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Thanksgiving Delight

Thanksgiving Delight

Autumn foods create a delicious blend of flavors and ambient color.

by

Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, these holiday foods are delicious and full of fall flavors. I like to include ingredients like corn, butternut squash, pumpkin, pecans, persimmon, cranberry and apples. I like them not just because they are seasonal, but they also create an ambiance of fall color on the table. The oranges, yellows, reds and browns match the leaves so perfectly. (Don’t forget to collect those gorgeous leaves from outside and use them as place cards or as a part of your centerpiece, too!)

Enjoy these fall flavors for Thanksgiving, or just a special evening of American cuisine.

(See below for “Best Turkey Tips")

Corn Chowder with Pumpernickel Croutons

Corn Chowder with Pumpernickel CroutonsServes 8

Croutons:

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups pumpernickel bread, cut into3/4″ cubes
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Alternatively, use a store-bought flavored crouton

Soup:

  • 8 tablespoons margarine or oil
  • 4 ribs celery, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 potato, peeled, cut in half then in thin slices
  • 1 red pepper, chopped in ½ -inch pieces
  • 8 cups fresh (or frozen defrosted) corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock or pareve chicken stock
  • 1 cup pareve whipping cream(or non-dairy creamer)
  • 1 cup soy milk

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put 1 clove garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Using a knife, mince and scrape garlic against cutting board to form a paste. Transfer garlic paste to a large bowl and whisk in oil. Add pumpernickel cubes, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss to coat; transfer to a baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until toasted, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. (Alternatively, buy a great flavored crouton.)

Heat margarine in a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Mince remaining garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add celery, onions, potatoes, and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, until vegetables are soft but not browned, 15 –18 minutes. Add corn and curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is soft and fragrant, 18–20 minutes. Vigorously stir in flour, then add chicken stock, pareve whipping cream, and soy milk; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. To serve, divide soup between serving bowls and top with croutons.

Perfect Roast Turkey

Perfect Roast TurkeyServes 12

  • 1 (12 pound) fresh turkey
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon, onion, quartered, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

Roast the turkey for 15-20 minutes per pound or until an internal thermometer reads 165, basting from time to time with pan juices, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil; let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve hot.

Cornbread, Sausage, Cherry, and Pecan Stuffing

Cornbread, Sausage, Cherry, and Pecan StuffingServes 8

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) margarine, cut into pieces, divided plus more
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries
  • 10 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread, dried out overnight
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound kielbasa, Italian sausage or other kosher sausage, optional
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a shallow 3-qt. baking dish and a sheet with oil. Bring vinegar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and add cherries. Let sit until cherries are plump, 15–20 minutes.

Spread out cornbread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown, 10–15 minutes. Let cool. Place in a very large bowl.

Drain cherries, reserving soaking liquid, and add cherries to bowl with cornbread (do not mix).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook kielbasa/sausage, stirring occasionally and breaking into small pieces with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add onions and celery to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown and soft, 10–12 minutes. Add garlic and sage; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook reserved cherry soaking liquid in skillet, scraping up any browned bits, until almost all evaporated, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup margarine; cook, stirring, until melted. Drizzle over bread mixture.

Whisk eggs and 2 cups stock in a medium bowl; pour over cornbread mixture. Add parsley, season with salt and pepper, and gently toss, adding more stock ¼-cupful at a time as needed (you may not use it all), until combined and cornbread is hydrated. Mix carefully to avoid breaking cornbread into crumbs. Transfer to prepared dish and dot with remaining ¼ cup margarine.

Cover with greased foil; bake until a paring knife inserted into the center comes out hot, 30–35 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450°. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown and crisp, 20–25 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

DO AHEAD: Stuffing can be assembled 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Cranberry, Apple and Pear Granola Crumble

Cranberry, Apple and Pear Granola CrumbleServes 8 – 10

You can use all apple or all pear in this recipe.

  • 1 ½ cups chopped green apple, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pear, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup rolled oats/oatmeal
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, or nut of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 oven-to-table baking dish. In a medium bowl, toss apples, pears, cranberries, sugar and lemon juice. Pour into prepared dish.

In a small bowl, mix oatmeal, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and melted margarine. This should look moistened and clumpy.

Sprinkle oatmeal mixture over apple/cranberry mixture. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until topping

Sauteed Spinach with Shallots

Sauteed Spinach with ShallotsServes 6

  • 5 tablespoons margarine or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/4 lb. spinach (two 10-oz. bags), stemmed and thoroughly washed but not dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

Heat the margarine in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, coriander, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot begins to soften but does not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high, and begin adding the spinach, a large handful at a time, tossing with tongs, until all the spinach is in the skillet. Cook, tossing frequently, until the spinach is wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes. If a lot of water remains, cook on high heat, until the leaves are coated with margarine but not soupy, another 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Baby Potatoes

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Baby PotatoesServes 4 – 6

Like salt and vinegar potato chips? If so, this cooked potato recipe is for you. I love the spin on roasted potatoes and the salty, vinegar bite.

  • 2 pounds baby Yukon Gold or red potatoes, halved (quartered if large)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or canola oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon

Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan; add water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes; drain and pat dry.

Heat margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar. Serve topped with chives and sea salt

Sweet Potato and Pecan Pie

Sweet Potato and Pecan PieServes 12

  • 1/2 recipe Pie Crust, see recipe below or store-bought

FILLING

  • 2 1/4 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, such as Garnet (sometimes called "yams")
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pareve whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons melted margarine
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

PECAN TOPPING

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Make pastry as directed in a regular 9-in. pie pan. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 375° and make filling: Bake sweet potatoes in a shallow pan until very tender when pierced, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours. Let cool. Scoop flesh into a food processor and purée until smooth. Measure 2 cups; save extra for soup or another use.

Reduce oven to 350°. With a mixer, beat eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Beat in remaining filling ingredients until blended. Pour into crust and spread level. Wrap pie rim with 4 strips of foil.

Bake pie 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together topping ingredients except pecans until smooth. Stir in pecans.

Remove foil from pie. Evenly drop small spoonfuls of pecan mixture in a border around edge of pie. Continue to bake until center jiggles only slightly when shaken gently, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 2 hours.

Make ahead: Through step 2 or the whole pie, up to 1 day.

Pie crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • 10 tablespoon cold unsalted margarine, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

In a mixer, beat flour, sugar, and salt on low speed to blend. Add shortening in spoonfuls and beat on low speed until pieces are pea-size, about 1 minute. Add margarine and beat until pieces are pea-size, stopping once to scrape bowl, about 2 1/2 minutes. Gradually drizzle in 5 1/2 tbsp. ice water, beating just until dough comes together, 15 to 30 seconds.

Divide mixture in half and gently gather and press each into a 3/4-in.-thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Unwrap 1 pastry disk and lightly flour pastry, work surface, and rolling pin (save remaining disk for another use). Working from center with short strokes, roll pastry into an even 12-in. circle. As you work, lift pastry using a bench scraper or long metal spatula, and reflour board and pin as needed to keep it from sticking.

Fold pastry in half and open up into a regular 9-in. pie pan, easing it into place without stretching. Using scissors, trim overhang to 1 in.

Roll overhang under itself so it's flush with and sitting on top of rim. Pinch pastry along lip to form an even ridge. Flute ridge. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400° with a rack in lower third. Line pastry with foil, letting ends come straight up from pan but not over rim. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is golden at edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and weights. If needed, bake until center is dry, 2 to 5 more minutes.

Make ahead: For dough, up to 2 days, chilled or 1 month, frozen. For blind-baked crust, up to 1 day, airtight

“Best Turkey” Tips

1. Accurate Temperature: Make sure you have a calibrated oven, meaning the oven thermostat is reading correctly and a good meat thermometer. Turkeys take about 20 minutes per pound (for a 8-12 lb bird) and about 15 minutes per pound for a 12-16 lb turkey. Another more accurate way to test doneness is to use a meat thermometer. The turkey should be cooked until an internal temperature of 165 degrees. I also like the pop-up disposable turkey plastic thermometers that are available this time of year. When the turkey reaches 165 degrees, it pops up indicating that the turkey is cooked through.

2. Let the turkey rest. Let the turkey rest after it is cooked so that the juices remain in the meat and not all over the cutting board. To keep the turkey warm, as a whole or after slicing, cover the tray or cooking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and then with a bath towel. This forms a nice steam bath and keeps everything inside warm and moist.

3. To stuff or not to stuff? That is a popular question we get. Personally, I love the way the stuffing tastes when made in the turkey, BUT my general vote is to make stuffing muffins, or a separate stuffing, because the turkey, even big ones, just do not make enough stuffing to please a crowd. This way you can make plenty of stuffing, and still have room in the oven for other items.

4. Use chicken stock! Chicken stock is an amazing moisture enhancer. I drizzle some over the sliced turkey to keep it moist. Even the most perfectly roasted turkeys get dry very fast so keeping a little stock warmed on the side is a great way to keep everything moist.

5. Carve it right! Let the meat rest. Set up a large cutting board so it will not move while cutting. Sharpen a large knife. Cut the turkey along the breastbone with a sharp knife, pulling the meat away from the bone as you cut so you can see where you’re going. This is a crosswise cut against the grain. Cut down and around on an angle, separating the entire breast from the bird. Carve the breast on an angle, then place pieces on a serving platter. Pull the leg away from the carcass, find the joint between the leg and thighbone, and separate them with the knife. If you like, cut the meat off the leg.

November 22, 2014

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