My Thanskgiving dinner (w/recipes)
|December 5, 2009||Posted by ameliaps under autumn, fall, menus, thanksgiving|
Since I posted my tentative menu on THIS post, I wanted to follow-up and post what we actually made for our Thansgiving menu.
It was such a wonderful day, with lots of sun and a slight chill in the air…which made roasting chestnuts just great. The Japanese maple in our patio was vibrantly red.
Who was there? Me, my husband and our two kids, my mother from Italy, my husband’s family (sister, mother and father) and my good friend Cheryl (she says we are her family in Atlanta – hers lives in Washington, DC). So a wonderful group and we were all able to cook (for hours) together, then sit around the dinner table, say “thanks” and enjoy each others’ company. Cheryl made a wonderful digestiv at the end, after dinner with cranberries and rosemary.
It was actually the first time I cooked and hosted a Thanksgiving dinner… I think all in all a great success!!!
We set the table to bring some nice Indian fall colors, with pumpkins and gourds in the centre and an orange as a place-marker.
We started off with beet-pickled deviled eggs, a recipe from Gourmet magazine.
Since my mother in law i from Pennsylvania, she pickwas in charge of ling the eggs and then I filled them.
They looked stunning and very dramatic with the intense color contrast. And they were delicious too!
Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs
(adapted from Gourmet 11/09)
3 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1 small red beet, peeled and sliced
1 small shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and ground
Bring water, vinegar, beet, shallot, sugar, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, then simmer, covered, until beet is tender, about 20 minutes. Cool completely, uncovered.
Meanwhile, place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Put the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 14 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and, when cool enough to handle, peel and transfer to a shallow dish.
When beet mixture is cool, pour it over the eggs and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours, up to 3 days. Remove the eggs from the beat mixture and pat dry, discarding the beet mixture (or, see below). Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash the yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and half the fennel. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among the egg whites and sprinkle with remaining fennel. Eggs can be filled up to 2 hours in advance, covered and chilled.
Recipe from the Los Angelese times
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: Adapted from Craig Strong, chef de cuisine, the Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa.
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 (2 1/2 pound) kabocha squash, peeled, cleaned and diced into 3/4 -inch pieces
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
Salt & Pepper, TT
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup pecan halves
1/8 teaspoon espelette or cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Heat a 4-quart sauce pan or small pot over low heat. Add the butter and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the squash, broth and cream, and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, loosely covered, until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender, or using an immersion blender, and pass through a strainer to remove any remaining solids. You should have about 9 cups soup. Set aside in a warm place until ready to serve.
While the soup is cooking, candy the pecans. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring to moisten all of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook, evaporating the water and cooking the sugar, until a thermometer inserted in the liquid reads 265 degrees (hard ball stage for sugar), 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.
Add the pecans and pepper powder to the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until cool. The sugar will crystallize (or seize) as it cools, forming a cloudy hard coating around the nuts; this is fine.
When the nuts have cooled, heat a clean, medium pan over moderate heat. Stir in the crystallized nuts and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar coating on each nut caramelizes. Remove from heat and allow the caramelized nuts to cool on a sheet of parchment paper.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with a small handful of spiced candied pecans and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.
Note: I actually another recipe for candied pecans which calls for honey. I like it so much more and it does not require the use of a candy thermometer! The recipe is from “Coastal living” (Nov. 05).
Honey candied pecans
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
2 cups pecan halves, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. (Don’t overbake; pecans burn easily.). Melt butter and honey in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pecans, stirring until coated. Cool completely. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Remove pecans using a slotted spoon, and place in sugar mixture, tossing to coat. You can always jazz the spices up by adding cayenne, cumin, paprika, curry powder, garam masala… you name it!
Then…of course…came the main meal. The turkey was the king. We bought a wonderful natural, range-grown, sustainably-farmed, humanly-raised, heritage Diestel turkey. It was about 22 pounds.
I used Alton Brown’s no-fail recipe, which called for brining the bird starting the day before.
It made for a wonderfully crisp outside and juicy, moist, flavor-full inside.
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
Note: To the brine I also added a bay leaf and some juniper. Finally, when I rubbed the turkey with the oil I also rubbed it with garlic cloves.
To go along side the turkey I made a zesty grown-up cranberry sauce.
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup ruby Port
3 (3- by 1/2-inch) strips tangerine zest
1/3 cup tangerine juice (from about 2 tangerines)
Bring cranberries, sugar, Port, and zest to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in juice. Cool completely.
The sides included:
Slow roasted root vegetables with herbs:
Nina’s Sweet potato souffle’ with lemon zest and candied ginger:
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized potatoes)
Zest of one lemon
½ t salt
1/3 C crystallized ginger, chopped
1.5 C heavy cream
¼ t nutmeg (or more to taste – I like a lot)
4 egg whites
Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork or sharp knife. You must place them in a baking pan or on a sheet of foil, as they tend to drip their syrupy juice, which clings to everything. Bake in 425F oven for about 40 min to 1 hour, or until they are very soft and tender (your fork should go right into them). Let cool. Peel and puree in food processer (should yield about 2.5 C). Stir in zest, salt and ginger and blend in. Stir in cream and nutmeg and blend. Transfer to a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to a soft fold. Add ¼ of the egg whites to the sweet potato mixture, and stir well. Then gently fold in remaining egg whites. Put in 2 qt. buttered soufflé dish and bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes until risen and golden brown on top. Serve immediately. Garnish with candied pecans for a nice touch.
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
2 Tbsps butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, TT
Soak the cipolline onions in chilled water for a few minutes, then peel them with a pairing knife, removing top and bottom. Boil them for about 10 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside.
Coat a heavy skillet pan with oil, and when its hot add the butter (since it has a lower burning point).
Add the onions and saute until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 more minutes, covered, adding more water (hot) as neccessary, to avoid sticking, but do not “drown in water”.
Of course we topped it all with gravy:
Finally, we had dessert!
First, pumpkin creme brulee, then almond-pear clafoutis.
Pumpkin Creme brulee
(Recipe by Gale Gand)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse at least 15 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Pour the mixture into 4 ovenproof ramekins and arrange in a hot water bath. Bake in the center of the oven until almost set but still a bit soft in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should “shimmy” a bit when you shake the pan; it will firm up more as it cools. Remove from the water bath and let cool 15 minutes. Tightly cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, preheat a broiler to very hot (or fire up your kitchen torch). Uncover the chilled custards. Pour as much coarse sugar as will fit onto the top of 1 of the custards. Pour off the remaining sugar onto the next custard. Repeat until all the custards are coated. Discard any remaining sugar. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and broil until the sugar is melted and well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 1 minute before serving.
I actually have a small butane torch for this specific purpose and that is how I did it:
It makes a crunchy crackling surface. Perfect!
I had extra candied pecans from the soup recipe so I topped each creme brulee with one of them
(Recipe by Julia Child)
The old recipe card (used and re-used – or should I say much loved?, from my friend Cheryl’s files):
3 cups pears, peeled, seeded, sliced
1/4 cup Kirsch or Cognac
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup pulverized blanched almonds (or blend shreeded almonds in blender)
1 Tbsp almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Soak the pears in Kirsch and sugar mix for 1 hour.
In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, almond extract, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the (drained) pears over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.
In the afternoon we roasted chestnuts.
You have to cut the ends off (or they will explode) and soak them in water until you roast them.
For the cranberry syrup:
1/2 cup water
1 cup cranberries
1 cup sugar
3-inch cinnamon stick
2 sprigs rosemary
1 lemon, zested
For the drinks:
200 ml bottle whiskey
Add the water, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick, rosemary, salt and lemon zest to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer until slightly reduced in volume and thickened to a syrup. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
To make a drink: Put a handful of ice in a drink shaker along with 1 1/2 ounces of whiskey and 1 tablespoon of the cranberry syrup. Shake gently a few times and strain into a glass. Repeat for the remaining drinks and serve.
A successful and fun day all in all!!!
The next day…predictably… we made individual turkey pot pies with tarragon. I topped them with puff pastry brushed with egg yolk and made a bechamel with stock instead of milk. The inside also included peas that I had sauteed with crispy bacon, sauteed onions and carrots.
Mini Turkey Pot Pies with Bacon and Tarragon
Makes 4 to 6
4 applewood-smoked bacon slices
1/2 cups chopped onion
12 ounces peeled whole baby carrots (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 8-ounce frozen peas package, thawed
1/2 cup chopped carrots, cooked until tender (I use the microwave)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup left over gravy OR white sauce made from chicken stock
(2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour, 1 cup chicken stock)
3 cups coarsely shredded turkey
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
Egg wash made with 1 yolk and 1 Tbsp water
Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Chop bacon. Sautee the onion in the bacon drippings if you like (or just use oil – which is what I did) in skillet; sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add peas; stir and cook a few minutes. Add the bacon and stir for one more minute. add the carrots. Season with pepper. Add the shreeded turkey and mix. Divide among 4 or 6 ramekins, depending on amount of filling and size of pots. Preheat oven to 450F. Unfold puff pastry onto work surface; roll out to 12-inch square. Cut into 4 to 6 (depending on size) squares. Top filling in ramekins with pastry; fold edges down onto rims of dish. Brush top of crusts with egg wash. Cut small ”x” in center of crusts; pierce with fork. Bake until crusts are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 20 minutes. (Tip:I place a baking sheet under the ramekins so if juices spill they do not fall on the bottom of the oven).
I served with a salad of mixed greens, crumbled gorgonzola, pears, and candied pecans (a had a few left over from the day before), dressed with a simple dijon vinaigrette.