In general, the definition of an easy dinner is one that can be thrown together in 30 minutes or less. With a newborn, though, it became clear that might not be true for a while. Newborns are notorious for not understanding requests to “just hang on a second”, and they’re even less interested in whether or not your food is ready. It only took a week to realize some of my go-to staples were a little less… suitable for new conditions.
The newborn parent’s definition of an easy dinner is “one that can be kept warm for up to 90 minutes without becoming gross.” So, goodbye pan-fried gnocchi, hello mashed potatoes. Goodbye 10 minute steaks, hello slow cooker. And, mom, I will love you forever for introducing what we have named turkey grandmère to my life.
The first time we had it, a crying-feeding-diaper change cycle began just as the timer for the food went off. 45 minutes later, I sat down at the table, expecting to scarf down some overcooked mess in the name of consuming nutrients. I was floored when it was delicious.
It doesn’t look like much. But I made it the other night. Mary, who had previously passed on our dinner invitation, took a little bite of what was left in the dish, and quickly asked if she could make herself a plate after all.
- 1 turkey leg (available at Godshall’s in Reading Terminal Market, among other places)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. butter
- salt, pepper, dried thyme to taste
- 10 small red potatoes
Put all ingredients except the red potatoes in a slow cooker. Salt and pepper the turkey leg, and sprinkle with thyme. Cook on low for 5 to 7 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350. Put the contents of the slow cooker, plus the potatoes, in a casserole dish. Pull the turkey meat off the bone. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes.
Not ready to eat at that point? Just turn down the heat to 200, and eat anytime in the next two hours. Feeds 2-3 people.
Notes: I’ve also made this with cooked turkey legs, and it’s just as tasty (shorten the cooking time in step 1, and steal the pan juices, too, if you can.) And I bet if you don’t have a slow cooker, you could make this just as easily by using a covered casserole dish, then taking the cover off when you add the potatoes.