Thursday, October 6, 2011

Diane's Turkey Parisian

Recipes are more than instructions on how to assemble a dish, they're little scraps of memory....bits of days gone by remembered when put into service.

Diane Sciara my friend
Diane Sciara was my best friend from 1977 through 2008 when she finally lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer.
We shared a lot through those years....parties, people, events and recipes.  We used to entertain often, which  meant inviting friends over for a pot luck supper or other gathering which usually resulted in a great meal.

She had a way of throwing ingredients together and coming up with something imaginative and tasty. We were always trading recipes, even after we were no longer roommates.  The food holidays were important to us.  We'd start planning for them weeks and even months in advance - from entrees through snacks, even if we were celebrating the event separately.  We'd even discuss what to do with leftovers.  Now that's a friend!

One of Diane's specialties was a dish created using left over turkey, broccoli, cheese, cream of mushroom soup and bread crumbs.  She called it Turkey Parisian.   

While at the store the earlier today, I found a special on boneless/skinless turkey breast cutlets and immediately thought of my friend and her wonderful signature dish.  Two guesses on what we had for dinner tonight!

DIANE'S TURKEY PARISIAN

4 to 6 boneless/skinless turkey breast cutlets seasoned and browned
2 - 2 1/2 cups steamed broccoli
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, etc)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or make your own white sauce w/ mushrooms)
1/2 of soup can worth of broth, sherry or white wine (apple juice is a good substitute for sherry)
1 1/2  to 2 cups breadcrumbs or crushed crackers - I used crushed Cheese It crackers this time.
Poultry Seasoning, salt or low salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F 
Lightly spray or grease the bottom and sides of a square casserole dish. Line bottom of dish with a thin coat of breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.  Then slice the turkey cutlets into manageable pieces and line the dish with them. 
A fine veneer of cheese
Sprinkle a fine veneer of cheese on top of the turkey pieces - don't use all of the cheese, this is just a tad for flavoring.  While your at it, sprinkle some spices around too...but don't overdo it!  We'll be putting some more on top.

Spread the broccoli evenly on top
After the cheese bit comes the broccoli. Spread it out evenly across the top of the cheese and turkey.  Slice any pieces that seem too large.  This will make portioning - and eating- a lot easier! 

Pour sour/sauce over broccoli
Mix the cream of mushroom soup or your home made white sauce with the sherry, wine, broth or juice in a small sauce pan and stir until blended. It should thicken slightly.  Pour  this sauce over the broccoli.  

Cheese then bread or cracker crumbs
Next, sprinkle the remaining cheese over everything.  Make sure you get a nice, even coating over it all.  Then sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs over top.  Finish assembly with a final flourish of spice, then cover it loosely and put it in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes covered.  Remove cover and cook for an additional 15 to 25 minutes until top starts turning golden and sauce and cheese are bubbling.

This is a yummy stand-alone dish that can also be served with other holiday left overs, salad and/or veggies.  Great for pot lucks, too!

So here's to Diane and her Turkey Parisian! 
As always, please feel free to share your recipes, memories and comments!
Enjoy!

Diane's Turkey Parisian piping hot and ready to eat!

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