.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Menu and Recipes

Thanksgiving is my favorite non-Church holiday. We usually have a big brunch on Thanksgiving, then have to feed the children lunch anyway and get sidetracked dealing with that in the middle of all the cooking for dinner. So, this year, we are actually planning for lunch! Can you imagine?

I will be linking to or posting the recipes for most of these in the next week, so please keep checking back.


Pepper & Sausage Brunch Strata


Cream of Onion Soup
Caesar Salad made by my MIL

Relish Tray:

Mixed Olives
Hot Italian Giardinera
Pickled Sweet Hot Peppers
Bread and Butter Pickles
Dill Pickles
Chex Mix
Deviled Eggs from my MIL


Herb Roasted Turkey
Bourbon Gravy (I'm making extra turkey stock from roasted turkey legs this weekend for the gravy and dressing)
Wild Rice Dressing
Bread & Cornbread Dressing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Horseradish Relish made by our children's godparents
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans
Sweet Potato Rolls
Corn & Pepper Pudding

Wine of various sorts
Mexican Coca Cola in glass bottles made with real sugar that you can get at Cash and Carry
We're not serving it this year, but this Eggnog is the best we've ever had and all we make now.

Flaky Butter Crust
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Cranberry Cherry Pie
Nantucket Cranberry Pie
Apple Pie
Gingerbread with Sweetened Whipped Vanilla Cream made by Alexander

I have a particular order in which I bake the pies. The pumpkin and cranberry cherry pies get baked first, as they require the highest oven temperature, then the Nantucket cranberry pies and apple pies, then the chocolate pecan pies. Alexander makes his gingerbread in the morning on Thanksgiving while we are doing other prep work.


Turkey Sandwiches with Chipotle Mayonnaise and/or Celery Seed Dressing
Turkey Tetrazzini
Leftover Casserole
After Thanksgiving Soup

Pepper & Sausage Brunch Strata

Start preparing this at least a day before you want to serve it. I get the bread ready the morning before I make it and put it together the night before, then bake first thing in the morning. This is a good way to feed a lot of people. I make a pan that is 11" X 15" to feed everyone.

1 loaf bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and left out to dry
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (see my recipe for making your own)
1 very large red onion, peeled and diced
1 pound mixed peppers, sliced (or a bag of frozen mixed sliced peppers)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
12 eggs
2 cups rich, whole milk
freshly ground pepper
hot sauce to serve

Grease baking pan and put bread cubes in it.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook and crumble the sausage until it is starting to brown and the fat renders. Add onions and cook until the onions are translucent, add peppers and garlic and cook until peppers are soft.

Layer the vegetables and sausage over the bread cubes. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.

Whisk together eggs, milk and ground pepper until completely blended and pour carefully over the bread and vegetables. Press down with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure all the bread is soaked. Cover with foil and refrigerate until the morning.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake, covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes to brown a little. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then cut and serve with hot sauce of your choice.

Cream of Onion Soup

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups of whole milk
1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
chives (optional)

In a large saucepan, cook the onions in butter over medium low heat, until they are very limp and soft, but not brown. Add flour and stir to combine and brown the flour very slightly, 3-5 minutes. Stir in thyme, mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Slowly add milk, making a thinner and thinner paste as you stir constantly to combine all the milk with the onion mixture. Stir well, add sherry and cover and cook another 10-15 minutes over lowest possible heat. Stir it from the bottom every few minutes. It will become thick and creamy. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Garnish with snipped chives if desired.

Herb Roasted Turkey

15-20 pound turkey
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 lemon, halved
6-8 sprigs fresh rosemary, remove needles from all but two, chop needles
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Remove any giblets from the cavity of your bird. Make a quick broth from the giblets to use in addition to any drippings or stock you have. Rinse and dry the turkey and place in your roasting pan.

Rub entire turkey, inside and out, between the leg and body, wing and body, with salt and pepper. Using your hand, loosen the skin over the breast and stuff with chopped rosemary, getting as far around the bird as you can. If you have extra sprinkle it over the bird.

Toss the onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey, sprinkle the entire turkey with the juice from the lemon and put either one or both halves of the lemon in the cavity as well, stuff the two whole sprigs of rosemary into the cavity.

Let turkey rest an hour or so, to bring it closer to room temperature (they cook faster and more uniformly if you do so).

Roast in whatever manner makes you happy. I use a high heat method, putting the rack in the lowest position and placing the turkey in the oven legs first to cook the dark meat faster. For our 20 pound turkey, I will roast at 500 degrees and start checking the meat at two and a half hours. When the juices run clear from the thigh and the skin is nicely browned, it is finished.

Bourbon Gravy

We like gravy. We make a lot of it. We usually make about 12-16 cups of it. This recipe is a ratio and method, you can make as much or as little as you want.

For every cup of liquid you need one tablespoon of fat and one tablespoon of flour. I will list this recipe as though it were for four cups of liquid and let you do the math.

1 cup bourbon (or broth or water)
1/4 cup fat (some combination of turkey fat and butter is what I use)
1/4 cup flour
4 cups hot drippings and deglazing liquid from turkey (if you do not have enough drippings, augment with turkey stock you have made ahead of time or, failing that, chicken stock or broth)
thyme (dried or fresh)

Remove your turkey from the roasting pan (you cannot use the foil pans to deglaze, so you may lose some of the yummy fond and pan juices if you use one) to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil. Pour out pan juices into a measuring cup, de-fat, reserving enough fat for the gravy.

Place the roasting pan across two burners (either the right side or the left side, not across the front, for instance), and turn the heat to medium. Pour in the bourbon and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits of skin and fat and loosen the caramelized juices from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid reduces a bit and you have most of the stuff from the bottom. Pour liquid into the bowl with the pan juices and/or stock.

Place roasting pan back on the heat and pour in turkey fat, with additional butter to make enough fat if necessary, to melt and add flour, stirring constantly. Allow to brown slightly, then very slowly pour in pan drippings, deglazing liquid and any additional stock. You will essentially be making a thinner and thinner paste if you do this slowly enough.

Add thyme to your taste (I use a tablespoon or more for ours) and cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens a little less than your liking, it will thicken a little more off the heat. Taste for salt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into gravy boats and serve.

Bread & Cornbread Dressing

12 tablespoons butter
3 large onions, finely diced
6 stalks celery, finely sliced
4 cups crumbled cornbread (I make some up the day before)
4 cups cubed stale bread that has been left to get dry (I use a mix of white, whole wheat and rye)
1 bunch parsley, finely minced
1 cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
leaves from 6 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme
turkey or chicken broth to moisten lightly
salt and pepper to taste

Melt 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook until soft. Add cornbread and bread cubes and stir to distribute vegetables and butter evenly. Add 4 remaining tablespoons of butter to the pan, along with the parsley, sage, rosemary ad thyme. Mix well. Moisten with turkey broth until it is the consistency you like and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put dressing in a buttered casserole dish and bake, covered, at 375 until well heated, about 20 - 25 minutes. Serve.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is another general recipe. I make what looks like enough, keep adding things until they taste right.

at least 1 large potato per person plus about 5 more, if you have small potatoes, double this, scrubbed and peeled and quartered (honestly, I probably use 10 pounds of potatoes each year for this)
at least 1 large head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and left whole
at least 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
at least 1 pint heavy cream
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
garlic granules (optional, if your garlic isn't strong enough for your liking)

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes, covered. Don't trust a knife, because it will pierce the potato much more easily. In the last 10-15 minutes, toss in the garlic cloves to cook and soften.

Drain potatoes and place pan of potatoes back on heat, at low to medium low, to dry them out a touch and start mashing them. Add the butter and mash that in. If it seems like you need more, add more. Pour in cream, little by little, and mash that in too. Most recipes say to warm the cream first, but I don't. I just keep the potatoes on low heat while I do it.

Taste for salt and season as desired. I add lots of pepper. Some people use white pepper so the color doesn't show, but none of us cares about that. If it doesn't taste garlicky enough for you, add some garlic granules. Taste again. Serve in a warmed bowl with a pat of butter on top.

Corn & Pepper Pudding

I've been tweaking this recipe a little, so if it is different than what you remember, that is why.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups milk
1 pound corn kernels (I'm using the roasted corn from Trader Joe's)
1 pound mixed peppers, chopped
1/2 cup roasted, peeled green chiles, diced (canned is fine)
6 eggs
2 cups grated cheddar (or a mix of cheddar and pepper jack)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While oven is preheating, melt butter in the oven in a 4 quart casserole dish. Pull it out before it browns.

In a large bowl mix remaining ingredients well. Pour into casserole dish and bake 40 to 45 minutes, until just set and starting to brown around the edges.

Flaky Butter Crust

This makes two crusts. It is the best pie crust ever.

2 1/2 cups pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
16 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup ice cold water (add up to two tablespoons more, one at a time, if necessary)

You can whip this up really fast in the food processor, but since I make it in gigantic quantities for Thanksgiving, I mix it in a huge bowl by hand. Literally. I whisk up the flour, salt and baking powder, then rub in the butter with my fingers.

Mix flour, salt and baking powder either with a whisk or for about 20 seconds in the food processor. Add butter and rub through flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with pea sized pieces of butter dispersed through it. Alternatively, pulse 10 times in food processor, if you are making a small batch.

Add water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix (or pour into FP and pulse until mixture comes together) and knead a little with your hands (very lightly) to pull dough together. Add additional water, one tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is not cohesive enough to form a dough when pinched.

On a floured surface, cut dough into two pieces and flatten into 1/2 inch thick discs. Wrap well in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour or up to overnight. Roll out on a lightly floured surface as you normally would.

Pumpkin Pie

This started as my husband's maternal grandmother's recipe. He had already changed it by the time I met him, but we've changed it even more over the years.

1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin, pureed and strained if necessary, or canned
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (up to 2 teaspoons if you are using standard grocery store spices, we use really strong Vietnamese cinnamon)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (1 1/2 if you are using pre-ground)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until center is set and crust is lightly browned.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

This is basically a candy bar in a crust. I used to use corn syrup in this, but have since found a way to make it with all brown sugar.

2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecan halves
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 40-45 minutes or until center is set and crust is lightly browned.

Cranberry Cherry Pie

I picked up this recipe from some ad for canned cherry pie filling. I always wanted to make it with real cherries and not the canned junk, so I finally redid the recipe. We use frozen cherries that we thaw and the juice from them. I often make this with an almond crust, but usually at Thanksgiving, I make it with a standard pastry crust. You will need two crusts for this pie, a lattice crust on top is beautiful, but not necessary.

3 cups frozen cherries, thawed and juice reserved
2 cups cranberries, washed and picked over
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (also known as starch, or grind up instant tapioca)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix cherries, cranberries, sugar, corn starch and almond extract. Whisk juice and tapioca together until tapioca dissolves. Mix into cherry cranberry mixture.

Pour into prepared pie crust. Cover with top crust, cut slits to vent crust (or make a lattice crust) and flute edges. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and filling is bubbling and thick.

Apple Pie

This is what I have come up with as our idea of a perfect apple pie: It tastes more like apple than spice, with a clear flavor.

8 large apples (mix sweet and tart, softer cooking apples and those that retain their shape, if you can), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn starch
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
unsalted butter to top filling
Double pastry crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix apples, sugar, corn starch, nutmeg and lemon zest in a large bowl. Pour into prepared pie crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, seal, flute edges and cut slashes to release steam.

Bake in center of oven for 40-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.


I couldn't find the recipe that we normally use, so cobbled this together from various recipes online. We liked it better than our other recipe. Alexander did everything to do with making it and it was enjoyed by all of us.

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup honey
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 cups pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
powdered sugar
lightly sweetened cream, flavored with vanilla and whipped to serve

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan.

Combine butter, water, molasses, honey and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Fold into liquid mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the cake feels finished. Cool, then sift powdered sugar over the top and serve with whipped cream. This is better after a day or two of being wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature.

Celery Seed Dressing & Chipotle Mayonnaise for Turkey Sandwiches

For the Celery Seed Dressing, mix together:

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

For the Chipotle Mayonnaise, mix together:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced

Turkey Tetrazzini

1 package fettucini
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
4 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
3 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 cups chopped turkey
1 cup peas
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
salt to taste (very little, if at all, as the pasta, broth, cheese, and turkey are all salted)
freshly ground pepper to taste
a little freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (zest lemon and reserve for garnish)
1/2 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
finely chopped parsley for garnish
reserved lemon zest for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a large casserole. Start a large pot of water, well salted, boiling.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat and cook celery and onions in it until wilted and just beginning to brown. Whisk in cream cheese quickly, so as not to burn, reducing heat if necessary. Sprinkle flour over mixture and whisk to combine. Cook a couple minutes to start to brown flour. Slowly whisk in broth, a little at a time, until completely combined. Stir in cream. Allow to cook and thicken, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat for about 8 - 10 minutes. Stir sherry and 1/2 a cup parmesan in and stir to combine and melt. Remove from heat. Taste to season with salt and pepper and add a little nutmeg.

While sauce cooks, add pasta (you may wish to break the pasta in half) to boiling water and cook until slightly undercooked, less than al dente. Drain pasta and pour into prepared casserole.

Pour sauce over pasta along with turkey and peas. Sprinkle lemon juice over mixture and mix in the casserole.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and mix with panko and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Sprinkle over the top evenly and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until mixture is bubble and topping is lightly browned.

Mix chopped parsley and lemon zest and sprinkle over dish before serving.

Leftover Casserole

One year, Rich made up a casserole with the leftovers from our Thanksgiving meal, which turned out remarkably good. We now do it with the bits and pieces that are left over after the sandwiches, the one other turkey meal and the carcass has been made into soup.

Take all the last bits of brussels sprouts, wild rice dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy. Stir it all together in a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees until bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. Serve for your last Thanksgiving hurrah of the weekend. If you have any rolls left, serve them with this for a nice meal for your family once everyone else has gone home.

Labels: , , , ,

Chipotle mayonnaise on turkey sandwiches sounds great! Every year I have turkey enchiladas that use chipotle chiles and I freeze the leftover; I should save some to mix into mayonnaise to have with turkey. Thanks for the idea! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?