Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

Hi Blog Friends! Remember me?  

So it's almost Thanksgiving and in my old blogging days, my Thanksgiving posts were some of my favorites.  Since a few of you, (okay mainly only Melissa), asked for my menu, here it is!

I'm hosting a small group of only 7 plus three toddlers so we don't NEED a ton of food but of course we have a full menu so there will be plenty of leftovers!

Here's the plan:

2013 Thanksgiving Menu

Baked Bree
Hummus and Crackers

First Course:
Leek and Butternut Squash Soup

Main Dish:
Brined Turkey
Chipotle Maple Butter Gravy

Side Dishes
Sweet and Savory Stuffing
Peas and Carrots
Pumpkin Spiced Mashed Butternut Squash
Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranates and Pancetta
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Sweet Potato Latkes with Mango Chutney (it is Thanksgivukkah after all!)Mixed Greens Salad
Green Bean Almodine
Kale and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Maple Cake

Now that I'm a full-time working mom of a busy toddler (a topic I've drafted up in a blog post at least ten times and want to talk about at some point), I knew I had to really divvy out the dishes.  My mom and mother-in-law love to cook as much as me so I'm only making the stuff in RED. Still A LOT, but I'm not overwhelmed!

In case you're interested in some recipes, here you go!

For the turkey, we buy Brine and follow the directions on the package.  This year we bought a 20 pound Fresh Turkey and we're going to start the brining process tonight. The biggest advice I can give  is to make sure you have a brining bag, it makes the whole process cleaner and easier! 

Cooking the Turkey
Put the oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the turkey breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan, tucking the wings under and tying with twine.  Tie the drumstick together as well.  Put tinfoil over and cook for about 15 minutes per pound.  We cooked for about 3 hours with the foil and an hour or so without. When we took the foil off, we added the Classic Herb Flavored Butter and smothered it all over. We also added chicken broth to the pan and basted the turkey throughout the cooking process.  Roast until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees.  Then Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a bit before slicing.  

Chipotle Maple Butter
Pulse 2 sticks of softened butter in a food processor with 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce (depends on heat level), 1 garlic clove and a pinch of salt.  Process that up and reserve for the Gravy. You will have lots leftover!
I saved all of it and decided to make a classic herb butter for the actual turkey itself.
Classic Herb Butter
Mix 1 stick of softened butter with parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, teaspoon of pepper, shake of paprika and salt.  Process that up.  Spread it under the turkey skin and on the breasts and legs.  Then rub the rest on top of the skin.

Classic Turkey Gravy with Chipotle Maple Butter
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 medium onion
1 leek
Neck and Giblets from Turkey 
8 cups Chicken Broth
A Bundle of Aromatics- Sage, Thyme, Parsley
Turkey Drippings from your roasting pan
1/2 cup of flour
salt and pepper
a couple tablespoons of Chipotle Maple Butter
When turkey goes into the oven, start the broth: melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion/leek (and turkey giblets and neck if you have them) and cook until browned about 15 minutes. Add the broth, herb sprigs; cover and simmer while the turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Strain broth and keep warm.
When turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board and pour all the pan drippings into a degreasing cup.  Add 1/2 cup of the prepared broth to the roasting pan and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add bits and liquid to a degreasing cup. (I didn’t have a degreasing cup, so I just used a measuring cup… the fat will rise to the top… so after it does that, use your baster to remove the fat). 
Next, make a roux.  I did this in the same pan I had my broth in all day.  I added a bit (maybe 3-5 TB of the chipotle maple butter and flour together until the flour browns slightly.  Then I gradually added the broth back in whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low. 

 Season with salt and pepper and add more butter in if necessary (I think necessary).
Enjoy the best gravy of your life!

Cranberry Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 packages of fresh cranberries
Juice of half orange
Zest of Lime and Orange
Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Add in juice and zest. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Pomegranates

Inspired by Alton Brown, 2008
pound fresh Brussels Sprouts rinsed and trimmed1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 package of pancetta, coarsely chopped (or buy pre-chopped at Trader Joe's)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 ounces of pomegranates (or buy pre-seeded at Trader Joe's)
Cut the Brussel Sprouts in quarters, put on baking sheet with salt, pepper and olive oil and bake at 350 until browned. Add olive oil to hot pan over medium heat and cook chopped pancetta. Remove half the pancetta fat and add the roasted sprouts back in with pancetta.  Off the heat, add in the pomegranates.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing
Inspired by Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh

1 pound mild bulk breakfast sausage
4 tablespoons butter 
3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks)
1 fennel bulb, sliced
2 of your favorite apples, cored and chopped
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning1 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
6 cups boxed bread cubes (croutons)  + ½ baguette diced into pieces
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Saute the sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, celery and poultry seasoning to the skillet and saute until the leeks are soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in the dried cranberries, sage and rosemary. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons and parsley. Next add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist. Be sure not to overdo it; it shouldn't be mushy. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish. (The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.)Bake in a 14-inch oval or 9 by 13-inch rectangular casserole dish and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and the center piping hot. Remove and serve immediately.

Classic Green Bean Almondine
2 Tablespoons of Butter (Using Earth Balance)
1/4 cup of Almonds
Juice of half lemon
Salt and Pepper
1lb of Fresh Green Beans, stems chopped off, washed
Melt Butter of medium-low heat.  Add Almonds (SLICED) and cook until golfen.  Remove from heat, add lemon juice, Wipe skillet off and add a cup or two of water and add some salt and green beans.  Once it comes to a boil, cook for 3-5 minutes covered until beans are crisp. Drain beans and then toss with butter almond mixture right before serving.

Butternut Squash Kale Pudding-
 by: Molly Wizenberg
To me, this recipe is a must.  It's a great recipe if you have a vegetarian in your family!

2 pounds of peeled, seeded butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
7 eggs
2 1/4 cups of half and half
1/4 cup of white wine
1.5 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 day  old baguette, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup of onions
2 bunches of your favorite kale
8 ounces of grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until tender- 20-30 minutes. Whisk eggs in a bowl, add half and half, wine, mustard, and salt.  Whisk together.  Add the baguette pieces into egg mixture.  Let soak 30 minutes. At the same time, head 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onions and saute until soft then add kale, cover and cook until kale is wilted but still bright green.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.  In a 13x9x2inch baking dish, transfer half of the bread mixture, squash and kale then sprinkle half of the cheese.  Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash and cheese.  Pour the rest of the egg mixture over the bread pudding. Cover bread pudding with foil and bake 20 minutes.  Remove foil, bake uncovered until custard is set about 20 minutes longer.  Once cheese is browned, remove and serve!

Hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving filled with lots of delicious food!