Kid-friendly recipes from local chefs and restauranteurs that you can make with your children. Bon Appétit!
I come from a family of great cooks and have been in the kitchen for most of my life. All of our family gatherings took place in the kitchen, and food was the focal point. The family has grown over the years, yet we all still make time to get together and cook for the ones we love most. It is so fun to instill a love of food and cooking to our kids, nieces and nephews.
As a little girl, my brother and I always helped Mom make her roast beef turnovers. Now I realize why she chose this dish to do with all the kids – they are so versatile! Pepperoni and mozzarella filling for pizza night. Ground beef, peppers and onions with a little taco seasoning. Olive salad with salami and cheese (who wouldn’t love that). Turnovers are a great way to use one dish a million different ways!
I felt so important when she tasked me with pinching the dough. Now I realize it was the easiest for kids and the most tedious task for her. Turnovers are simple and kid friendly, but the recipe also can be elevated enough with ingredients, like braised pork and goat cheese, that they are dinner party-worthy.
Mom’s Roast Beef Turnovers
5 lb. round or rump roast
1 head of garlic, cleaned
Tony’s Chachere’s or your favorite Creole seasoning
2 large onions, diced
4 carrots, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup all-purpose flour
Crystal Hot Sauce
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire
Puff pastry sheets, such as Pepperidge Farm or Pillsbury
1 beaten egg, with a dash of milk
6 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make slits all over the roast, using a paring knife; fill with garlic cloves. Generously rub roast with Creole seasoning. Place roast in a roasting pan, cover and cook. After about 1 hour, add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan, cover and continue roasting for another hour. Remove to a warm place.
Working in batches, puree onion, carrots and bell peppers in a blender or food processor, adding a little water if necessary to get them going. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron pot until it smokes. Carefully add flour; oil is likely to spatter. Stir roux over medium heat until it is dark brown; be careful not to burn it.
Add vegetable puree; expect an explosion and what we call the best smell in the world. Turn heat down to medium-low, and allow the roux and veggies to cook together for about 20 minutes. Pour the drippings from the roast pan into gravy. If the gravy is too thick, add a little beef stock, but you don’t want watery gravy.
Either slice roast thin or cut it into chunks. Put roast in the gravy, season with Crystal and Worcestershire sauce, and let it cook; adjust the seasoning as needed. Cool roast and gravy before making turnovers. You can do this the day before or, like mom always did, keep some in the freezer.
Now, the fun part! Sprinkle the countertop lightly with flour and place the puff pastry sheets directly on top. Cut the puff pastry sheets into 6 squares (one horizontal cut and two vertical cuts). Brush each square lightly with egg wash and put a spoonful of roast and gravy in the corner of each square of dough. Put a pinch of Fontina cheese on top of each pile of meat. Be careful, if you overfill your turnovers you might lose all of your filling when they bake. Fold the opposite corner to meet that corner and pinch dough together to form a triangle. Dip a fork in the excess flour and press the tines of the fork into the dough around the edge to create a seal. Trim the excess dough with a knife. Brush the tops of each turnover lightly with egg wash. Place turnovers on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. They are ready to enjoy like a gourmet pop tart!
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