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    How to make finger licking Turkey Tetrazzini

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    [dropcap]A[/dropcap]re you a slave to the holidays? Does the thought of all the shopping, preparation, and cooking make you feel like a servant? Overwhelmed? Underappreciated? A bit resentful? I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to brine a huge bird or cook it in oil or baste it every 15 minutes seems like a lot of work and clean-up with little reward. Too often the bird is dry and tasteless. My friend Heidi, who always cooks for a crowd on the holidays, has an easy and tasty way to cook a turkey while you sleep, which leaves the oven free on the day you serve it. But before I tell you how and offer my own recipe for turkey leftovers, let’s talk about servanthood.

    Paul begins his letter to the Romans this way: “From Paul, servant of Christ Jesus, apostle by God’s call, set apart for the service of the Gospel.” When Paul uses the word servant, he doesn’t mean an employee hired to do household tasks or act as an attendant to someone with money. Not your paid servant as in the recent film, The Help, or even unpaid servant, housewife, and mother/father to the family. By servant Paul means nothing less than slave, fearful of his life.

    In the context of Paul’s time, a servant was someone indentured to servile work against his will, someone permanently unfree, whose life depended on the whims of the master. He emphasizes this when he goes on to say, “You know well enough that if you put yourselves at the disposal of a master, to obey him, you are slaves of the master whom you obey” (Romans 6:13). But a few verses later he also says, “The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons, enabling us to cry ‘Abba! Father!’” The difference is that under the servanthood of Christ we are free, while under the servanthood (slavery) of sin we are unfree and subject–that is, bound over–to the rule of sin. A slave of sin is one who becomes an automaton to it. We revert to an unfree behavior and repeat it—like feeling overwhelmed, resentful, unappreciated.

    And no! This is not a question of trying to change your attitude, of willing to feel otherwise, of gritting your teeth and saying, I will not feel this way. For if you do, you’ve forgotten who does the freeing. It is a free gift, pure grace. When Paul uses the term servant in the opening to Romans–that is, slave–he means someone made free, bound over, by the authority of the Master, Christ Jesus; someone who by grace is “set apart for the service of the Gospel.”

    So during the holidays, let’s not fall back into resentment and frustration, forgetting that in our new freedom we are not automatons, slaves of the family or the customs and demands of the season, but subject and servant to Christ. “Not of yourselves, it is a gift of God.”

    In that light, and to help you have more freedom during your holidays, here’s what my friend Heidi does with her turkey. Caution: This only works with a large turkey of 20 pounds or more. She salts and peppers the defrosted bird, wraps it in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and places it in a roasting pan in the oven at 225 degrees overnight. The next morning she partially unwraps the bird, drains the accumulated juices for gravy, and browns the turkey at 350 for a half-hour or so or until golden. Then she removes it from the oven and keeps it wrapped until it’s time to be served. The oven is left free for other dishes, and the turkey has plenty of time to reabsorb its juices. Plus, she claims, the turkey is the most tender and moist you’ll ever eat.

    Here’s one more recipe for using up leftover turkey that I guarantee will not taste left over. It’s a famous pasta dish with mushrooms called Turkey Tetrazzini that is so good and easy, you’ll want to make it any time of the year. The usual way is to bake this dish in a casserole with the pasta. But this version saves a step by being made on top of the stove and served over pasta.

    Turkey Tetrazzini

    10 oz. mushrooms sliced

    5T butter

    ¼ c flour

    2 c chicken stock

    1 c half & half

    ½ c sherry or sherry substitute

    3-4 c cooked turkey, cubed

    Salt to taste, pepper

    Cooked pasta

    3T Parmesan grated

    Sauté mushrooms in butter 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, half & half, sherry, and seasonings. Cook till smooth and thickened. Add turkey and heat through. Serve over cooked pasta and sprinkle with cheese. Serves 4-5.

    Joanne’s Quick Tip: Use a pan large enough to sauté the mushrooms in one layer or they will not brown. Adding sherry or wine to a cooking dish adds depth and is not alcoholic. All of the alcohol is steamed out, and what’s left is a perfect melding of the sherry taste with the other ingredients. Cooking sherry or wine substitute is preserved with salt, so wait and taste before salting the dish. Other substitutes for sherry are apple juice, apple cider, or white grape juice.

     

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