

6. Strain and season with salt (not pepper).

For spiced cream:
1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk.

To finish:
1. Warm soup and then ladle into soup cups.

2. Drizzle with spiced cream. An optional garnish can be the squash seeds, roasted, and fried plantain chips.

Roast baron of venison

Mark LoParco, aka “The World Famous Omelet Guy”
Director, University Dining Services
University of Montana

Food for thought: This recipe definitely reaches beyond LoParco’s signature omelets, but he wanted to provide a seasonal and slightly unusual recipe. “First of all, I’m a big fan of local foods,” he explains. “I’m also an avid hunter who grew up eating local game. This recipe signifies the ultimate of both of those traditions. Plus, it’s a great way to cook up a really big piece of venison.” 

What you’ll need:
1 hind quarter of venison
marinade (see below)
1/2 cup olive oil   
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Italian sweet sausage (buy local)
6 strips of bacon

How to make it:
1. Bone venison leg by starting at the inside of the leg. Cut to the bone. Cut meat from around the leg bone and then to the knee and the hip. You’ll end up with the leg muscles and sirloin, or approximately 6 pounds of boneless meat.

2. Remove all fat, silver skin and obvious veins. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and rub meat inside and out. Place in a large container and refrigerate.

3. Make the marinade by combining all of the following ingredients:
2 shallots (minced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1 bay leaf (crushed)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
6 juniper berries (crushed)
1/2 cup yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 large carrot (finely diced)
1 celery stalk (finely diced)
1 1/2 cups olive oil
3 1/2 cups dry white wine or red table wine

4. Remove venison from refrigerator and pour and rub marinade over meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

6. Pull meat from refrigerator and stuff with 1 pound Italian sweet sausage. Tuck meat around the sausage and tie with butcher string.

7. Place remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a sauté pan and heat oil. Add meat and sear until brown on all sides. Remove from heat.

8.  Place a roasting rack in the roasting pan and place meat on the rack; lay the bacon across the top of the roast.

9. Place in oven at 450 degrees and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and cover meat with remaining marinade. Continue cooking for 45 minutes and baste periodically. Check meat temperature with a meat thermometer and cook until a 145-degree internal temperature is reached. (Note: It’s important not to overcook wild meat.) Pull meat from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

10. Slice meat no thicker than a quarter-inch and serve on a warm platter.

11. Serve with pan drippings or your favorite red meat sauce.


Brussels sprouts with shallots and Montana vegetable glaze

Steve Nogal
Owner and chef
McGarry’s Roadhouse, 510 Wisconsin Ave., Whitefish

Food for thought: Nogal named his restaurant after his grandfather in Iowa, a rancher who always served meals featuring local ingredients and creative combinations. McGarry’s Roadhouse follows in that tradition. Nogal provided the Indy multiple recipes for this package—maybe the smoked Hutterite turkey penne or gingered pear apple and cranberry torta will make it next year—but we settled on the Brussels sprouts as a nice Thanksgiving side dish.

What you’ll need:
For the glaze:
4 ounces light soy
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon chili oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cups Brussels sprouts
1/2 gallon water
2 ounces salt
4 ounces shallots (finely diced)
1 ounce canola oil

How to make it:
1. Mix all of the ingredients together to create the glaze.

2. Trim Brussels sprouts stems and cut sprouts in half, lengthwise.

3. Bring water to a boil with 2 ounces of salt. Have a container of water with ice nearby.

4. When water boils, add Brussels sprouts and cook for 6–7 minutes, depending on how large and how fresh the sprouts are. Remove from pot and put into ice bath to shock. Remove loose leaves and drain.

5. Heat canola oil in a wok and add diced shallots. Do not let shallots discolor.

6. Add sprouts and coat well.

7. Add glaze, coat and cover the wok. Heat for two minutes.

8. Remove lid, let glaze reduce by 1/4 and serve immediately.

Turkey and stuffing

The PEAS Farm crew
Garden City Harvest’s Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society (or PEAS) Farm, 3010 Duncan Drive in the Rattlesnake.

Food for thought: “We at the PEAS Farm always strive to eat locally and seasonally, including the meats we choose to eat,” says Jason Mandala, Garden City Harvest’s community education director. “In November, there are still many tasty local foods that can make up some or all of your Thanksgiving dinners. This is loaded with local and seasonal ingredients that can add a new flavor to your turkey this Thanksgiving.”

What you’ll need:
1 fresh turkey (preferably locally and organically grown)

2 parts elk sausage (or any locally made sausage of your liking)
1 part chopped apples
1 part chopped yellow onions
1 part day-old bread (we recommend a Le Petit baguette)
1 can of plum nut chutney
1 pound of bacon (preferably locally and organically grown)
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper   

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Start cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

3. Chop onions and apples into 1/4-inch pieces, break up bread into 1/2-inch chunks, and mix all with elk sausage to make the stuffing.

4. Lightly fill the cavity of the turkey with this stuffing.

5. Remove cooked bacon from skillet, and drain still warm bacon grease into a bowl and mix in cayenne pepper. (While you cook you can enjoy eating the bacon.)

6. Rub the turkey all over with the peppered bacon grease.

7. Put turkey in the oven, and cook for the appropriate time for the weight of your turkey (see chart below).

8. With 15 minutes of cooking time remaining, remove the turkey and glaze the entire turkey with a nice layer of the plum nut chutney.

9. Put the turkey back in the oven for the final 15 minutes.

10. Remove turkey from the oven and enjoy with friends and family!

Chart for cooking a stuffed bird:
8 to 12 pounds: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

Squash and pear soup

Martha Buser
Co-owner and chef
The Catalyst Café and Espresso, 111 N. Higgins Ave.

Food for thought: This recipe was first introduced to the Catalyst by Steve Snook and then updated by former kitchen manager Megan Schneeberger in 2004. Buser likes to add it to the fall menu because it takes a different approach to using seasonal squash. “The fact that it has Bartlett pears makes it unique,” she says. “You can really taste them with the butternut squash. Everyone has a different butternut squash recipe, but this one stands out for me.”

What you’ll need:
4 pounds squash (about 4 cups after it is roasted and peeled)
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cups onions (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic (chopped)
4 Bartlett pears, washed and cored, but not peeled
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, washed and chopped
9 cups water
1/8 cup vegetarian chicken broth powder, Frontier brand (available at Good Food Store)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to make it:
1. Cut squash in half. Remove pulp and seeds, coat lightly with some olive oil and a bit of salt.

2. Bake, cut side down, on pan-sprayed baking sheets at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or longer, until soft.

3. Let cool. Remove insides of squash. Set aside.

4. Sauté the onion and salt in the olive oil, until onions are translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the garlic and cook a few more minutes. 

6. Add the pears and rosemary. Sauté a few more minutes. 

7. Add the water, broth powder and squash. Bring to a boil.

8. Puree. Add pepper. Serve.

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