Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I had a very relaxing weekend at home with friends and family but I can’t say I’m really ready to be back at school in finals mode…so I’ll hang on to Thanksgiving just a bit longer while I blog.   I have a few new recipes to share, but the most important addition to my Thanksgiving menu this year was the Turkey!  I tried a new brine- which was delicious and very easy (see below).  AND more importantly, we cooked the bird on a rotisserie spit over the grill! 

Slowly roasting the Turkey over indirect heat allows the juices to evenly distribute throughout the meat without drying it out.  This was by far the juiciest Turkey we’ve ever made.  If you have a grill, you should probably invest in a rotisserie attachment.  It opens up so many grilling possibilities!  I’ve listed the whole menu below with links to recipes that I’ve already posted.  New recipes are included below.  I’m sure that most of these won’t be helpful until next Thanksgiving so remember to check back then! 

 Mushroom Crostini
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

Maple Brined Rotisserie Turkey with White Wine Gravy
Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing
Beechers Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Haricots Verts with Caramelized Shallots
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Goat Cheese Biscuits


1 tablespoon canola oil
10 ounces mixed mushrooms (shitake, cremini, and oyster), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 baguette, cut into ½ inch slices
2 cups gruyere, grated

Heat canola over high heat until very hot.  Add the mushrooms with a pinch of kosher salt and stir until they begin to release their liquids, about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add shallots, thyme, and butter.

Preheat the broiler in the oven.  Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and broil until lightly toasted, 2 to 4 minutes.  Flip slices until toasted on the other side, about 1 minute.  Remove from oven (this can be done ahead of time).  Distribute mushrooms on the crostini and top with gruyere.  Broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 4 to 7 minutes.  Serve hot!

makes 12 servings
1 24-ounce loaf of white bread, crusts trimmed, cut into  ½ inch cubes (about 11 cups)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
 6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 yellow onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 lb shitake mushrooms, caps coarsely chopped
1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 cups dry white wine
1 ½ cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375.  Spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast them for about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through, until lightly golden and dry.  Transfer bread to a very large bowl. 
In a large skillet, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and add onions, celery, and sausage.  Sauté until sausage is browned and onions and celery are softened, about 8 minutes.  Pour into the bowl with the bread cubes. 
Wipe out the skillet and return to high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to the pan.  When the oil becomes very hot (test by throwing a drop of water to see if it sizzles), add the mushrooms and a pinch of kosher salt.  Stir until they begin to release their liquids, about 5 minutes, then add thyme, shallots, garlic, and 2 tablespoons butter, reduce heat to medium and cook until mushrooms are fully softened.  Add to the bread cube bowl.
Add sage to the bowl, along with about a tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Add the white wine, eggs, and chicken stock and stir to combine. 
Preheat oven to 350.  Generously butter a large baking dish.  Transfer stuffing to prepared dish, and cover with foil that has been buttered on one side (buttered side down).  Bake until heated through, about 30-35 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until top is crispy and golden, about 20 minutes longer. 

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup coarse salt 
3 whole heads garlic, cloves separated (but not peeled) and bruised
6 large bay leaves 
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped unpeeled fresh ginger
2 tsp. dried chili flakes
1-1/2 cups soy sauce
3 quarts water
Handful fresh thyme sprigs

Combine all the brine ingredients in an enamel or stainless-steel pot big enough to hold the brine and turkey. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat, and let cool completely. Remove the neck and giblets, rinse the turkey well, and put it in the cold brine; add water if the brine doesn’t cover the bird. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 days, turning the bird twice a day.

Watson watching Uncle Jim carve the Turkey


 6 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, minced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 cups shortcut turkey stock (see below)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Bring white wine to a boil and reduce to about a ½ cup.  Keep warm.  In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté onion over moderately high heat until browned, about 15 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook roux over moderately low heat and whisk for 3 minutes.  Add hot wine mixture to roux in a fast stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in additional stock to thin gravy to desired consistency. Season gravy with salt and pepper and transfer to a heated sauceboat.

Short Cut Turkey Stock

8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 scrubbed unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks,cut into chunks
1 rinsed unpeeled large onion, quartered
stems from 1 bunch fresh italian parsley
Reserved turkey neck, heart, and gizzard
In large saucepan, combine low-salt chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion, parsley stems, and reserved turkey neck, heart, and gizzard. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to very low; simmer gently until gizzard is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer neck, heart, and gizzard to plate. Strain stock into medium bowl and cool. If adding giblets to gravy, pull meat from turkey neck. Chop neck meat, heart, and gizzard. DO AHEAD: Cover stock and wrap giblets. Chill up to 3 days.

Mom's beautiful table setting!


3 lbs Brussels sprouts, halved
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
8 ounces bacon (about 10 slices), chopped into ¼ inch slices

Preheat the oven to 425.  In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the syrup and balsamic.  Add the Brussels sprouts and season generously with salt.  Spread the Brussels sprouts on 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with foil.  Roast for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat.  Remove Brussels sprouts from the oven, add to serving bowl and toss with bacon.

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