Pan-Seared Turkey Breast with a Saffron Cream Sauce
Turkey is something that is very versatile and served year-round in many places where we have traveled, but here in the United States it seems to be reserved for holidays. For this particular recipe, we chose to use a deboned turkey breast with the skin on. We also seasoned it with saffron, which certainly reminded us of our time in Morocco.
We have enjoyed many different preparations of duck, especially during our time and Europe. Although restaurants here in Colorado tend to offer various meals of game, it isn’t necessarily easy to find them in the store. While we were living in Frankfurt, our butcher always had lamb, duck, goose, and other gamier items available, but unfortunately it just isn’t the case here. We were able to get a whole duck, but since we were just cooking for the two of us, we decided to cut it into parts which gave us a boneless duck breast and a duck thigh with the leg still on. We often cut up a whole chicken, but duck is a little more difficult, although worth the effort. By cutting the duck into pieces, it allows you to pan sear it as opposed to roasting it and that makes it even more tender. We froze one half of the duck to have at a later date and cooked up the breast and thigh for dinner. Duck goes really well with fruits such as orange or cherry, so we made a cherry compote to go with the duck. The compote (or sauce) was more savory than sweet, which is what we prefer. It was extremely delicious and definitely reminded us of duck that we’ve eaten during several of our travels.
1/2 Duck – breast deboned and thigh deboned with the exception of the leg (if you can get two deboned breasts, that would work as well)
1 Shallot – chopped
2 Garlic Cloves – minced
1 cup Cherries – fresh or frozen, pitted
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
2 tbsp Cherry Preserves
2 tsp Honey – preferably fresh or organic
2 tsp Rosemary – chopped
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of the duck. Season the duck with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Let the duck come to room temperature. While the duck is coming up to room temperature, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small pot. Add the shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute just to let the garlic bloom. Add the cherries, cherry preserves, chicken stock, honey, and the remaining teaspoon of rosemary. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes while the duck is cooking. When the sauce has slightly thickened, add the butter and lemon juice and keep warm until the duck is finished. Heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat. Place the duck skin-side down and don’t touch it until the skin has released from the bottom of the skillet, at least 5 to 10 minutes. Once the skin is browned and the fat has rendered, turn the heat down to medium and flip the duck over to finish cooking, about another 8 to 10 minutes (or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees). To serve, drizzle the cherry compote over the duck and place the rest in a bowl for people to add more as they eat.
Shrimp is one those versatile items that can be cooked in a variety of ways. It is also something that is found in cooking throughout the world, especially those places that are near the coast. We have certainly made many different shrimp recipes throughout the years, but here are just a handful of them to give an idea of how many different styles of meals work well with shrimp.
Easy and Delicious Shrimp Frittata– One of the things that you can find throughout your travels is some variety of a frittata. They are light, easy, and can be adapted for the cuisine of almost any country. We really enjoy fresh seafood when we travel, so we decided to do a shrimp frittata that was not only easy, but extremely delicious. The use of lemon and fresh parsley also helps to brighten up the dish and make it even more luscious. Frittatas, like a good quiche, can be a meal on its own, but we decided to pair it with some green beans and red peppers.
Sautéed Shrimp with a Pumpkin-Sage Butter – During the autumn season, we are always looking for creative ways to use seasonal products such as pumpkin. Mixing butter with pumpkin and sage is a savory way to give flavor to seafood, especially shrimp or scallops. We decided to sauté shrimp with the infused butter and it made for a delicious meal. Not only was it tasty, but it turned the shrimp a nice orange color was perfect for this time of year.
Our Take on Shrimp and Grits – Creating a Hollandaise sauce with a Louisiana pepper sauce to serve with the shrimp and grits turned out nice because it gave a little bit of a lemon taste to the shrimp, but it still had some heat. We also used some Old Bay Seasoning on the shrimp, a little reminder to our east coast roots. Adding cheese to the grits also made them a little more hearty and added to the creaminess. The centerpiece was the soft-boiled egg that had been breaded and fried and added to the entire meal.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Angel Hair Pasta – Shrimp Fra Diavolo (Brother Devil) is an Italian inspired dish that is spicy and delicious. We served it over a bed of angel hair pasta, but when we had leftovers a couple of days later, we simply served it with a side of garlic toast. If you don’t want it too spicy, you can reduce the amount of red pepper flakes, but this meal is meant to pack some heat. It is one of those easy and yet elegant dinners that can be done on a weeknight or served for a weekend dinner party. It could probably be done with another type of shell fish, but shrimp really holds up well to the flavors and is easy to cook.