I love Thanksgiving since it's all about the food. We have some pretty standard dishes that we do every year.
This year, a friend brought a fall appetizer to share which was yummy. It was a cranberry relish served with blue corn tortilla chips. The relish had a nice little bite to it with the jalapenos and the cilantro.
We then moved on to the main part of the meal with the turkey taking center stage. The turkey got a massage of herbed butter just under the skin and in the cavity. Also in the cavity, went a bunch of fresh sage, rosemary, thyme and a thickly sliced lemon. The remaining herbed butter was rubbed all over the outisde of the turkey. The bird was then placed on a bed of chopped onions, celery and carrots in a roast pan along with a quart of chicken stock. After an hour of roasting, the turkey got a basting of its pan juices every 20 minutes for another 2 hours.
For the past few years, we have been hooked on a caramelized onion and cornbread stuffing. A couple of chopped onions were cooked in butter until soft and caramelized and some fresh chopped sage was added. The onion and sage mixture went into a bowl and cubed cornbread was added along with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, we whisked together an egg, a little heavy cream, and chicken stock which was poured over the cornbread mixture. The stuffing was spooned into a buttered baking dish and baked until hot and crusty on top (about 30 minutes).
We always have Sweet Potato Casserole, which starts with boiling 5 sweet potatoes until tender. They are then mashed with butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt. This is spooned in a casserole dish and popped in the oven for 25 minutes before being topped with miniature marshmallows and baked for another 5 minutes. A definite family favorite!!
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without mashed potatoes. I used white rose potatoes this year and mashed them with butter, buttermilk, and salt and pepper.
We also had String Beans with Shallots. French green beans (haricots verts) were blanched and shocked to stop cooking. Some butter and olive oil went in to a skillet with some chopped shallots which were cooked for about 10 minutes to start caramelizing. The blanched green beans went in and cooked to warm through. Salt and pepper finished the seasoning for the dish.
The gravy came out great this year which has been a struggle for me in the past. The gravy started by caramelizing some chopped onions in butter in a saute pan. Some flour was whisked in with some salt and pepper and cooked for 2-3 minutes. The strained broth from the bottom of the roasting pan holding the turkey was used to make the gravy along with a tablespoon of Cognac.
We always have the jellied cranberry sauce, but this year I added a Cranberry Sauce made with fresh cranberries. A package of fresh cranberries went into a pot with 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Once the cranberries came to the boil, the heat was reduced to a simmer and in went a cinnamon stick and allspice and cooked for several minutes. The zest and juice of 1 orange was stirred in after taking the pot off the heat. These were delicious and I'm looking forward to serving these again.
Dessert was a pumpkin pie and a bourbon pecan pie served with freshly whipped cream.
I made my pie crust dough on Wednesday and lined 2 pie plates. For the pecan pie, I whisked 3 eggs until well combined; then I beat in dark corn syrup, sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract and a tablespoons of bourbon. The filling was poured carefully over pecans that were already arranged in the pie shell.
The pumpkin pie started by combining 3 eggs with sugar, salt and spices. Gradually some cooled, scalded milk was stirred in along with some heavy cream. Next went in pumpkin puree and this entire mixture went in to the other pie shell to bake.
This year's menu was a cornucopia of different food network chef's recipes: the turkey was Sandra Lee (Semi-Homemade), the stuffing was Tyler Florence (Tyler's Ultimate), the green beans and gravy were Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), the cranberry sauce was Alex Guarnaschelli (Alex's Day Off). I didn't take a picture since there is always so much food, the plate is just a mess.