Food & Drink

Dig into this turkey and gnocchi soup and cheesy biscuits, which pair perfectly with fall

Fall is the perfect time for a hearty, comforting soup, like this turkey and gnocchi soup served with garlic cheddar dro
Fall is the perfect time for a hearty, comforting soup, like this turkey and gnocchi soup served with garlic cheddar drop biscuits. (Andy Abeyta photos/The Gazette)
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It’s not Thanksgiving yet, but can we take a few minutes just to be thankful for making it 10 months into 2020?!

We have made it through some really tough times economically, physically, mentally, spiritually, racially and even socially, so I believe we need to take a few minutes just to reflect, and possibly even meditate, on our many blessings among all the chaos going on these days.

I’m not trying to take away from the seriousness of certain situations nor am I diluting the injustices that plague our communities every day. What I am attempting to do is help us retrain our minds to meditate on things that are just, lovely and kind. Which brings me to Turkey and Gnocchi Soup with Cheesy Garlic Drop Biscuits — two of my all-time favorite fall comfort foods.

I was first introduced to this yummy, creamy and comforting soup in a different version at one of my favorite restaurants to get soup — Olive Garden. I had the Chicken Gnocchi Soup and fell in love with everything about it. I loved it so much that I began to think of all the versions that I could create. My mind went to smoked salmon with asparagus and bacon (turkey bacon for me), or sweet potato gnocchi with roasted chicken, sweet corn and black beans. My imagination went crazy, to say the least.

Of course, I settled on turkey for my protein. My Godsister Flora Williams was the inspiration for this soup. She loves turkey and came to mind when I began to brainstorm. She is a great inspiration to many, but I have the privilege of having personal access to her grand influence. If I ever get to open my own cafe, I’m going to put this recipe on my menu and call it Flora’s Delight.

I added the biscuits because when I had Olive Garden’s version, I couldn’t help but think how I would love to have some Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits with it.

But let’s dive into this soup, shall we? I started with turkey breast cutlets that I pan seared in extra-virgin olive oil with seasonings and real butter. Then, I made the gnocchi and tossed it in the remaining oil after boiling it in water and chicken broth. Then I combined the boiling liquid, milk, cubed turkey breast cutlets, mixed vegetables and more chicken broth to the desired thickness. I was pleasantly surprised by the natural turkey gravy color of the soup. It’s delicious and comforting, so bless your family, colleagues and friends with your very own version of Turkey and Gnocchi Soup with Cheesy Garlic Drop Biscuits.

Now, let’s roll up those sleeves, wash those hands and create your own culinary art.

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Contact Michelle Madden at Da Munchie Plug LLC on Facebook.

Turkey and Gnocchi Soup

For turkey

1 to 1 1/2 pounds turkey breast cutlets

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (enough to cover pan)

Desired seasoning (I used garlic, Italian season and lemon pepper sprinkled on each side of turkey cutlets)

For gnocchi

4 medium russet potatoes

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the water

1 teaspoon pepper

1 egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (added gradually — if too much gnocchi is dense, too little and it’s gummy), extra to dust

2 tablespoons butter, for pan frying

2 cups water

2 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed for soup

For soup

1 small package of frozen mixed vegetables

1/4 cup cold milk combined with 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the turkey: In medium frying/saute pan, heat enough extra-virgin olive oil to cover bottom of the pan on medium-low heat. (You want to achieve browning and cook the meat thoroughly.) After seasoning turkey, fry on each side until desired browning then remove pan from heat and let turkey rest until cool enough to cut into cubes. Set pan aside for later to fry gnocchi in.

For gnocchi: Add potatoes to large pot of cool salted water. Bring water to a boil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fork can easily pierce potato. Drain potatoes and set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm.

Using a peeler or fingers, remove skin from potatoes. In medium bowl, mash potatoes until all lumps are gone. Add the salt and pepper and mix well. Make a well in the center of the potatoes and crack an egg into it. Whisk the eggs briefly. Then, using your hands, gently mix it into the potatoes until evenly distributed.

Put 1 cup of flour onto a clean surface and turn out potato dough onto it, keeping remaining 1/2 cup flour close by in case you need it. Working quickly and carefully, knead dough, only incorporating as much flour as you need along the way until dough loses stickiness and becomes more solid. Slice dough into 4 parts. Roll out 1 part into a long rope, about 1 inch wide, cutting in half and working with 1 half at a time if rope becomes too long. Slice rope into 1/2-inch squares and set aside on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with remaining dough.

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If desired, place fork on your work surface and slide each gnocchi square from the base of the fork prongs to the top so they make a decorative shape.

In a large pot combine equal parts salted water with chicken stock, about 2 cups each. Bring to a boil and add the gnocchi in batches, stirring gently once or twice to ensure they are not sticking. Boil until gnocchi float to the surface; after another 15 to 30 seconds in the water, remove.

In pan from the turkey over medium heat, melt butter, add gnocchi and toss until lightly golden. Drain on napkin.

For the soup: Use the water/chicken stock mixture from boiling gnocchi and add small package of frozen mixed vegetables, 1/4 cup cold milk combined with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, turkey and gnocchi. Add more chicken stock as necessary. Cook on high heat for about 20 minutes, or until soup is desired thickness.

Cheesy Drop Biscuits

For the biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 1/4 cups)

3/4 cup whole milk or buttermilk, very cold

For the butter

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter forms pea-sized crumbs. Mix in the cheese. Add the buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Drop the dough by scant 1/4-cup portions onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 16 to 17 minutes.

While the biscuits are baking, combine the melted butter, parsley, and garlic powder. Brush the biscuits with the garlic butter and serve warm.

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