Culinaria Thankgiving Feast 2010

Here’s what’s on the menu:

For starters:
Parsnip Soup w/ Truffle Oil
Pair with:

The main course:
Brined Spice-Cured Roast Turkey
Pair with:

On the side:

  • Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Pine Nuts
  • Cranberry Pinot Noir Relish
  • Red-Wine Braised Cabbage and Onions
  • Roasted Sweet-Potatoes Spears with Turkey Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Sausage Chestnut Stuffing

For dessert:
Delicata Squash Tart
Pair with:

Below you’ll find recipes for beautiful basics: Brined Spice-Cured Roast Turkey, Cranberry Pinot Noir Relish, and Sausage Chestnut Stuffing.

For the whole shebang, subscribe to Culinaria Cooking School’s monthly newsletter: We’ll provide you with a page of every recipe and a word.doc attachment to make it easy for you to download. Happy Thanksgiving!

Parsnip Soup w/ Truffle Oil
Serves 6-8

What you’ll need:
2-3 T. unsalted butter
1-2 lbs. parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 medium leek, washed well and chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small stalk celery, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 cups heavy cream, or low-fat sour cream, or yogurt, as an option
salt & pepper, to taste
finely grated nutmeg, to taste
2 T. white truffle oil

Here’s how:

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and leek and saute until translucent. Add in the parsnips, carrot, and celery with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable have softened.

2. Add in the chicken stock or vegetable stock and the bay leaf and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fully cooked and tender.

3. Puree the soup in a blender and strain through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Add in the cream and salt and pepper and nutmeg. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for an additional five minutes to cook the cream. Serve in warmed bowls and drizzle a teaspoon or two of truffle oil on top.

Brined Spice-Cured Roast Turkey

Culinaria Cooking Tip: By soaking the turkey in a brine mixture, it will be slightly pinker, have a moist texture and spicier flavor than a standard roast bird. Make sure to reserve the neck and giblets for another use, and allow for the turkey to cure for about 24 hours or at least overnight.

Here’s how:

1 18-lb. turkey

Brown Butter: 2 sticks unsalted butter, 20 fresh sage leaves

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer, scraping up any solids that stick to the bottom of the pan, until the butter turns a deep tan color, about 6 minutes; do not let the butter burn. Remove the saucepan form the heat and stir in the sage leaves and let steep for 8-10 minutes.
2. Using a fork, remove and discard the sage leaves. Pour the butter into a glass dish or container, cover, and refrigerate until solid. Can be made 2 days ahead. Before using, let the butter soften to room temperature until pliable, at least 30-45 minutes before.

Spice Rub: 2 T. fennel seeds, 2 large dried red chiles, 1 T. whole allspice berries, 1 T. whole black peppercorns

1. In a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds, chile, allspice berries, and peppercorns over moderately high heat, tossing frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let the spices cool, then transfer to a spice grinder or mortar & finely grind them. (The spice mixture can be kept, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Brine: 1 cup coarse or kosher salt, 2 cups sugar (plus 2 T.), 3 bay leaves, 12 T. thyme (either dry or fresh – more if using dry), 8 cloves, 2 tsp. whole allspice berries coarsely cracked, 1 t. crushed juniper berries

1. In a very large stock pot, combine the ingredients for the cured turkey (without the bird itself) with 2 gallons of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Pour the cooled brine into a large container, add the turkey, breast side down and let stand overnight and up to 2, in the refrigerator.

3. On Thanksgiving Day: remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 500F. Season the turkey inside the body cavity (don=t forget the neck cavity in front) with salt and the some of the ASpice Mixture@ made above. Stuff the bird and the neck cavity with the stuffing of your choice. Remember not to overstuff the cavity or it will explode!

4. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the breast without tearing it. Evenly spread the softened brown butter under the skin. Close the neck with either toothpicks or metal barding needles.

5. In a large roasting pan, set the turkey breast side up on a rack with chopped vegetables — including onion, carrot, celery in a ratio of 3:2:1. Sprinkle the remaining Aspice rub all over the bird and loosely tie the legs together with kitchen string (cotton only). Roast the turkey for 20 minutes at 500F, then lower the heat to 350F, cover the turkey loosely with foil and continue roasting for about 4 hours, basting frequently, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165F to 170F when inserted into the inner thigh.

6. Add chicken stock or water to the pan during cooking if juices evaporate. Once done, transfer the turkey to a carving board and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before carving.

7. Make the gravy. Pass the pan juices through a coarse sieve or strainer into a medium saucepan, pressing down on the softened vegetables to work them through the strainer; make sure to save the juices. Skim the fat from the pan. Next, place the roasting pan over 2 burners on moderately high heat. Add 12 cups of water and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Lower the heat to medium and simmer stirring constantly, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir this mixture into the pan juices saved earlier, and heat to simmering.

8. If needed, thicken the gravy with 2 rounded T. of flour, mixed with 2 T. of water. To avoid lumps in the flour, mix the water and flour in a jar with a lid. Shake well to form a slurry, then add this mixture to the gravy and let it simmer for at least 3-4 minutes before serving.

Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Pine Nuts
Serves 4

What you’ll need:
6 slices center cut bacon, or pancetta, chopped
1 T. rosemary, minced
2 T. unsalted butter
18 oz. Brussels sprouts
2 shallots, finely minced
1 large Gala or Fuji apple, peeled and cubed.
1 t. cayenne pepper, more to taste
4 T. toasted pine nuts

1. Place the pine nuts on a sheetpan and place in a 350F oven for about 5-8 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully as they burn easily. Remove from the oven when lightly browned and cool to room temperature.

2. In a medium sized heavy skillet, cook the bacon over low heat until almost all of the fat has been rendered and the bacon is still soft. Pour off the excess, then add the rosemary and cook over a low heat until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside. You should barely hear the sizzle. If the bacon cooks to fast or at too high a heat, it will become bacon bits.

3. Prepare the Brussels sprouts – remove any wilted or brown leaves. Trim the very bottom with a paring knife and make a small “X” in the bottom by inserting the knife tip into the bottom about 3” or so.

4. Cook the Brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and place in ice water to halt the cooking process. Once cooled, slice the sprouts in half lengthwise and set aside

5. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced shallots and cook until translucent, then apple first and cook over medium heat until tender, but not mushy. Add the Brussels sprouts, the bacon w/ rosemary and heat until the sprouts are warmed through. Add the toasted pin nuts and the cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Red-Wine Braised Cabbage and Onions
Serves 8-10

What you’ll need:
3 oz. unsalted butter (6 TBSP.)
2 red onions, halved & cross-cut, into thin half-moon slices – use shallots as an option
3 lbs. red cabbage
2 cups red wine
2 cups water
3 cup red-wine vinegar
3 cups balsamic vinegar
1 medium firm sweet apple, such as Gala, Fuji, or Honey Crisp
1 T. sugar
3 tsp. salt
10 peppercorns
2 cloves
1 bay leaf

Here’s how:

1. Heat butter in an 8-10 qt. heavy pot over medium heat until melted and the foam subsides, then cook the onion until it turns translucent, add the cabbage, cooking until wilted and soft (stirring frequently), about 20-30 minutes.

2. Next add the wine, 2 the water, both vinegars, apple, sugar, and salt and bring to a low boil.

3. Place the peppercorns, bay leaf, and cloves in a cheesecloth and tie with a string. Add to the cabbage mixture, then cover mixture with a round of parchment and cover pot with a lid. Reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is very tender, about 12 hours. Occasionally, check the cabbage and add the remaining 2 cup water as needed.

4. Remove cheesecloth and discard. Check seasonings and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Roasted Sweet-Potatoes Spears with Turkey Bacon Vinaigrette
Serves 8-10

What you’ll need:
4 lbs. medium sweet potatoes (about 6-7)
3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb. sliced turkey bacon, cut crosswise into 2-inch wide strips
2 cup olive oil (approximately)
1 ¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. black pepper
3-4 lrg. scallions, thinly sliced, reserve greens separately for garnish at the end
3 TBSP. Sherry vinegar
1 TBSP. water

Here’s how:

1. Place oven rack into upper third of the oven and preheat to 450-degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut each lengthwise into 6-8 spears. Cut the spears in half crosswise, if desired, then arrange in a single layer in a large (187” x 12”) shallow baking pan or on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper.

2. Cook turkey bacon in a large skillet over low to medium heat, stirring until browned and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain

3. Brush the 2 cup olive oil onto potato spears and toss to coat. Sprinkle spears with 2 – ¾ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper and roast uncovered, turning every 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender and edges are lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Red pepper flakes can also be added to give the potatoes a little kick about ½ tsp – optional.

4. Return bacon to clean skillet, then add a little olive oil and heat over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Stir in white part of scallions and remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, water, and remaining 2 tsp. salt and remaining 3 tsp. pepper and pour over potato spears. Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve warm.