Thanksgiving Recipes

As prep for the marathon cooking event that was this year’s Thanksgiving, I took the time to write out my Thanksgiving recipes. It made shopping a breeze and I had a handy cheat sheet with me all of Wednesday and Thursday morning. Complete with schedule!

Alas, there are no photos of the food. The Turkey was a deep rich golden brown and I wish I had snapped a photo; the glaze worked wonderfully. The mashed potatoes looked like… well, they looked like mashed potatoes with little bits of bacon in them. The stuffing looked like stuffing and the pecan pies were gorgeous–easily the prettiest pecan pies I’ve ever made. (We have a new oven this year and it made a tremendous difference!)

The recipes were cobbled together from many different spots. The turkey was heavily influenced by Alton Brown, although I modified the recipe quite a bit. The potatoes are my own, the pecan pie began at the Camellia Grill in New Orleans but also owes a deep debt to my friend Eric’s mother, Pat. The stuffing comes largely from the Gumbo Pages. The cranberries are my interpretation of a classic standard.

Mashed Potatoes

8 russet potatoes (6 lbs) cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 lbs bacon, crumbled
1/2 lb Cheddar, grated
1/2 lb Gruyere, grated
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Place the potatoes and 2 tspn salt in pot and cover with cold water by about an inch. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain in a colander and return to the cooking pot. Add the cream, butter, remaining 1 tsp salt, and black pepper.

Place the pan over medium- low heat and mash with a potato masher to incorporate the ingredients and achieve a light texture, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, grated cheese, sour cream, mustard, pepper and chopped chives. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Cranberries

1 bag Cranberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Orange, juiced and zested
2 tblspns chopped candied ginger
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tspn cornstarch / water slurry
splash of brandy

dissolve sugar in water. Add cranberries and all other ingredients. Boil until the cranberries have burst. Add cornstarch slurry. taste and simmer for 10 minutes.

Andouille Cornbread stuffing

6 cups cornbread, crumbled
1 stick butter
2 lbs andouille,chopped small
2 bell peppers diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 large onion diced
3 ribs celery diced small
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tspn ground allspice
2 tblspn dried thyme
1 tblspn fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon minced bay leaves
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup stock
1/2 cup cream

Toast cornbread 10-20 minutes @ 350. Transfer to large mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sweat the green onions, bell pepper and sweet onions until soft. Remove the vegetables from the pan. Brown the andouille in batches.

Add back the vegetables, celery, garlic, thyme, sage, allspice, and bay leaves and cook 10 minutes or so. Mix the vegetables into the corn bread thoroughly.

Beat the eggs and add the stock and the cream. Put the stuffing into a buttered baking dish and add the egg/cream mixture until the stuffing is moist, but not sodden. Cover tightly with foil, then bake @ 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is brown, about 15 minutes.

Pecan Pie

4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1-1/4 cups light corn syrup
1-1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp brandy
splash of lemon juice

Beat eggs.. Add salt, butter, syrup, sugar, brandy, lemon juice, vanilla and pecans; mix well.
Pour into shell. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes.

Turkey

Remove offal bag.
Rinse thoroughly. loosen skin, exposing meat.

Brine:
1/2 gallon chix broth/turkey stock
1 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tblspn whole black peppercorns
1 tblspn whole allspice berries
1/2 cup candied ginger, diced
10 whole cloves
1/2 gallon apple juice
1 gallon water as ice

Boil stock and dissolve sugar, salt, baking soda. Add peppercorns, allspice, ginger and cloves. Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour in large 5 gallon plastic food bucket. Add juice and 1/2 ice. Add turkey breast side down and rest of ice. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.

Aromatics:
1 small onion cubed
1 apple, cored and cubed
1 cinnamon stick.
1 cup water
fresh rosemary
fresh sage

When ready to cook the turkey, microwave the aromatics and water on high for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 500.

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Don’t rinse. Fill the turkey cavity with the aromatics. Rub the turkey all over with cooking oil, or–in this case–the rendered bacon fat I reserved from the bacon I cooked for the potatoes. Insert meat thermometer into the deepest part of the breast.

Put turkey on rack in roasting pan and roast at 500 for 30 minutes.

Remove bird, and cover breast with foil. Reduce oven temp to 330 and roast until internal temperature is 155. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

Glaze:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple juice
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup Cooking oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp vinegar

Add all ingredients to sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid by half.

When turkey hits 150 degrees, open oven and baste the bird with the glaze. Remove the foil.

Roast turkey until temp reaches 158 or so. Baste turkey again. When temp reaches 165, remove turkey from the oven, remove turkey from roasting pan, cover with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Gravy:
Chopped fresh rosemary
Chopped fresh sage
red wine
flour
(I didn’t list amounts here because it all depends on the size of the turkey and how much gravy you’re making. For the flour, it depends on how much fat you’re using in the gravy. You want equal amounts by weight. It’s OK to eyeball it. Gravy is forgiving.)

Pour pan juices into large plastic pitcher. Let sit for a moment until the fat has separated. Remove fat from juices into large pan on medium heat. Remove any icky fatty solids from the drippings.

Add flour and stir constantly until roux just begins to brown. Add the rest of the pan drippings, the red wine and the rosemary and the sage. The gravy should suddenly thicken when you add the liquid. If it’s too thick, add water. Cook over low heat until the gravy is hot and yummy. The glaze is very sweet, and the pan drippings will be sweet as well. You may want to use half the pan drippings and supplement the rest with regular stock.

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