Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

The menu:
2 10-12 pound turkeys
Chicken stock (for gravy, stuffings and carrots)
Day ahead gravy (your recipe, my stock)
Cranberries with roasted jalapenos
Two stuffings
Mashed potatoes (your recipe)
Glazed Carrots
Brussels sprouts with bacon lardons or Spicy sprouts
Pies and Gelatos


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If your oven is big enough or you have a two oven appliance, roasting two small turkeys (10-12 pounds each) is better than roasting a 20-24 pounder. They’re easier to brine and handle, they’re more tender and you’ll enjoy more skin, more far from the bone white meat and more tender legs and thighs.


ROAST TURKEY brine bird and dry
Season (do not stuff with dressing)
Drape bird with cheese cloth
Drizzle melted butter over bird
Roast in preheated oven at 425F for 30 minutes
Reduce oven heat to 325F
Baste every 30 minutes
Doneness:  Test 165F to 170F in the breast; drumsticks should move
       and be fairly tender
       (Times: using the 425F + 325F method)
9 to 12 pounds: 2.25 to 2.75 hours
12 to 14 pounds:  2.5 to 3.5 hours
16 to 20 pounds:  about 4.5 hours
20 to 26 pounds:  about 5.5 hours
Lightly cover birds and let rest for 30 minutes
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BRINING SOLUTION
         ½ C            kosher salt
½ C            sugar
         1 qt water/lb of product
1.  Soak product for 1 hour/lb
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CHICKEN STOCK
If you worked for French or Italian chefs in high-end kitchens, they had you made stocks a couple times a week and you were given an iron-clad rule, namely “Do Not Add Salt to Stock, Ever.” Reason: Stocks with only natural levels of sodium leave you free to season with confidence and control–no surprises, especially when you’re onto reductions. If you look hard, you can find super market chicken broths with as little of 80 mg of salt. They’re OK in a pinch, but the stuff tastes thin even with salt. So make chicken stock this Thanksgiving. Its freshness and complexity make a difference. Stocks keeps for 6 days in the fridge and months in the freezer.
Here’s how:
Cheap chicken parts-about one chicken in weight
3 onions, sliced
3/4 bunch celery, roughly chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 sachet of “Bouquet Garni:” thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley stems
water: roughly 1 quart of water per pound of chicken
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1. Debone the chicken and toss into large pot–bones, skin and meat
2. Add cold water to cover the chicken parts and bring to boil, then simmer briefly to blanch the chicken.
3. Skim off fat and scum
4. Add all the other ingredients
5. Add cold water: about 1 quart per pound of chicken
6. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 2 hours, uncovered
7. When done, skim again and remove large parts with a slotted spoon
8. Strain the stock through a chinoise (conical metal mesh strainer)
9. Cool the stock rapidly, store in the fridge or freeze in quick-draw containers
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STUFFINGS
Both of these stuffings were new last year and were received with a round of yums at both tables. They’re completely different both in taste and color, so make both, as I’ll do again this year.
CHORIZO, CORN AND CILANTRO STUFFING
2 large links of fresh sausage
2 t EVOO
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cubes
1 C corn kernels
1 bell  pepper, diced
1/3 C cilantro, diced
|1.5 C chicken broth
|S/P to taste
6 C sourdough bread cubes
1/3 C cilantro, garnish
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1.  Crumble chorizo links, sauté to barely brown and then drain and set aside
2.  Sauté onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic to translucent, about 10 minutes
3.  Add corn kernels, cilantro and fold in
4.  Add the chorizo and fold in bread cubes
5   Add the chicken broth and combine all over low heat
6.  Transfer all to gratin pan, cover with foil and hold
7.  Baker, covered, about 40 minutes in preheated oven at 300F
8.  Uncover and bake until stuffing browns and reaches 165F
9.  Garnish and serve hot
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SAGE AND SAUSAGE STUFFING
2 large links of mild Italian sausage
2 T unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cubes
1/4 C fresh sage or 1 T dried
2 C chicken broth
2 eggs
1/4 C fresh parsley
S/P to taste
6 C sourdough bread cubes
1/4 C parsley, garnish
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1.  Sauté crumbled sausage in 2T butter to barely brown
2.  Sauté onion, celery and garlic to translucent, about 10 minutes
3.  Add half the broth
4.  Whisk remaining stock , eggs and parsley and pour into onion mix
5.  Cook gently for 10 minutes and then add the sausage
6. Fold in the bread cubes
7.  Transfer all to gratin pan, cover  with foil and hold
8.  Bake, covered abut 40 minutes in preheated oven at 300F
9. Uncover and bake until stuffing browns and reaches 165F
10.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot
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This is a classic French way of doing carrots–school recipe: (Sorry no photo on file.)
BRAISED CARROTS  GLAZED
•  carrots
•  butter
•  chicken stock
•  S/P (ginger optional)
1.  Place the pot over a parchment sheet and mark and cut out the circle
2. Angle-slice carrots (cut them with care)
3.  Place in cold pot
    ·  Add butter
    ·  Add about 1/3 inch of stock
    ·  Season with S/P and other favorites
4. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
5. Fit the parchment sheet cut-out circle into the pot and over the simmering stock and carrots to form a loose seal. (This will enhance the braising process and flavor retention by severely reducing the volume of air above the carrots.)
5.  Cover with loose lid and simmer until carrots are fork tender (hold point)
6.  Remove parchment paper and finish a la minute
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BRUSSELS SPROUTS
•  Brussels sprouts. 1.5 lb
•  lardons of bacon or chorizo
•  butter or bacon fat
•  S/P
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1.  Pull off outer floppy leaves
     ·  refresh root stem
     ·  puncture root stem w/ knife, cross pattern
2.  Steam for 11 minutes or pressure cook for 4 minutes, until fork tender
3.  Remove and chill shock in cold water
     ·  drain and hold
4.  Sauté lardons to crisp-brown
5.  Cut sprouts in half
     ·  place halves -side down in lardon pan and reheat
     ·  adjust seasoning
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SPICY SPROUTS
1.  Follow Steps 1-3 above
2.  Delete bacon/chorizo
3.  Combine 3T red wine vinegar, 1.5T maple syrup, 2 cloves garlic
crushed and 1/2t red pepper flakes, crushed
4.  Heat 2T EVOO in skillet, add combined mixture and cook briefly
5.  Cut sprouts in half, add to mixture, cook and stir until mixture glazes
6.  S/P to taste, toss, then serve topped with sliced scallions or shallots
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I’ve served this for years. It’s unique and very good. Taste as you go with these powerful ingredients.
CRANBERRIES MEET MEXICO
•   24 oz    (2 packages, about 6 cups) washed and sorted  
•   1 jalapeno chili pepper, roasted, peeled, seeds removed,
               deveined and finely diced.  
•   ¼ C      chopped fresh cilantro  
•   3          juice of 3 limes or lime/orange juice (half and half) 
•   1 C       sugar 
•   1 t         salt 
•   ½ t       pepper 
•   3          shallots or spring onions (green part only), small diced
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1. Cook the cranberries in 2 cups of water for about 5 minutes or until
    they pop 
2. Drain 
3. Stir in the other ingredients and simmer briefly 
4. Taste for heat, tartness and balance (don’t drive out all other tastes
     with the cilantro or jalapeno) 
5. Return to simmer briefly 
6. Cool and refrigerate 
NOTE
:  Wear gloves when handling hot peppers. Or, if not, wash hands
afterwards with soap and water and then again with Purell. 

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