Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Turkey Madeira

We were having a slow day at work so the girls were leafing through our recipe magazines for dinner ideas. Blue saw this recipe in the slow-cooker magazine and rushed it back to my desk. And she was right to do so, because it certainly looked intriguing.

I had just purchased asparagus (what luck), but had to go to the store after work for the turkey breasts and mushrooms. It wasn't until I got home and was getting ready to make it that I realized that the reason that it is called "Turkey Madeira" is because it is made with Madeira wine. I had no idea what Madeira wine was, much less did I have it. A little research was called for.

Turns out that Madeira wine is from a place called Madeira, an island situated in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Canary Islands. During the shipping/exploration age it was THE place to stop before heading out for a long voyage to The Far East. They produced a fortified wine (wine mixed with a stronger alcohol, such as brandy, for longer and easier storage) which initially was cons idered average, but on a fluke, a ship returned to Madeira after crossing the ocean twice with a good amount of the wine still on board. The wine had drastically improved in flavor. They began experimenting with the aging of the wine, trying to replicate the heat, humidity, and motion of the travel on a ship. Before refrigeration, it was the most popular wine - because it does not have to be refrigerated - even after opening! It can last up to a year without refrigeration after opening. MY KIND OF WINE!!

So, turns out that I really did need to get this wine. I was very lucky that my liquor store had this wine in stock - and one actually from the island of Madeira!! SCORE!!

I rushed home with my treasure and prepared to make this dish. First I opened the bottle of Madeira and had a healthy sip. YUM! It's a tiny bit dry but sweet with layers of spiciness. It's like the Coke of wines. I reiterate: MY KIND OF WINE!

I mixed 1/2 cup Madeira wine (1/4 more than the recipe asked for - it is good wine!), 1/2 cup chicken broth (I used 1 boullion cube dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water), sliced crimini mushrooms (the recipe called for porcini, but I couldn't find any and our local co-op has some very nice baby bellas), and a medium chopped sweet onion (the recipe called for thinly sliced onion, which would have been terrific; but I had accidentally chopped my last onion before I noticed the words "thinly sliced").

I then sliced 2 lbs of skinless, boneless turkey breast into 1" strips, placed them in the bottom of the crock pot, and poured the wine mix over the top. I set this on low and left it cook for about 5 hours.

I mixed 3-4 TBS of dried parsley and 1/2 cup half and half (again, I used the singles since that is what I had) and mixed it into the crock pot. Then I chopped up 8 spears of fresh asparagus and threw that into the crock pot. I let it cook an hour or so more.

I wanted to make the sauce thicker, so I scooped out the turkey and asparagus into a serving bowl, poured the liquids into a sauce pan, added a little cornstarch mixed with water and heated it until it got thick.

I made my own noodles for this with flour, salt, water and oil. It was my first time making noodles and I'm not sure that I would make them again - but my family like them.

Here is a picture without and with the gravy.

Generally, I was expecting this dish to have more flavor. It was good, but not really a WOW. It is classic midwest cooking. I would add more wine next time - maybe even marinade the turkey in it. But as it is a fairly good crock-pot recipe, it deserves a place in the rotation.


Blogger Haddock said...

I went to Maderia many years ago on holiday. It is a lovely island and the wine is very good :)

3/23/2007 7:20 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Haddock, Yay! First hand props! I love it!

I really love islands and I have to say that this one certainly intrigued me!

3/23/2007 11:20 PM  

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