(5-9) Thanksgiving in January

Around this house, Friday evenings are most special times as they mark the beginning of the weekly Sabbath.  To help celebrate, I typically try to make Friday dinner a bit more fancy than the regular weeknight meals.  This Friday, I decided to dig out from the freezer the turkey my husband’s employer handed out at Thanksgiving.

I love a good roasted turkey all on its own, but I am particularly excited about some of the recipes for leftovers in the November 2010 Southern Living.  We were away this past Thanksgiving, so I did not have any leftover turkey to call my own; I didn’t think it particularly appropriate to commandeer the leftovers– and my husband’s grandparents’ kitchen– to try out a couple of new recipes.

Back to the Friday night meal: to accompany the simple roasted turkey, I made roasted Brussels sprouts & grapes, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry compote, and chocolate soufflé.  Now, I knew that canned cranberry sauce was fairly common, but did you know that people buy instant mashed potato mix?  I imagine that its simply dehydrated mashed potatoes, but nevertheless, making potatoes from a powder seems terribly disgusting, especially when considering that homemade mashed potatoes takes all of twenty, maybe twenty-five minutes. Unfortunately I cannot share my mashed potato recipe with you because a) Aaron made the potatoes and b) it’s a top secret recipe (I know it, but that doesn’t mean I have to share it with you!).

I do have to admit that I grew up eating canned cranberry sauce.  After my mom died, Dad continued to host Thanksgiving at our house and one year decided he would contribute cranberry relish along with roasting the turkey.  The first year, probably every family member took a little– it was new, so why not?  Let’s just say that in the subsequent few years he continued to make it, aside from Dad’s serving for himself, the only reason any was eaten at all was because all the cousins would stand in the kitchen and dare one another to try it.  Later on, my older sister and I discovered Sugars coaxing effect on Cranberry’s acerbic tongue, and I have never looked back and the canned stuff.  I have a feeling that once you try the Bourbon-Cranberry Compote, you won’t look back, either.

Roast Turkey
This is a very simple roast turkey recipe.  I enjoy a more complex turkey now and again, such as with sage butter stuffed under the skin, but you really can’t go wrong with the class roasted turkey.

1 12-pound turkey, thawed
2 medium onions, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Sea Salt
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Yank the neck and giblets out of the cavity (you will have to lift up the skin at either the neck opening or the… bottom opening).  Toss the nasty giblets away (don’t open the package and take a peek!), but reserve the turkey neck.  Stuff the cavity with half the onion wedges.

2. Tie together the legs with kitchen twine (our turkey came with the legs already pinned together, as pictured below).  Cut a slit in the skin just above each wing and tuck in the tip of each wing (this prevents burning).

3. Get fresh with the turkey and rub him (or her!) down with the butter, then sprinkle with the salt.
4. Chuck the remaining onions, carrots, celery and turkey neck in a large roasting pan.  Position the bird on the roasting rack and place the rack in the pan.

5. Roast the turkey for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  If the turkey starts to get a little sunburned, just tent it loosely with foil.  If the vegetables begin to blacken, pour into the pan a little water or chicken broth.
You have a couple of options for checking that it is done: wait until the little timer that is stuck in the turkey pops up, or stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh and make sure it has reached 165°.

While the turkey is roasting, you can baste it every 30 minutes with the pan juices.  The absolute only reason to spend time basting is to produce a nice, evenly brown crust.  I didn’t bother with the basting and my turkey came out beautifully brown anyway.

6. After the turkey is all done, reserve the pan and its contents for the gravy.

Contents from roasting pan
1 cup dry white wine
1-3 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper

1. Remove the vegetables and neck from the pan and drop them like they’re hot (which… they probably are…) into the trash.  Pour the pan juices into a fat separator and allow to sit for 5 minutes while the fat makes its way to the top.  Pour the juices into a measuring cup, but leave that fat film behind!

2. Place the empty roasting pan across 2 burners and add the wine to deglaze the pan.  Cook for 1 minute.  Pour the contents of the pan into the measuring cup of skimmed pan juices.  Add enough chicken broth to make 4 total cups.

3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then sprinkle with the flour to create a roux (roooooooo).  Cook the roux for 4-5 minutes.

4. Whisk in the 4 cups of liquid and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until you have a nice, thick gravy.  Finish it off by seasoning with salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes
recipe from November 2010 Real Simple

1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
1 pound red seedless grapes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon thyme (fresh or dried)

1. Heat oven to 375°.  In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, grapes, olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are golden brown and tender.

Bourbon Cranberry Compote
adapted from recipe in November 2010 Real Simple
1 12-ounce bag cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup bourbon

1. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, juice and bourbon (feel free to sample the bourbon– to make sure it’s still good).
2. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to burst forth from their shells.
3. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens, 20-25 minutes total.  Cool before serving.

Chocolate Soufflés with Whipped Sour Cream
adapted from “Red Velvet Soufflés” recipe in the December 2010 Southern Living
To turn these chocolate soufflés into red velvet soufflés, just add a tablespoon of red food coloring to the batter.  That seemed like an awful lot of food coloring just to make something “red velvet” rather than just plain ol’ chocolate, so I forewent the dye.  You are the captain of your own ship, though, so if you really hanker for red soufflés, then dye away!

1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons sugar
4oz bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped
5 large eggs, divided
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
powdered sugar
whipped sour cream (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease bottom and sides of 6 8oz ramekins with butter, then sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons sugar. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler.  Stir in 4 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, milk and vanilla extract.

3. Beat 5 egg whites and salt and high speed until foamy.  Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat the egg whites into submission (or until stiff peaks form).
4. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, one-third at a time.

5. Spoon batter into ramekins and run thumb around the edges of the mixture to create a shallow indentation (this apparently helps the soufflés rise– and there is nothing more disappointing than a flat soufflé!).

6.  Bake for 20-24 minutes until soufflés rise and set.

Whipped Sour Cream
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Beat together all ingredients at high speed with a hand mixer until lightly whipped and pourable.

Drizzle the soufflés with the whipping cream and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “(5-9) Thanksgiving in January

  1. […] oil 3 cups shredded turkey 2 cloves garlic, minced* Salt to taste 1 cup black beans, smashed 1 cup cranberry sauce 1 chipotle pepper, minced 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 cup Mexican cheese […]

  2. […] cup green peas, cooked 1 carrot, shredded 2 tablespoons fresh parsley Salt & Pepper Piecrust Gravy, […]

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