GCC: Menu 10 - Turkey a la King, Spinach Timbale and Kasha Pilaf

I been so bad with my Gutsy Cook line up.  I totally missed most of the menus for November, which was really, really bad in my book.  But, I’m back!

This weeks menu comes to us compliments of Raymond from Your Just Desserts.  He totally choose a retro menu, as soon as I read it, it reminded me of a dinner a la 70’s.  Not bad.  The original recipe called for Turkey, and I totally see why he choose to this right after November - Even thought, he did write it as “Chicken a la King” which is one of the variations of the recipe.  I’m sure people may still be eating left over turkey and if not chicken is a good replacement.

I did not have left over turkey, but that is what the deli section at the supermarket is for so, I sent Tom off with a list and ask that he comes back with a block of cooked turkey breast.

Then it was time to cook this up. 

I did not stray too much from the original recipe except, I did season much more than it was required, but, then I tend to do that when I cook savory dishes.  Usually I just season as I cook the layers of the dish. Onions in? then I make sure to use a dash of salt and pepper.  Another layer of ingredient, another layer of salt and pepper, and ALWAYS taste along the way, making sure I don’t go over. 

Another thing I did was after I added the mushrooms, I also added fresh  chopped thyme, about 1/4 teaspoon and about 1/3 cup of white wine.  Mostly because that is the way I usually cook mushrooms and habits are hard to break.  But, I totally think it added another flavor profile to the dish - so I made sure to note that on the recipe for future reference.

The really great thing about this recipe was that it came together in about 20 minutes.  So this is a great one for a quick, hearty weeknight dinner.

I made a quick mashed potatoes and that was our side to this.  We loved i!  It was creamy and crunchy (the peppers) and a whole bowl of confort food.  In fact, I using the left over to make Turkey pot-pie this week.

Turkey a la King
adapted from The Kitchen Bible

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6oz white mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bella)
  • ¼ teaspoon of fresh thyme (chopped)
  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk, heated
  • 3-4 cups diced cooked turkey
  • Sweet paprika, for garnish
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and red and green peppers, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes more, add the chopped thyme and the wine and cook until reduce a bit, about 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is boiling and thickened.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in the turkey and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is heated through.
  7. Sprinkle with the paprika and serve hot.

The next choice was the Spinach Timbale, which I skipped, mainly because of laziness on my part.  But I was intrigue with the Kasha.  

I love rice, and couscous is a very close second, so when I did a bit of Google search about Kasha, I was totally on board to try this.  A grain and the pilaf ingredients were all my favorites, raisins, walnuts, celery, onions.. what was not to like?

Apparently, in my case a lot.

It started well.

You cook the onions and celery in butter, until soft.  The smells were wonderful - Tom, who was taking a nap in the living room even commented on it.  I thought - oh, we are in business, this is going to be good.

The next step is to mix the Kasha with a beaten egg.  I thought it was a weird combination, but ahead I went.  You then add this whole thing to the saucepan and cook it until the kasha is dry.  And here is where the problem started.  The wonderful smell of onions and celery were replace by this earthy kind of smell, it was not unpleasent, just different, but as soon as I added the water to the whole mixture, the smell turned a bit pungent and frankly, it put me off - not a good sign. Nevertheless, I cooked it all the way, thinking that it may just be one of these “acquired” taste dishes.

Not so. By the time I added the walnuts and raisins, I knew that I was not going to be able to get pass the smell of the dish.

I still did taste it and was not happy with it at all.  The grain had the same type of taste as the unappealing smell and there was no way you could taste the other ingredients at all, it was totally overpowering.  Did anyone else think the same?

I did not even serve it, into the trash it went.

I guess I need to stick with my beloved rice or couscous when it comes to grains.

Don’t forget to visit the other Gutsy cooks to read their take on this weeks menu.