Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Thanksgiving Recipe Post

Thanksgiving Recipes (that are good)

I post these recipes every year at Thanksgiving. They're so good that the turkey will become incidental (lies, lies, lies). Here at Chez Dotty, we don't eat canned vegetables with fried canned onions on top. We just can't. It's not allowed. It's a violation of some law I cast in stone when the kids were little. Frozen peas, they're okay. Canned peas. Not okay. The list goes on and frequently makes no sense. It's not that we're such enormous food snobs that we don't eat this stuff at someone else's table, because we do, so just in case I ever don't cook Thanksgiving dinner in the future, I'm up for the canned beans combo dish. But, if you feel like trying something outside your normal repertoire and if you like some flavor surprises, try one of these.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with
Maple Syrup and Chipotles

adapted from Bobby Flay, Bolo and Mesa Grill

This recipe is fantastic and fortunately, or unfortunately, a friend is bringing her own Sweet Potato surprise to our gathering this year. I love this one and usually add more chipotles than called for. I like the way the smokey and spicy heat of the chiles tangos with the sweetness of the potatoes. This can be made a day or so ahead of time, put in a gratin dish, dotted with butter and reheated at the annointed time at 350 'til hot. Yield 6 to 8 servings. Most people don't eat huge quantities, so you can stretch this to serve 12 if you have the traditional mashed potatoes with the Thanksgiving meal, as well. I always make a small mashed sweet potato and marshmellow dish for any children joining us (and any adults who still love that wonderfully Elvissy dish).

5 lbs (about 10 medium or 5 large) sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup (the real thing)
3/8 cup creme fraiche (can't be dealing with french accent marks so forgive)
4 tsp purée from canned chipotles (some I mince a bit, too if you want it spicier hotter)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt to taste and some ground black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes on large backing sheet and bake until soft, 35 to 40 minutes for medium potatoes, up to an hour for large.

Or...use a fork and poke some holes into the raw tuber. Wrap in a paper towel and throw in the microwave until soft.

Meanwhile, combine syrup, creme fraiche, chipotle puree, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

When potatoes are tender, remove from oven, slice in half lengthwise. Scoop hot flesh into a potato ricer or food mill, puree into bowl with other ingredients. Stir with rubber spatula to combine. Potatoes should be light and fluffy. Taste for seasoning and if serving immediately, transfer to warm serving bowl. Otherwise pop into the fridge and feel smug that you've done something in advance.

Now onto the Brussel(s) sprouts. For ease of pronunciation, I'll say Brussel sprouts. Some of us have brussel sprouts every Thanksgiving, and some people don't like to even be in the same house where a sprout has been cooked in the last week. We're the former. We like small, round, green things. So, here's a recipe for every person who has ever said, "I hate brussel sprouts." I assure you, if they don't like these, they're philistines or young.

This is for four...we generally have to at least treble this recipe since even the brussel sprouts haters will eat it.

Brussels Sprouts Leaves cooked with
Pancetta and Mirepoix

1 lb. brussel sprouts
2 tbsp. rendered duck fat or olive oil
Mirepoix (dice one small carrot (2 oz or so), 1/2 large stalk of celery (2 oz) and 1/2 yellow onion (3 oz or so)
2 oz. pancetta, thinly sliced, diced
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground white pepper
white wine vinegar

Working with one sprout at a time, remove as many of the outer leaves of each sprout until you reach those firmly attached to the core. Trim the stem end, freeing more leaves and repeat until you reach the dense center. Slice the center thin.

Warm the olive oil or duck fat in a six-quart non-corroding saucepan. Add the mirepoix and pancetta and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, without browning the vegetables, until they have softened. Add the water and the Brussel sprouts leaves, sprinkle with the salt and stir well to combine. Cover the pan and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often until the leaves are tender. Season the leaves with freshly ground pepper, correct for salt and add a dash of vinegar. Serve while the color is still vivid...this is not a dish to make ahead of time. Do the prep earlier, but cook just before serving. It's a good thing to cook while the turkey is being sliced.

Hint: The brussel sprouts take for flippin' ever to prep. I usually do it a day or two before Thanksgiving because doing it on the day is more than I could bear.

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Sauce

So easy, so delicious, it easily trumps any other cranberry relish in my book. I was given this recipe by dear friends, George & Kathleen Malone, formerly of Milwaukee, WI, then Apalachicola, FL and now Asheville, NC. People either love it or hate it. Dotty's family loves it.

2 cups raw cranberries
1 small onion (not tiny like a pickling onion, but not huge like a vidalia)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp white horseradish (prepared) I generally use double the amount the recipe calls for

Grind the onion and cranberries together in a food processor or blender. Pulse and stop before it turns into mush.
Add the other ingredients and mix well. Put in a plastic container and freeze.
One hour before servicing, move to the refrigerator to soften. It always takes me longer. I take it out of the freezer at least four hours before dinner. And THAT'S IT! Let someone else bring the favorite relish, but watch which one people try...a small amount at first and then great dollops on their plate. A wise cook doubles this recipe.

And now the history...Susan Stamberg, former co-host of NPR's "All Things Considered" used to recite this recipe on air every Thanksgiving, giving full credit to her mother. Turns out her mother copied it from an old Craig Claiborne column in the NY Times. Whoever claims it, few are neutral about this wonderfully Pepto Bismally,shocking pink, strongish relish. We love it. If you have young children who don't like horseradish, put a little aside for them without the horseradish. If we're coming to dinner, put lots more horseradish in it.



Post a Comment

<< Home