Dark Meatlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dark Meat

I’ll admit it. I have avoided dark meat. Like that pile of laundry you continue to walk by and starts to overflow out of the basket, you finally throw your hands in the air and say “OK, I’ll do it!” Magazines have been giving these cuts of meat a new life recently and well, if you think about it, it makes sense. Dark meat can require long-cooking times in the oven – perfect for fall – and are wallet friendly – perfect for the economy – so it’s a win/win folks. Plus, if you avoid the skin of dark meat you are actually consuming almost the same amount of calories and fat but could be getting more nutritional benefits, like zinc and iron, than their white meat counterparts. I’m serious! See here and here.

Now all of this is coming to you from a person who claimed to not like dark meat because I had heard the fat rumors and I don’t know, something about it just didn’t appeal to me. Well, it just goes to show that as usual, I was wrong lambs. I just made two dark meat dishes back-to-back for dinner this weekend and am currently swooning over the flavors. The Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs recipe from Everyday Food and Chicken Smothered in Gravy recipe from Food & Wine are two prime and lip-smacking examples of dark meat goodness.

Give these two a try, although if I had to choose just one give the turkey thighs a chance. Of course I would choose the one that doesn’t have a Web link.
Also, I just noticed that this is my 98th post, wow how time flies. I want to do something special for my 100th post. What should I do, what should I do?!
Everyday Food
Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs
Serves 4
Prep Time: 30 MIN
Total time 2 1/2 HR
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 turkey thighs (about 2 pounds total)
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 Cortland or Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
2 cups of apple cider
14.5 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season turkey on both sides with salt and pepper and add to pot, skin side down. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer turkey to a plate and add shallots to pot. Cook until shallots soften, about 5 minutes. Add apples and cook until slightly softened, about five minutes.

2. Return turkey, skin side up, to pot; add cider and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, then place pot in oven. Cook 1 1/2 hours. Uncover, cook 30 minutes more.
3. Remove pot from oven and transfer turkey to plate. Skim fat from cooking liquid and stir in vinegar. Slice meat off bones (discard bones) and server turkey with apples and pan sauce.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing

I’m on a blog posting and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine kick today! I tried this Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing for lunch and it was yummo (yeah I went there). The magazine features mangos in this month’s “Have Your Way With…” section with four delicious looking mango recipes. As I’ve mentioned here in my blog, I work in food public relations and have the pleasure of working with the National Mango Board, so seeing mangos in in the magazine was just too cool and I have to give them a try.
This recipe was really quick to assemble and perfect for a light lunch. I really liked the mango dressing mixed with the shallot as it had a great balance of flavors. One note on this recipe, I couldn’t find jicama so I put this over fresh spinach instead and it was delicious. I also really liked the fresh mint, cilantro and peanuts to give it a great crunch.
As the trend is going today, I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go!

Every Day with Rachael Ray
Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing
Serves 6
Prep 25 min
Cook 5 min

2 mangoes, 1 1/2 cut into matchsticks
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
Grated peel of 1 lime, plus 3 teaspoons lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled
1 1/2 pounds jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high. Using a blender, puree the 1/2 uncut mango, shallot, lime juice and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Thread the shrimp onto skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until opaque, about 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, toss the jicama, cilantro, mint, lime peel and mango matchsticks with the dressing. To serve, sprinkle with the peanuts and top with the shrimp skewers.
© 2008 National Mango Board. Photo used by permission of the National Mango Board. All rights reserved.

My Kind of Eggs Benedict

I love sauces. In fact, any kind of sauce is a friend of mine and welcome in my tummy. If I had a sauce friendship meter however, hollandaise would register to be around a two or three. It’s always been OK to me but a little too rich or “much” in my opinion. I feel the same way about alfredo sauce, it’s good but whoa nelly after a few bites.
So when I came across this lightened Eggs Benedict recipe in the November issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray I thought I give her a try. Now, they don’t show an original or basic Eggs Benedict recipe to compare but the before vs after comparison of nutritional information was eye-opening, plus if it’s a lighter in flavor hollandaise sauce then I’m all for it.
Eggs Benedict before –
Calories: 731 (once on the lips, a lifetime on the hips)
Saturated Fat: 30 g (ewwww!)
Dietary Fiber: 1g (sad)
Carbs 28 g (ugh)
Eggs Benedict after –
Calories: 271 (better)
Saturated Fat: 6.5 g (much much better)
Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g (I approve)
Carbs: 19 g (yay)
I really liked this recipe, especially the sauce. It was light and flavorful, probably because the amount of butter was cut and chicken broth was used instead. I also used a low-sodium version even though the recipe didn’t call for it. The crisp asparagus, a best friend of hollandaise, was also perfect and light for breakfast.

I cut this down for just one person but I’m really happy I have all of the ingredients to make this a few more times this week for breakfast because it was so quick to make and delicious. I think next time I’m going to add some fresh chives on top to give it an herb-y kick. I can’t find the recipe online so I thought I would share here in case you would like to give her a try too.

Every Day with Rachael Ray
Eggs Benedict
Serves 4
Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
1 pound of asparagus
4 ounces of turkey Canadian Bacon
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of chicken broth (low sodium if you prefer)
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
2 whole wheat English muffins, split and toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Fill a large, deep skillet with enough salted water to reach a depth of 1 inch and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes; drain. Reserve the skillet.
2. Heat the reserved skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey bacon and cook, turning, until browned about 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon and asparagus to an ovenproof dish and place in the oven to keep warm; reserve skillet.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook whisking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the 2 egg yolks, 1 at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce into a bowl.
4. Fill the reserved skillet with enough water to reach a depth of 1 inch and bring to a boil. Crack the 4 whole eggs into the skillet and poach for 2 minutes for soft-set.
5. Place an English muffin half on each of the 4 plates. Divide the bacon among the muffins and top each with asparagus, a poached egg and some sauce. Season with pepper.