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Thanksgiving prep is underway

Preparing for Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

 

We hope this finds you happily meal planning for this Thursday’s main event. Gathering recipes new and well-loved to please the family and friends that will gather around your table.

 

We spent some time over the weekend collecting our most tried and true to send out to you. So from our holiday table to yours, please enjoy any or all of the following festive recipes:

 

~ Chef Beth’s Turkey Brine
~ Classic Bread Stuffing (with variations)
~ Best Ever Mashed Potatoes
~ Brussels Sprouts with Blue Cheese
~ Creamed Onions
~ Turkey Gravy

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Best Turkey Brine Ingredients
Best Turkey Brine Ingredients

Brine for Turkey

  By Beth Sogaard  ,

November 18, 2017

The brine can be made a full week ahead, if desired. After brining the turkey should be cooked within 24 hours.

  • Yields: 2 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups kosher salt

1 cup sugar

4 bay leaves

1 tsp peppercorns

2 tbsp pickling spice

4 cups water

6 cups ice water

Directions

1Bring the salt, sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, pickling spice, and the 4 cups water to a boil in a sauce pan. Boil for 10 minutes, remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain and add to the ice water, mixing well.

2To brine turkey: Rinse the bird with cold water, removing any necks, gizzards, etc. (reserve for stock). Place the turkey in a bucket or deep container and cover with enough of the cooled brine to cover. You can also sanitize a small ice chest and place the bird directly in or in a heavy duty clear garbage bag and surround with the brine. Add ice as needed to keep below 40 degrees.

3Brine the turkey under refrigeration overnight or at least 8 hours. Remove from the brine before roasting, discarding the used brine.

4This makes enough brine to cover a 12-16# bird.

This is my secret to moist, flavorful turkey every time.

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Classic Bread Stuffing
Classic Bread Stuffing

Classic Bread Stuffing with Variations

  By Beth Sogaard  ,

November 18, 2017

Customize this to make your own masterpiece.

  • Yields: 6 cups (10 servings)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

3 cups chopped celery

4 cups diced onion

8 cups cubed and dried cornbread or bread croutons, unseasoned

1 quart broth, - turkey, chicken or vegetable

1/4 cup broth (optional)

1/2 cup chopped italian parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

Optional Additions

8 oz. Spanish chorizo, chopped; or use andouille or spicy Italian sausage, about 2 cups

2 large granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

1In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the celery and onions and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and the onion is transparent, about 15 minutes. It's okay to brown the onions a bit, but turn down the heat if they start to burn.

2Stir in the chorizo or other sausage if using. Cook another 5 minutes and remove from the heat. At this point you can refrigerate the vegetables and make the stuffing up to 3 days later.

3If you are making your own bread croutons, dice and toast the bread in a 250 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Let sit out uncovered overnight or in an oven with a pilot light to dry.

4To finish the dish: Heat the broth to boiling and stir in the other 1/4 cup butter if desired. Combine the sauteed vegetables and the bread croutons well and pour over the warm broth. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley and sage. Fold in any other additions and then turn into a buttered casserole dish. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more or until browned on top.

5If you are stuffing the turkey, stuff lightly and place any leftover stuffing in a buttered casserole to cook for the last 50 minutes of roasting time.

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Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with green onions
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with green onions

Beth’s Best Mashed Potatoes

  By Beth Sogaard  , ,

November 18, 2017

Many different flavors can be stirred in to these delicious mashed potatoes. Try crumbled blue cheese, caramelized onions, chopped bacon, roasted garlic and/or horseradish for your own "ultimate" creation.

  • Yields: 8 servings (6 cups)

Ingredients

2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, medium-sized

2 tbsp kosher salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

3/4 cups butter, or to taste

1 cup sour cream

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 green onions, chopped (optional)

Directions

1Wash the potatoes well (leave them whole) and place in a 4 qt. sauce pot or dutch oven and cover by one inch with cold water. Add the 2 tablespoons kosher salt and bring to a boil.

2Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced through with a paring knife. The time will depend on the size of the potatoes. If you need to, turn off the heat and cover the pan and the potatoes will wait for you for up to 1 hour.

3Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Mash along with the buttermilk and butter to your preferred consistency. Or you may place in a stand mixer with a flat paddle and mix on low to mash.

4Stir in the sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a warm serving bowl and sprinkle with the chopped green onion. Enjoy!

My family orders this from me by the pan-ful if I'm not hosting the holiday dinner...

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with Blue Cheese

  By Beth Sogaard  ,

November 18, 2017

Who needs green bean casserole with these around? Even those who distrust this beautiful vegetable convert at first bite.

  • Yields: 6 cups (8 servings)

Ingredients

2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

salt, as needed

3 oz. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

1Bring a 4 quart sauce pan of water to a boil with plenty (1-2 tablespoons) of kosher salt. Add the brussels sprouts and boil until just al dente - around 8-12 minutes depending on the size. Drain and shock in ice water to stop cooking. Drain again.

2At this point you can refrigerate the sprouts for up to 3 days.

3To finish and serve the dish: Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add half the olive oil and then half of the brussels sprouts, cut side down and in one layer. Saute over high heat to caramelize and brown. This will only take 4 to 5 minutes, depending on how hot the pan is. Remove to a large bowl and repeat with the other half of the oil and sprouts.

4When all the brussels sprouts are browned, toss in the blue cheese and the walnuts and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Prep these ahead and then brown minutes before serving.

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Onion Family
Onion Family

Family of Onions Baked in Cream

  By Beth Sogaard  , ,

November 18, 2017

This is a truly unique accompaniment for a special meal.

 

 

  • Yields: 10 servings

Ingredients

10 large shallots, peeled and halved

1 cup garlic cloves (about 20), peeled

4 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, split and cut into 1'' pieces

2 cups pearl onions, peeled

2 cups cream

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

1Place the shallot halves and leek pieces, cut side down, in a 2 quart baking or gratinée dish (about 9x13). Scatter over the garlic cloves and pearl onions.

2Pour over the cream and season well with the salt and pepper. Lay the thyme sprigs over the top and then cover with heavy plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.

3Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the vegetables are very tender and pierce easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and unwrap.

4The dish can be prepared up to two days ahead to this point. Sprinkle the onions with the parmesan or simply return to a 400 degree oven to brown lightly and heat through, about 10-15 minutes.

If you don't get around to this for Thanksgiving, it is delicious served with prime rib, roast lamb or even a whole roasted salmon (think Christmas dinner!)

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Turkey Gravy Boat ready for Thanksgiving.
Turkey Gravy Boat ready for Thanksgiving.

Perfect Turkey Gravy

  By Beth Sogaard  

November 18, 2017

Rich and smooth, here are step by step instructions for perfect gravy.

  • Yields: 10 servings (4 cups)

Ingredients

8 cups water

1 each turkey neck, gizzards and heart from one turkey (save the liver for something else)

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 bay leaves

6 tbsp AP flour (or use 4 tbsp cornstarch)

1 cup cold water

1 cup drippings from roasted turkey pan, de-fatted

Directions

1Combine the water, turkey neck and gizzards, carrot, celery, onion and bay leaves in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 hours, adding more water as needed.

2Strain the stock and measure out 4 cups into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer.

3Stir the flour or cornstarch into the 1 cup cold water until smooth. Whisk into the boiling stock, a little at a time until the gravy starts thickening. You may not need all the starch mixture. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper.

4You can make ahead up to 3 days to this point. Bring the gravy back to a simmer and then whisk in the drippings from the roasted turkey. Simmer for 10 minutes more or until the gravy is your perfect thickness. If it gets too thick, whisk in a little more broth. Taste again and re-season if needed.

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AUTHOR - Beth Sogaard

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