Saturday, March 22, 2014

Galopoúla me Dendrolivano

When looking for a recipe to cook, there has been one that always seems to appear in my searches ... Kotopoulo me Dendrolivano or Rosemary Chicken.  It is a relatively simple recipe from Saveur and it uses one of my favorite herbs, namely, rosemary.  However, I always had one obstacle ... my beautiful Angel, Clare, does not eat chicken.  I would set the recipe aside for a night when I would be cooking for myself and I would continue to look for something that I could cook and that Clare would eat.

One day I came across the recipe again, and, this time I decided to make it.  Rather than use chicken, I decided to make it with turkey, which Clare does eat.  So the recipe went from Kotopoulo me Dendrolivano (Rosemary Chicken) to Galopoúla me Dendrolivano (Rosemary Turkey).  (Please note I am not a native Greek speaker, so excuse me if I got the translation wrong.)  At long last, I would be making this recipe.

If I was making Kotopoulo me Dendrolivano, I would be looking for bone-in chicken quarters, consisting of both the thigh and leg.  Most supermarkets carry chicken broken down in that fashion.  Those markets do not usually carry turkey quarters.  It is usually a choice between legs or thighs.  Rather than make that choice, I went in a completely different direction.  I chose turkey cutlets. 

This  choice created some additional work.  First, I needed to do something to ensure that the cutlets, which come from the breast, would not dry out during cooking.  Second, I needed to revise all of the cooking times because, if I followed the times for cooking the kotopoulo, I would have wooden galopoúla that could have used to build triremes.  So, I decided that I would do a short and quick brine to help add some moisture to the cutlets.  I found a recipe that called for 1/4 cup of salt in 2 cups of water and used that as a rough guide.  Although the recipe called for the cutlets to remain in the brine for 3 hours or overnight, I just did it for a little more than one hour.  Three hours would probably have worked better, but overnight would have meant that we would have gone without dinner.

Once the cutlets were removed from the brine and patted dry, I turned to the remainder of the additional work.  The recipe called for braising the protein in the oven for at least 45 minutes. If I cooked the cutlets for this long, I would once again find myself cooking turkey planks better suited for purposes other than eating. (Remember those triremes?)  I decided to cut the cooking time by two-thirds and even a little more, reducing the braising time from 45 minutes to 10 to 15 minutes.  I also decided to do the braising on the stovetop in a covered pan rather than in the oven.  This is important because it allowed to watch the turkey and check it to ensure that it did not dry out.

One last note, the recipe calls for 1 cup of wine to be used to make the pan sauce.  When I make a recipe from a wine-producing country or culture, I try to use a wine that local cooks could have used.  In this case, I found a bottle of Skouras Anassa (2012), a blend of Viognier and Moschofilero, that sold for about $9.99.  The wine worked very well and made a great pairing for the dish.

Recipe adapted from Saveur
Serves 2-4

4 turkey cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of sea salt
2 cups of water

1.  Brine the turkey.   Dissolve the 1/4 cup of sea salt in 2 cups of water in a large bowl.  Place the turkey cutlets in the water and make sure that they are completely submerged.  Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 to 2 hours, but 3 hours or more would be better.  When the brine is finished, drain the cutlets and blot them well to dry them.

2.  Prepare the brined turkey.  Season turkey generously with salt and pepper.  Put flour on a plate and dredge turkey in flour to coat, shaking off excess.  Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.  Add turkey and cook, turning once until browned, about 5 minutes.  Add wine, rosemary and bay leaves.  Return the pan to the heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

3.  Braise the cutlets.  Cover the pan and cook until the turkey is tender, about ten to fifteen minutes.  Uncover and stir in lemon juice.

4.  Plate the dish.  Place one to two cutlets on a dish and spoon the pan sauce over the turkey.

This was a great dish and I will definitely make it again ... perhaps I will also make Kotopoulo me Demrolivano as well.  Until then ...


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