People often ask if I make the usual foods for Thanksgiving. I don’t. 1) It’s a normal weekday here; and 2) the friends and family we would invite to dinner would decline most of the traditional menu–including the bird–for personal dietary reasons. I prefer to make simple meals for just two people.
In a usual year, we have a big meal of roast duck in October at the Kirchweih (a community festival originating in the Catholic church year), and there is always a chance of roast goose in a restaurant over Christmas. I never feel like I’m missing out on anything if I don’t roast a whole turkey and fill the fridge with leftovers in November.
But turkey and sweet potatoes–currently very trendy in Germany–are great fall foods, so I made an Auflauf (casserole) for supper. The bird and the veggies were both purchased at the weekly farmers market.
I have typed this out of my “this is super, let’s have it again” hand-written recipe binder, using my own personal weird mix of metric and US measures. I have translated all the words to English.
It is also good with chicken.
Turkey-Sweet Potato Auflauf
2 large sweet potatoes 800g fresh turkey breasts (or leftover turkey) 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1 TBSP thyme Salt and black pepper 1 TBSP butter 1/2 cup shallot, diced 100g bacon or cured pork belly, cubed 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 TBSP unsalted butter 2 TBSP all-purpose flour 3/4 cup milk 3/4 cup chicken stock 250g Gruyere cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350° F. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1" chunks, then cook them in boiling water until done (about 20 minutes). Chop turkey into 1" chunks. Mix the garlic, onion, thyme, salt, and pepper, and sprinkle over the pieces. In a large pan melt 1 TBSP butter and add the shallot. Cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the bacon/pork belly and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the bacon/pork belly is cooked and turning crispy. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes and then add the turkey. Cook fresh turkey for several minutes, until outside is golden brown, then to an oven-proof dish. Cook leftover turkey until warmed through. In the same pan, melt TBSP butter. Add the flour and whisk until it starts to turn light golden in color. Mix the milk and chicken stock, and gradually pour small amounts into the pan. Whisk well after each addition to avoid lumps. Continue until all of the liquid has been added and simmer for about 3-4 minutes and the sauce starts to thicken. Arrange sweet potatoes in the same dish as the turkey. Pour the sauce all over the chicken and sweet potatoes. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes uncovered until bubbling. Switch your broiler to high. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and place under the heat. Cook until all of the cheese has melted and is bubbling and starting to brown. Serve with bread and a green salad.