Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Southwestern Thanksgiving

bobby flay thanksgiving turkey 

Thanksgiving is 4 days away.  Do you know what you are preparing?  I have a few different spreads and this is a truly memorable one that I am making this year.  It breaks from tradition and offers a spicy kick, something my visiting parents are always game for. I miss eating gravy so I have modified the gravy recipe so that we all can enjoy - for the family, with turkey;  for me, with seitan.

Food aside, this really is the time of year to stop and think about what you are thankful for. For me personally, after a rough year, I am thankful to be alive.  What better gift than life? What are you thankful for?

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

2 c fresh squeezed orange juice
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T chopped red onion
1T+ 1t ancho chili powder
3/4 c olive oil
1 T honey
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 ripe bosc pears, peeled, cored and halved
2 T canola oil
20 cups baby mixed greens
1 c toasted pecans
1 c crumbled blue cheese

In a small saucepan, boil orange juice until reduced in half, 12-13 minutes. Pour into a food processor and add vinegar, onion and chili powder. Puree until smooth.  Slowly add the olive oil and honey and continue to puree until combines.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place pears on a baking sheet, cut side down.  Drizzle with canola oil and roast for 7 minutes. Baste the pears with the oil and juices and roast for 7 additional minutes. Turn, baste and cook for another 5 minutes. Let cool and slice each piece into thirds lengthwise.

Place greens in a bowl and toss with 1/4 of the vinaigrette. To serve, place greens on a plate and top with pears. Sprinkle with pecans and crumbled blue cheese.  Drizzle vinaigrette on top.

Serves 10.

Ancho-Maple Glazed Turkey With Garlic-Cilantro Gravy

1 turkey,  about 15 lbs (organic or hormone free)
20 fresh sage leaves
8 T butter
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 c maple syrup
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T ancho chili powder
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 c dry white wine
1/4 c all-purpose flour, with more on hand
5 c vegetable broth, with more on hand
1 head roasted garlic, peeled and mashed
1/4 c chopped cilantro

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Discard neck, giblets and liver. Gently place sage under the skin of the turkey. Tuck wings under and tie legs together. Place turkey in a roasting pan and brush with 2 T butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 15 minutes. Then baste turkey with an additional 2 T butter and roast for 15 more minutes. Baste turkey with 2 T of additional butter and continue roasting, basting occasionally for another 2 hours. {note - please refer to the cooking instructions that come with your turkey.  Plan to cook for an initial 30 minutes as described and for a final 1 hour uncovered. Calculate your best intermediate roasting time; mine happens to be 2 hours, yours may differ)

Whisk together the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, ancho chili powder and a pinch salt and pepper in a bowl.

Remove foil and brush with the glaze.  Roast for a final 1 hour, uncovered, brushing with more glaze at the 30 minute mark. To confirm turkey is fully cooked, pierce legs to ensure that juice runs clear. Cut a small incision in the leg to ensure that the meat is brown. Remove from oven and brush with remaining glaze and cover loosely with foil. Let cool slightly before carving.

For the gravy:

Heat remaining 2 T of butter over medium heat in a saute pan and add the onion, carrot and celery.  Cook until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the wine and 4 c stock and bring to a boil. In a bowl, whisk flour and remaining 1 c broth until there are no lumps.  Add this mixture to the saute pan and whisk.  Bring back to a boil and continue to boil, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.  Check the consistency - if you like thicker gravy, whisk in an additional 1/2 c flour + 1/2c broth and bring to a boil for 3 -4 more minutes. Mash the roasted garlic in a bowl with a fork to create a paste. Strain the gravy into a bowl and stir in garlic paste, salt, pepper and chopped cilantro.

Cornbread-Goat Cheese Stuffing

1 loaf of cornbread (prepare a box mix the day prior)
4 T butter
1 large red onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 c white wine
2 eggs
1 1/2 c vegetable broth
1 c crumbled goat cheese

Break cornbread into large chunks. Place on baking sheet and leave in oven overnight to dry out.

Heat 2 T butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add wine and boil until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Place vegetables in a bowl and let cool. Heat oven to  350 degrees. Rub a 9" x 13" baking dish with remaining butter and set aside. In a large bowl, gently toss cornbread, vegetables, eggs, broth and cheese; spoon mixture into the baking dish. Spray foil with nonstick spray and cover. Bake 15 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serves 10.

Sweet Potatoes With Molasses And Chipotle

6 large sweet potatoes (4.5 lbs), peeled and cubed
8 T butter
1/4 c molasses
1 T minced canned chipotle pepper, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Place sweet potatoes in sauce pan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook 8-10 minutes, until tender. Drain; return to saucepan. Add butter, molasses, and chipotle pepper. Mash mixture with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 10.

Chipotle-Corn Mashed Potatoes


4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
4 T butter
1/2 c cream
2 canned chipotle peppers. minced
salt and pepper to taste

Grill corn over medium high heat, turning often until the kernels are lightly browned and some of them have turned black, about 5 minutes. Remove with tongs and let cool. {If grilling is not an option, cut the kernels off the cobs, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast at 475 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Stir a few times while roasting.} When corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and set aside.

In a stock pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add butter and cream and beat with a mixer. Stir in corn and chipotle pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 10.

Garlic Green Beans With Manchego

2 T olive oil
2 lbs green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed
1/3 c minced garlic
1/4 c dry white wine
1/4 c fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 c shredded Manchego cheese

Pour olive oil into a 12" frying pan or 14" wok over medium-high heat. Add green beans and stir often until tender-crisp and lightly browned. Add garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Add wine, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until liquid boils, 1 minute. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with Manchego.

Serves 10


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Sources: Salad, Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes: In-Style and Bobby Flay; Turkey and Gravy: Adapted from In-Style and Bobby Flay; Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, Sunset Magazine

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