I wanted to do something different with post-Thanksgiving turkey. We’d had the glorious main meal, and fantastic sandwiches the next day. I was making stock for soup, thinking that’d be round three, when a Greek theme intruded on my traditional progression.
It began with feta cheese and great Greek olive oil, both of which I have on hand. We’d also just received some lovely Brussels sprouts from our CSA that didn’t make it into the Big Dinner. I’d cooked some Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans for soup. Of course we have onions, garlic, lemons, and Greek oregano, along with a raft of other fresh herbs out in the garden. My next thought was along the line of, would Greek people in Greece really eat this? Turns out the answer is, probably so.
The Greeks call turkey ‘gallopoula,’ and that or pork is quite popular on a holiday table – quite a few people raise their own birds, and you can’t get better than that. Beans have been a traditional staple in Greece for a long time and are widely cultivated there. And yes, Brussels sprouts are enjoyed in Greece as well – Good to go, all around.
I decided on a baked dish, to transform the feta into a creamy, tangy delight, with everything bound by kalamata olive oil and lemon juice – And that just demands some freshly baked pita, right? Right!
As for herbs, there really is no ‘go to’ blend. If I had to pick must have herbs, I’d go with Greek oregano, dill, flat leaf parsley, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, and fennel. Christy Hohman, my Guru of Greek, makes a blend I love, with Greek oregano, garlic salt, dried grated lemon peel, marjoram, sumac, thyme, and black pepper. She added that, ‘the essentials for the Greek flavor in a mix would be good Greek oregano, lemon, and marjoram or thyme.’ And that is what I will use here.
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 Cups Water
1/4 Oz. active Dry Yeast, (1 package, if you have those)
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
Heat water to @ 115° F
In a large mixing bowl, combine water and yeast and stir gently to dissolve.
Add 3 cups of flour and the salt, then use a spoon or spatula to form a loose dough.
Spread the last 1/2 cup of flour on a working surface and turn the dough out onto that.
Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, working the last half cup into the mix as needed when things get too sticky.
When the dough is nice and smooth and springy, cut it into 6 more or less equal portions, and roll those into balls.
Roll the balls out to about 6” circles.
Lightly grease a baking pan, and place the rolled out rounds onto that.
Allow to rise for about 50 minutes, until roughly doubled in height.
Preheat oven to 475° F and place a rack in the middle position.
Flip raised pitas over gently, and bake for 6-9 minutes, until they’re light golden brown
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Urban’s Greek Thanksgiving Bake
1/2 Pound Turkey Breast
1/4 Pound Feta
2 Cups Brussels Sprouts
1 Cup Turkey Stock
2 Cups cooked White Beans
2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes
1 medium Yellow Onion
5-7 cloves fresh Garlic
2 fresh Lemons
1 bulb fresh Fennel
4-6 Ounces Extra Virgin Greek Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives
1 Tablespoon Greek Oregano
1 Tablespoon Lemon Thyme
Preheat oven to 425° F with a rack in the middle slot.
Chop turkey breast.
Trim and halve Brussels sprouts.
Peel, trim, and chop onion.
Peel, trim, and fine dice garlic.
Slice olives into rounds.
Cut 1 lemon in half and zest. Cut the other into roughly 1/8ths.
Trim fennel and cut into roughly 1/4” thick rounds.
In a large casserole, baking pan, or whatever you’ve got, begin assembly.
Spread a layer of beans, then add Brussels sprouts.
Add onion, tomatoes, garlic, olives, fennel, and turkey.
Crumble feta evenly over all that.
Pour stock into the mix.
Squeeze lemon chunks and place evenly, then squeeze second lemon’s juice and spread zest.
Add olive oil evenly over all.
Sprinkle oregano and thyme evenly over all.
Add a three finger pinch of salt over all, then liberal twists of ground pepper.
Bake at 425° F for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes burst and the sprouts are fork tender.
Serve with fresh pita bread, which you darn well better make yourself – See above.