Friday, November 17

It's a Delicious, Delicious, Delicious Time of Year

I can't make them all, as we've determined. But I can share a handful of recipes that I've done in the past in the hopes that someone else will make them. So without further ado, J's favorite Thanksgiving recipes are presented below with a cross-my-heart that they are absolutely delicious (a point I believe I clearly made above). Oh, and I fully expect Wingal to produce the Sweet Potato Gnocchi - stat.

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce (from Bon Appetit, March 1995) (Makes 2 cups; can be made 3 days ahead)

I will be making this one. It has a tendency to spill out of its dish in the oven, so if anyone else makes it, use a taller dish, set a pan underneath it, or get your yelling voice ready.

1 12-oz package of fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (I use Triple Sec)

Preheat oven to 325. Put cranberries in a 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar and then orange juice concentrate. (11/22/06: Uh oh - forgot this very important part: COVER TIGHTLY WITH FOIL). Bake until juices form and cranberries are very soft - about 1 hour. Uncover. Mix in liquor. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours. Keep chilled.

Cranberry and Dried-Cherry Sauce
(Bon Appetit, November 2002) (Makes about 4 cups; can be made 1 week ahead)

Also delicious, for those who prefer their condiments non-alcoholic. (Although incidentally, and sort of ironically, a spoonful of frozen cranberry juice cocktail stirred into your mimosa as you make this...? Priceless.)

1 12-oz container of frozen cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup water
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 6-oz package dried tart cherries
1 12-oz bag fresh cranberries (I used frozen once because Safeway didn't get on the cranberry horse until about two days before T-Day. As I'm sure you can guess, it can be done, but I recommend fresh)

Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in a medium saucepan over med-hi heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cherries; cook two minutes. Add cranberries; cook until berries pop, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes (where do they come up with these times? I think it took a while longer for me.) Transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill overnight. Keep chilled. Discard cinnamon before serving cold or at room temp.

Baked Spiced Butternut Squash with Apples and Maple Syrup ( (Servces 8 to 10; can be made 1 day ahead)

Someone thought this was the sweet potato dish the first year I made it. He hates sweet potatoes but he had thirds on this. So...there you go.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (plus some to butter dish)
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon gound cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 small butternut squashes, peeled (ugh), halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (argh) (If you're not a man and you have one around, make him cut these suckers. Seriously.)
4 6-oz Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Preheat oven to 400. Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Stir butter, maple syrup and apple juice in small saucepan over med-low heat until butter melts. Increase heat and boil until mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cinnamon, allspice, and salt.

Arrange 1/3 of squash slices in prepared dish. Top with half of apple slices, then 1/3 of squash slices. Arrange remaining squash and apple in layers, alternating as you go and overlapping slightly. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Pour maple syrup over everything and cover dish tightly with foil.

Bake until squash is almost tender, about 50 minutes (or, if you own my stove, for days. God.) Remove foil and bake until squash is tender, basting occasionally with syrup, about 20 minutes longer. Keep in fridge covered with foil. Rewarm, covered, in 350 oven for about 25 minutes or microwave on high about 8 minutes. Spoon syrup from dish over vegetables and serve.

I have two turkey recipes that I want to share because yes, I'm a goober, but I'm going to curb my desires and only write down the short one that makes an entire (moist and bacon-covered) turkey. If you want the recipe for Roasted Turkey Breast with Spiced Cranberry Glaze (Julie, I'm looking at you), let me know.

Tyler's Maple-Roasted Turkey (somebody named Tyler - maybe from Gourmet or Food and Wine, 2005) (Makes 1 turkey, feeds several; roasts for 3 to 3 1/2 hours)

This was the first (and to date the only) whole turkey I ever cooked and, no offense to anyone's mother, but at least three people (I was not one of them, Mom!) that night uttered the words: "It's so...moist. My mom's was never this moist." Anyway, I credit the recipe for the non-dryness of the bird - and the hours of basting. And the carpal tunnel. Kidding. It's actually not hard to make one of these.

2 sticks of softened butter
half a bunch of chopped fresh sage
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper
1 large chopped onion
one 1 1/2 lb loaf of cornbread torn into large crumbs
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
a little chicken broth
1 12-14 lb turkey
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup maple syrup mixed with 2 tablespoons hot water to make a glaze
8 strips of bacon (after all, what's a turkey without bacon?)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine butter, sage, and salt and pepper. Saute chopped onion in half of the sage butter until golden. Mix the sauteed onion with the cornbread and then mix in the beaten egg, cream, and some chicken broth to moisten.

Rinse the turkey. Do what you have to do with it, or make someone else do it. (One year we made the vegetarian do it. Which made it a lot more fun.) Pat it dry and sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Carefully separate the skin (leaving it on) from the breast and smear the remaining sage butter underneath. Stuff the bird with the cornbread mixture and roast it for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth to pan. Baste turkey with maple glaze Continue roasting, basting with maple glaze every 30 minutes for 1 1/2 hours. Cover turkey with strips of bacon and keep roasting and basting until the thigh meat reaches 175 degrees, 1 to 1 1/2 hours later.

And finally, the recipe I'm sure no one will actually make, but which will seriously impress people (especially if you can learn how to pronounce it):

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pecans and Brown Butter (Food and Wine, November 2005) (Serves 10; can be prepared through Step 4, covered with platic wrap, and refrigerated overnight)

Raphael and I had this last year with the Spiced Cranberry Turkey Breast alluded to above, and lemon-and-pine-nut green beans. It was an amazing little meal.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt (or whatever)
3 baking potatoes (1 1/2 lbs)
2 med sweet potatoes (1 lb)
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup pecan halves, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spread 1 1/2 cups salt on a baking sheet. Set potatoes on the salt and bake for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool.

2. Peel all baked potatoes. Work them through a ricer (Right. I have a ricer. Just squish them with a masher.) into a large bowl. Mix in remaining 2 tablespoons salt, egg yolks, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 3 or 4 times. Add more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and cover with a barely damp kitchen towel.

3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 3/4- inch-thick rope. Cut the rope into 1/2 inch lengths. Using your thumb, roll each piece along the back of the tines of a fork to make indentations. Transfer gnocchi to a lightly floured baking sheet.

4. Salt the boiling water. Add 1/3 of the gnocchi and stir gently until they begin to rise to the surface, then cook until just tender, about 1 minute longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to the ice water, then drain well on paper towels. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. In a large bowl, toss gnocchi with olive oil. Spread on 2 baking sheets.

5. In a very large (they're not kidding) skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Cook the butter over moderate heat until it begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 of the pecans and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 of the gnocchi and cook until golden brown and warmed through; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining butter, pecans, and gnocchi in two more batches. Serve immediately.


Wingal said...

So, I'm coming to YOUR house for Thanksgiving.....

Jenny said...

You know, Wingal, you've GOT to stop getting my hopes up.

Wingal said...

Sorry. March?