Happy Thanksgiving – Let’s Cook!

Filed in Delaware by on November 22, 2012

I have some time before the teenagers wake up, so I thought I’d try and put up a Thanksgiving foodie thread!  This year I’m trying some new recipes, along with my son’s favorites – since he just returned home from college and deserves some special treatment!

I’m sticking with Turkey as the main course, but having some fun with the side dishes.

Silky Pan Gravy with Cream, Cognac and Thyme

Drippings and vegetables from Roasted Turkey
2 Tbs. Cognac
1/2 cup dry vermouth
2-1/2 cups Turkey Broth
2 tsp. lightly chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Set the roasting pan with the turkey drippings and vegetables over two burners set on medium high. Add the Cognac, vermouth, and 1/2 cup of the turkey broth; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or wooden spatula to loosen the browned bits in the pan, until the liquid comes to a simmer. Strain the contents of the roasting pan through a large sieve and into a large saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cups turkey broth and the thyme to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat and let simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the cream in a small bowl and whisk the flour into the cream to make a smooth paste. Gradually whisk the cream mixture into the turkey broth mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer to thicken the gravy and cook off the raw flour flavor, about 10 minutes. Keep hot until ready to serve.

I made this gravy last year and it really is amazing!

Potato Gratin

2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
3 cups whipping or heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).

Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don’t break up the slices).

When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2-1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don’t want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

Bake in the hot oven until the top is deep golden brown, the cream has thickened, and the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Don’t worry if the dish looks too liquidy at this point; it will set up as it cools a bit. Before serving, let the potatoes cool until they’re very warm but not hot (at least 15 minutes) or serve them at room temperature.

Anything with heavy cream and Gruyère has to be good.  These potatoes are my son’s favorite!

Finally, I’m trying out a new recipe for Brussels Sprouts!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

2 (10-ounce) packages Brussels sprouts
2 ounce piece slab bacon cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and then peel off any loose or damaged leaves from the sprouts. Trim the root end and cut each sprout in half.

Cook the bacon and walnuts in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat until bacon just begins to crisp and walnuts are toasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon and walnuts with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.

Put the pan in the oven and roast the Brussels sprouts for about 30 minutes, add the bacon and walnuts and continue to roast until the sprouts are cooked through and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes more.

I’ll let everyone know how these turn out!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (10)

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  1. Blu Gal in DE says:

    Ooh, foodie thread – you’re talking my language, Pandora!

    I’m doing the roasted brussel sprouts, too. Just doing bacon since my friend who grew the sprouts doesn’t like nuts. I have another recipe from Southern Living that starts with caramalized red onions, slice up the sprouts, add to pan and saute, add chopped toasted pecans. Great way to “hide” the sprouts! No green bean casserole in my house today!

    I have always done the traditional meal – roasted turkey, dressing (hey, my Grannie NEVER stuffed the turkey!), mashed yukon gold tates – Shoprite had Plugra butter on sale, so, very rich mashed tates! Where I veer off the traditional path has been in adding a first course soup. Over the years, I’ve made pumpkin, broccoli cheese (never use gruyere – soup poured into the bowls, by the time I sat down, we had to cut the soup with a knife!), but, the one soup that keeps getting requests is Seafood Bisque. I’ll try to give the recipe below since the recipe has evolved over the years from an original Campbell’s soup recipe using Cream of Celery soup.

    Seafood Bisque

    ½ c. chopped celery
    1 tbs. chopped fresh thyme
    2 tbs. butter
    1 to 1 ½ lb. seafood (this year – 1 6 oz. lobster tail, ½ lb. bay scallops, ½ lb. small shrimp) (Crab is good also, or, fake crab or lobster if you must!)
    1 tbs. tomato paste – gives it that lovely pink hue
    4 c. heavy cream (more or less – use your own taste as to seafood to liquid ratio)
    Splash of dry sherry

    Sauté celery and thyme in butter until celery is translucent and softened. Add seafood – all cut into bit size pieces, sauté until done (usually just a couple of minutes). Remove seafood from pot, add tomato paste and cream. Simmer until desired thickness – don’t boil unless you like separated milk products.

    Add seafood just prior to serving and re-heat. Add sherry to taste.

    Serve with crusty bread.

  2. puck says:

    We’re visiting relatives for dinner, so we are home now just making pumpkin and apple pies to bring. We’re hosting Christmas dinner so I’m looking forward to trying out these awesome recipes then.

    I also picked up some supermarket gift cards to give to families who are in need. I used to have to find a program to donate to needy families, now there are too many of them I already know and I can just hand them the cards.

  3. The only thing I did differently this morning was to put finely-grated raw ginger into the pumpkin pies because the Co-op was out of powdered ginger when I went yesterday to get spices. I did find cinnamon and clove powder that was so fresh it’s still slightly moist. yum.

  4. pandora says:

    I’m gonna try that bisque SOOON!

  5. Aoine says:

    Well this recipie is more for after dinner:

    1 shot Rum Chata liquor
    1 shot Pinnacle Whipped cream Vodka
    Top off with eggnog

    Sprinkle top with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

    Enjoy- dont drive tho…..

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to all

  7. blu gal in de says:

    The bisque was delish!!! Oh, I copied your gravy recipe to my file – can’t wait to try it.

  8. cassandra m says:

    Breaking Bad Thanksgiving!

  9. cassandra_m says:

    Not exactly a new dish, since this is my great-grandmother’s recipe, but one I hadn’t made in a very long time — scalloped oysters. We (well, not me) ate this as an early appetizer to help revive the cooks.

    1 quart fresh oysters (drain the oysters, but reserve the juice)
    5 cups of coarsely crumbled saltines
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1 cup butter, melted
    1 1/2 cups light cream
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    small pinch of nutmeg
    splash of sherry

    You want to prepare this in advance, to let the casserole sit for at least 8 hours before cooking.

    Drain the oysters, and reserve the juice.

    Toss the crackers, melted butter, parsley and salt together in a bowl.

    In another bowl, whisk together approx 1/2 of the oyster juice, cream, Worcestershire, pepper, nutmeg, sherry.

    Build your casserole in a 2 qt backing dish. Spread 1/3 of the cracker mixture evenly in the bottom of the dish, then place 1/2 of the oysters evenly on top of that. Pour 1/2 of the cream mixture over this layer. Another third of the cracker mixture goes on top of the oysters, then place the rest of the oysters on top of that. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over this, then top with the last third of the crackers.

    Cover and let chill in your fridge for at least 8 hours. Take out of the fridge approx 30 minutes before cooking. Bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes. Casserole should be bubbling and the oyster edges should curl some.

    You can serve this as a side dish, but if serving as an appetizer, serve with some great bread.

  10. Kathy says:

    Late to the party but here’s 2 recipes I can make in my sleep.

    *The most buttery cornbread. Ever.
    Preheat to 400 and spray 8 x 8 pan.

    Mix together
    2 c yellow cornmeal
    1 c all purpose flour
    1/4 c plus 2T sugar
    1 T baking powder
    1/2 baking soda
    3/4 t salt

    Dump in and mix with dry ingredients
    1 1/2 c buttermilk
    1 t vanilla
    3 large eggs

    Cut 1 stick of cold butter in pieces and gently mix to batter. I just roughly cut in 1/4″ slices.

    Dump into pan and bake 30 minutes or so.

    *Make a perfect cheese omelette – Have your fillings and lid for omelette pan ready before you cook.

    2 T butter
    3 eggs – 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk

    Cut 1 T butter in 8 pieces and freeze for at least 10 minutes.

    Melt 1 T butter in pan on medium high heat

    Beat 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. Add the frozen butter, salt pepper
    Dump in pan and just as it starts to set, remove from heat throw on cheese and cover. Wait a few minutes, uncover and should slide right out of the pan.