Tidewater Kitchen - November 2010

 

A Memorable Thanksgiving
by
Pamela Meredith-Doyle

Thanksgiving is a holiday surrounded by memories and traditions of hospitality and giving grateful thanks. And, of course, don’t forget all the delicious home-cooked meals!
Thanksgiving, to me, is a time to be thankful for our health, personal accomplishments, and for the gifts of kindness that we have given throughout the year to help others. It is also a time when stress can play a role. There is a lot of cooking and entertaining to do. Try to make things simple for yourself with some advance planning.
Read your recipes all the way through and make sure you prepare a complete shopping list. Try to do as much ahead of time as possible. You want to be able to spend time with your family and guests.
Here are some of my favorites that have been passed down through the generations of my family. I will start, however, with a chart that explains turkey cooking times. The turkey is a critical part of the meal. It is important that you don’t over- or under-cook it.

TURKEY COOKING TIMES
Below are cooking times (in hours) for a turkey when cooked in a 325° oven. A turkey is considered fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) registers 180°.

Weight Unstuffed Stuffed
10-18lb. 3-3½ 3¾-4½
18-22lb. 3½-4 4-5
22-24lb. 4-4½ 4½-5½
24-29lb. 4½-5 5½-6¼

CARVING A TURKEY
Begin carving the turkey by removing each leg. Arrange the turkey breast-side-up on a cutting board. Steady the turkey with a carving fork and cut the skin between the thigh and breast.
Next, using a large knife, press the thigh outward to find the hip joint. Slice down through the joint and remove the leg. (Alternatively, you can grasp the leg, twist it at the joint and remove).
Cut between the thigh bone and drumstick bone to divide the leg into one thigh piece and one drumstick.
To carve the drumstick, steady it with a carving fork and cut a thick slice of meat from one side of the drumstick along the bone. Next, turn the drumstick over so that the cut side faces down and cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat, turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat.
To slice the thigh, place it flat side down on the cutting board. Steady the thigh with a carving fork and cut parallel to the bone.
Before the breast is carved, the wing must be removed. Slice diagonally down through the bottom edge of the breast toward the wing. Using a knife as an aid, press the wing out to find the shoulder joint, cut through the joint and remove the wing.
To carve the breast meat, hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone. Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice. Continue until you have removed all of the meat, and then repeat on the other side.

ROAST TURKEY with CORNBREAD STUFFING
Prepare the stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, but do not stuff the turkey. Either bake the stuffing in a casserole dish at 325° or stuff the turkey just before you put it in the oven.

1 12-14 lb. fresh, free-range turkey
(save the neck and giblets for the gravy)
1 lemon, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sweet Hungarian paprika
1 recipe cornbread stuffing

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before you are ready to put it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Wipe the turkey with a damp cotton cloth, inside and out. Rub the cavity of the turkey with the lemon half, garlic and salt.
If you are stuffing the turkey, fill the cavity, but do not overpack. This can cause the stuffing not to cook properly. Secure the skin flap over the opening with turkey lacers or skewers if necessary. Brush the turkey with butter and sprinkle the outside with salt, pepper and paprika.
Place the turkey breast-side-down on a roasting rack and place it in the oven. Have the oven rack adjusted to the lowest level.
Follow the directions on the cooking chart for either the stuffed or unstuffed turkey. Make sure you baste the turkey with the pan juices at least an hour before it is finished cooking. Make sure the temperature registers 180° in the thickest part of the thigh.
Allow the turkey to rest for fifteen minutes, carve and serve. Don’t forget to remove the stuffing to a serving bowl. This size turkey will serve 10 to 12.

SOUTHWESTERN CORNBREAD STUFFING
1 recipe buttermilk cornbread
6 T. butter
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
1-1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
1 T. smoked chipotle
2 t. dried sage
1-1/2 T. dried oregano
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-1/2 cups crushed corn chips (such as Fritos)
1-1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1-1/4 cups canned cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 325°. Cut cornbread into 4 equal pieces. Crumble 3 pieces onto a large baking sheet (reserving remaining piece for another use). Bake until slightly dry, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a very large bowl.
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, smoked chipotle, sage and oregano. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the cornbread. Mix in the cilantro, corn chips and corn kernels. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The stuffing can be made to this point a day ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator.
To the cornbread mixture, add the 3 eggs and mix well.
You may stuff your turkey at this time or just bake the stuffing in a pan. To bake in a pan, preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 13” x 9” x 2” baking dish. Mix 1-1/4 cups cream-style corn into the stuffing. Transfer to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until it begins to brown, about 20 minutes more.

BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD
You can make this tender cornbread a day ahead. It is used in the southwestern cornbread stuffing recipe, but it is also great on its own.

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
6 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, diced
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400°. Butter the bottom of a 9” x 9” x 2” baking pan. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a food processor or with a wooden spoon. Add butter and cut in, using on/off pulse with a food processor or two forks, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat buttermilk and eggs in a large bowl to blend. Add cornmeal mixture to egg mixture and blend. Transfer to the prepared pan.
Bake until the cornbread is light golden brown on top and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Serves 12.

CHICKEN or TURKEY GRAVY
Make the turkey stock with the neck and giblets from the turkey. Sauté the neck and giblets first, and then add them to a pot with water, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Allow to simmer for at least two hours while the turkey roasts.

3-4 T. turkey fat or unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
5 T. all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken or turkey stock, heated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

After removing the turkey from the roasting pan, skim off the fat from the pan juices, reserving 3 to 4 T. of fat. Add the water to the remaining pan juices and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Strain into a bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the reserved fat until it is bubbly. Add the flour and stir rapidly for a few seconds to cook the four. Add the strained pan juices and 3-1/2 cups of stock. Cook, while rapidly stirring, until smooth and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining stock as needed to achieve the desired gravy consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a warmed gravy boat and serve.

PUMPKIN SOUP
You can make the stock for this soup up to 2 months in advance and freeze it. You can also make this recipe up through the pumpkin puree a day ahead. This is definitely a time-saver on Thanksgiving day!

1 5-6 lb. pumpkin
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 lg. yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1-1/2 cups light cream
2 T. grated orange zest
2 T. fresh orange juice
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/8 t. grated nutmeg
1/8 t. ground ginger
2 T. fresh chives, finely chopped
Sea salt and white pepper

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out any strings and seeds. With a sturdy knife, cut away the hard peel. Coarsely chop the flesh for about 8 cups.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to turn golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and chopped pumpkin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 15 to 30 minutes.
In small batches, puree the soup in a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, or in a blender. Return the puree to the pan and stir in the cream, orange zest, orange and lemon juices, nutmeg and ginger.
Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Pour into a warmed tureen or individual bowls and garnish with chives.

GRANNIE ANNIE’S HOLIDAY CRANBERRY RELISH
This can be made up to a month in advance and brought to room temperature before serving.

1 pkg. (3 oz.) red raspberry Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 12-oz. pkg. raw cranberries
1 orange, cut up (using most of the rind)
1/2 cup sugar

Mix the boiling water with the Jell-O mix, then add the cold water and stir.
In a blender or food processor, grind together the cranberries, orange and sugar. Add this mixture to the partially set Jell-O.
Put in pint jars. This makes 2-1/2 pints and will keep for weeks in the refrigerator.

CRANBERRY HORSERADISH RELISH
This is excellent with turkey, chicken, lamb or beef. It can be made up to five days ahead.

1 16-oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/3 cup prepared horseradish

In a saucepan, heat cranberry sauce to a simmer. Remove from heat and mix in the horseradish. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

CARAMELIZED VEGETABLES
Steam the vegetables up to a day in advance. Leave the skins on the vegetables so that when they are roasted they will take on a beautiful golden color.

1 T. sea salt
1 lb. red potatoes, cleaned and julienned
1 lb. carrots, cleaned and julienned
1 lb. parsnips, cleaned and julienned
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Fill a pot of water 3/4 full and bring to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and add the potatoes. Bring back to a boil and reduce heat slightly. Cook for five minutes, then drain well. Repeat this process with the carrots and parsnips.
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk until it is smooth. Continue cooking for two minutes and then add the cream. Whisk again and remove mixture from the heat.
Place the vegetables in a 9” x 13” dish. Toss the brown sugar mixture with the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Set this aside, then add the vegetables to the oven when the turkey is done. Roast them until they are golden, about 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve on a platter with the turkey. Serves 8.

MASHED POTATOES SUPREME
10-12 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2/3 cup butter, melted
1 pint sour cream
2 t. salt
dash pepper
1 T. thyme
2 garlic cloves, smashed

Grease a casserole dish. In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with lightly salted water and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender. Check at 10 minutes. Drain.
To keep them firm and flaky, rather than mushy and mealy, drain the potatoes and cover with a folded dish towel and let sit for about 5 minutes. This will give the potatoes a great texture.
Baking potatoes that have been stored longer may become mealy, so they may take more sour cream or the addition of milk.
In a large bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork until most of the lumps are gone. Mix with an electric mixer and add butter, mixing until smooth.
Add the sour cream, salt, pepper, thyme and smashed garlic. Place in the prepared casserole and bake at 350° until hot.
Note: If you make the potatoes the day before, remove potato casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before placing in the oven. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, stir after 15 minutes.

SWEET POTATO SOUFFLÉ
3 medium sweet potatoes
3 T. brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup milk, heated
1/2 t. salt
1-1/2 t. grated lemon rind
3/4 cup shredded coconut
2 cups mini marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional) for topping

Preheat oven to 350°.
Boil sweet potatoes with skins on until knife inserted is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove the skins and mash the potatoes to eliminate lumps.
Cream together the sugar, butter and sweet potatoes. Add the egg yolks and blend. Add the heated milk and salt. Beat until light, then stir in the coconut and lemon. Put into a prepared baking dish and top with marshmallows.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

BROCCOLI-STUFFING CASSEROLE
2 cups water
1/4 cup butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 8-oz. package cornbread stuffing mix
2 T. butter
1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 t. chicken bouillon granules
1-1/2 cups milk
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen broccoli spears

Combine water and 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the stuffing mix. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Spoon the stuffing around the inside edge of a lightly greased 13” x 9” baking dish, leaving a well in the center. Place the broccoli in the center and set aside.
Melt 2 T. butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, whisking until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Stir in bouillon granules. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese, stirring constantly until cheese melts. Spoon over broccoli. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
Let casserole stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
Bake casserole, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serves 8.

FROZEN PUMPKIN MOUSSE TORTE with CARAMEL-PECAN TOPPING
Crust:
3 cups pecans, toasted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 T. butter, melted

Filling:
2-1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
8 large egg yolks
1-1/2 cups canned solid packed pumpkin
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 T. dark rum
1-1/2 t. ground ginger
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg

Topping:
1-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
1 17-oz. jar butterscotch caramel fudge sauce

Crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Finely chop nuts and sugar by hand or food processor. Add butter and blend until moist crumbs form. Press mixture onto bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze for 10 minutes. Bake crust until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Filling: Whisk 1 cup cream, sugar and egg yolks in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until candy thermometer registers 160°, about 6 minutes. Strain into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until cool and slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, corn syrup, rum and spices.
Using the electric mixer, beat remaining 1-1/2 cups cream in a large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Fold cream into pumpkin mixture. Transfer filling into cooled crust, cover and freeze overnight.
Topping: Arrange pecans side by side atop the torte, covering completely. Drizzle 1/2 cup caramel sauce over the top, covering the nuts completely (pan will be filled to the top). Freeze until caramel sets, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Run a sharp knife around the pan sides to loosen the torte. Release pan sides. Stir remaining caramel sauce in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until it is warm. Slice the torte and serve with the remaining sauce. Serves 12.

MOM’S PUMPKIN or SQUASH PIE
1-1/2 cups strained cooked squash or pumpkin (can use as much as 3 cups or 1 16-oz. can)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
1 T. rum (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.
Mix together all ingredients. You can use half milk and half Carnation® milk for a firmer pie if you wish.
Pour the mixture into 2 unbaked pie crusts and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
This recipe will make 2 deep-dish pies.