Day 170: The meal that forgot to be edible

June 19, 2007


Late this afternoon we met a friend for coffee on her way home from work. Baby A was spectacularly cute, pretending to drink from her snack cup and saying “little coffee, mmm”. It almost made up for my blind panic this morning when I was convinced I saw a head louse crawling across her scalp. She has been scratching her head alot lately, which we think may be heat and or shampoo related, and I panicked when I got a rogue glimpse of her new mole through her hair. Suffice to say I am now suffering from sympathy imaginary hair itch. Apologies if I have just transferred that feeling to your good selves.

This evening we made Turkey Cutlets with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Balsamic Vinegar. Before I begin, I should mention again that neither of us like brussels sprouts. As a child, they were the bane of my existence; every Christmas and sporadically throughout the year I would have to “try” one or two, before I could leave the table. Every time I had to fight with myself not to gag, or cry. I hate brussels sprouts. However, this recipe sounded like it may be a reasonable way to eat the little green monsters, and some people love them so it can’t all be bad. Maybe it was just the British boil-them-till-they-drop style of sprout cuisine that was a problem. So we attempted to enter into the spirit of this dish with an open mind. The pancetta was cooked until crispy, followed by the onions and garlic. The sprouts were added to the pan with the chicken stock and balsamic vinegar, and left to simmer until soft. Meanwhile, the turkey cutlets were marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, sage, parsley, salt and pepper. They were then browned in the skillet and warmed in the oven with some chicken stock poured over the top in an attempt to keep the old-boot quality at bay. A gravy was then made with melted butter, flour and chicken stock, seasoned with salt and pepper and parsley.

The recipe calls for half a pound of turkey cutlets per person. In the packet we bought, that would mean 4 1/2 cutlets each. That is an enormous amount of turkey. Even if Ms Ray’s cutlets are thicker than ours, that is still a mountain of meat. It’s a good thing that we made far less turkey than called for; it would all have been thrown away. This is one of the rare meals we have made this year where we have both tasted it and immediately downed tools. With the possible exception of the pancetta, there are no redeeming qualities to this meal. The turkey was like an old lemon-boiled boot, with a bland institutional-tasting gravy. The sprouts were still, unfortunately, sprouts. Even sliced and fried they tasted like the boiled vegetables of yesteryear. Maybe if you like sprouts this is a good recipe, unfortunately we just can’t accurately judge that. This review has a severe anti-sprout bias, I have to admit. Suffice to say, L made us some pasta pesto for second dinner, which was nice.

Tomorrow we are making Fruited Chicken Curry in a Hurry. Even if it’s awful, and there is no reason to expect that it will be, it will be a cheaper waste of food than this evening. Tonight was an extravagant dumping of food, which is just wrong.

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  • Reply Joannie June 20, 2007 at 6:43 am

    I hate brussel sprouts too. I admire you for trying these foods, even if you hate them. I want to gag every time you mention a fish dish b/c I hate fish as well. And I have to say that today’s picture does not look appealing in the least.

  • Reply VP June 20, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I made this meal a couple of weeks ago and agree. It just doesn’t work. I happen to like brussels sprouts, but this method fell far short of how they should be done. If you’re feeling adventerous, try this (believe me, I’ve turned many a brussels-sprouts-hater into a connoisseur with this method):

    Trim and halve your sprouts. Then steam for about 10-15 minutes- until they’re fork-tender, but still green. Then, in a pan on med heat that has had pancetta (or prosciutto, or bacon) fried up in olive oil, add a pat or two of butter, some minced garlic, and then the sprouts. Toss and stir-fry while seasoning with salt and pepper. When they begin to caramelize, they’re done. I promise they will be much better than what you’ve had thus far.

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project July 1, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    If there’s ever a situation where we absolutely have to eat sprouts, I promise to dig out this recipe, thanks

  • Reply one year project » Blog Archive » Day 357: Who would have thought it? December 24, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    […] Tonight’s recipe sounded to us like a canteen version of Christmas dinner (UK) or Thanksgiving dinner (USA), but we were surprisingly very impressed. As a child I’d always have to try a little of everything on my plate, and I would dread the annual Christmas sprout sampling with a vengeance. I have never enjoyed sprouts and would never willingly eat them. So without this project, we would never ever have made this meal. However, for the first time in my life I can say that I willingly ate a plate of sprouts, and actively enjoyed them. The sprout, onion, thyme, bacon, chicken stock, parsley, dried cranberry combination is a winner, I’m sold. The seasoned, floured, egged, breaded, fried turkey cutlets were excellent; crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside. If we weren’t all set to cook a Christmas turkey, I would actually seriously consider adopting this meal as an easy dinner solution. What a pleasant surprise. And other than the cleaning of the many bowls used in the turkey breading production line, this was easy to make and easy to clean up. […]

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