Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

So I have been meaning to do a post about great Thanksgiving recipes for some time now.  Only I haven't had the time to do so.  I really wanted to test out a few more recipes before doing this post, but unfortunately, that isn't going to happen.  So this post will be restricted to only those dishes that I have made for Thanksgiving in the past that I have really enjoyed (along with a list of other dishes that I would make for an ideal Thanksgiving feast).  First on my list is this Sourdough Bread Stuffing.  Every Thanksgiving table needs stuffing and this stuffing remains my favorite.  I have tried all sorts of other stuffings - including cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing/dressing, Stovetop stuffing, and stuffing with Italian sausage.  I have never tried a wild rice stuffing, so I might add that to the menu the next time I am preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd.  If you're not a lover of brussels sprouts, this brussels sprouts dish might even convince you.  I got my family to eat an entire platter-ful, which is unheard of.  My aunt even asked for the recipe!  And last, but not least, there is this gravy - I love the hint of the richness and depth of flavor that the red wine produces.  Sometimes I throw in some fresh herbs, but I've done it before without any herbs and it was nice too.

Since it's just Alex and I for Thanksgiving this year, we won't be doing a whole Thanksgiving spread.  I was thinking we might make something completely not traditional, because how depressing would it be to cook an entire turkey for two people?  Now if we were planning a feast (and time and oven space were no object), this is the menu I would propose in addition to the recipes that I have included down below: Salted Roast Turkey with Herbs and Shallot-Dijon Gravy, Real Creamed Corn Pudding, Cranberry Sauce with Port and Cinnamon, Sourdough Bread Stuffing (recipe below), Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Wild Mushrooms, Moroccan Arugula Salad with Beets and Ricotta Salata, Kale, Butternut Squash, and Pancetta Pie and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce.  And for appetizers I would make Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham, Mustard, and Honey, Warm Goat Cheese Toasts with Rosemary, Walnuts, and Honey, kale chips, and some candied nuts.  Doesn't that sound delicious?

Recipe after the jump!

Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Available on
By Dave Lieberman

1-pound loaf sourdough bread
8 tablespoons butter
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick in both directions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and beginning to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add chicken broth to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake in the center of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Baby Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Pecans
November 2006

1/2 cup pecan halves, cut crosswise into thirds

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds baby Brussels sprouts, trimmed (or regular sprouts, quartered or halved depending on size)
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread pecan pieces in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt to nuts and toss until butter is melted and nuts are coated.

While nuts bake, cook Brussels sprouts in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain sprouts and pat dry.

Melt remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to moderately high, then add sprouts and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in patches, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir in pecans and serve.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Available on

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour
4 cups defatted turkey stock, warmed
1/2 cup dry red wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cup turkey pan drippings
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, watching carefully so it does not burn. Add the flour slowly, whisking briskly until bubbles form and the mixture thickens and turns golden brown. Add the stock and wine, whisking until the flour-butter roux is well blended. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until no flour taste remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (At this point, the mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
To finish the gravy, strain the pan juices/drippings from a roasted turkey into a fat separator and pour the defatted drippings into the gravy mixture, stirring to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings; if the gravy is too thin, increase the heat and reduce the gravy for several minutes to the desired thickness. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat and serve.

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