If your world revolves around cooking and eating, Thanksgiving is, by far, the most delicious holiday of all.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star
Harvest foods turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, bacon, cornbread, butternut squash, pecans and cranberries, to name a few are naturally rich and comforting. Todays Food section offers some of my personal recipe favorites from years past, including the unusual stuffing recipe with goat cheese and tart cherries that has become a cherished family recipe, the easy dry-brined turkey and the apple and pecan salad with a wheat beer vinaigrette. Every recipe is thoroughly kitchen-tested and got a thumbs up from Star staff, family and friends.
A decade ago, we moved our Turkey Day coverage to the Sunday before Thanksgiving and teamed up with the House + Home staff to include holiday entertaining and decorating tips.
Collaborations have included the practical: First Thanksgiving, a hand-holding guide for first-time Thanksgiving hosts, and Potluck Thanksgiving (2011). Our themes have also centered around trends in popular culture, such as a Yoga Thanksgiving (2005) promoting exercises for stress relief, the impact of modern technology on a Wired Thanksgiving (2007) and a Pinterest-inspired Thanksgiving (2011), plus.nods to locally grown food with the 100-Mile Thanksgiving (2006) and the Sustainable Thanksgiving (2009).
Cranberry Kir Royale (2011)
An elegant way to welcome your guests, an idea inspired by Pinterest Thanksgiving.
Makes 8 servings
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup vodka
4 cups dry Prosecco or sparkling white wine, chilled
For the sauce: Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to pop. Pour sauce into a bowl, cover and cool completely to room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. You should have 2 1/4 cups cranberry sauce; divide out 1/2 cup, and reserve the rest until serving.
For the liqueur: Combine 1/4 cup water and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in 1/2 cup cranberry sauce. Let cool. Stir in vodka; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate four days.
Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a small jar; discard solids. Cover jar with an airtight lid; chill until ready to use.
To serve the cocktails: Spoon 2 tablespoons Cranberry Liqueur into each of 8 champagne flutes. Top each with 1/2 cup wine. Serve immediately.
Per serving, cranberry sauce only: 122 calories (1 percent from fat), trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 30 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, 2 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Per serving (with liqueur): 173 calories (1 percent from fat), trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 12 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, 7 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.
Apple and Pecan Salad With Wheat Beer Vinaigrette (2006)
In our 100-Mile Thanksgiving issue, a vinaigrette gets a splash of interest from locally brewed wheat beer.
Makes 8 servings
3/4 cup wheat beer
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon wildflower or other medium-colored honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups mixed fresh green, such as Bibb lettuce, redleaf lettuce, radicchio, baby spinach and escarole
3 to 4 Jonathan apples, cored, sliced thin and bathed in lemon juice
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
For the vinaigrette: Bring the beer to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil until the volume is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the garlic, honey, mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
For the salad: Arrange the greens on 8 plates. Arrange apples on top of the greens. Crumble goat cheese on the apples and dress each salad with vinaigrette. Sprinkle the pecans over each salad and serve.
Make ahead: The vinaigrette will keep, covered, for several weeks in the refrigerator. Before serving, allow the vinaigrette to come to room temperature and whisk to incorporate olive oil.
Per serving: 419 calories (65 percent from fat), 31 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 29 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 109 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber.
Source: Adapted from Prairie Home Cooking (Harvard Common Press) by Judith Fertig
Brussels Sprout Slaw With Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans (2010)
A fresh take on Brussels sprouts from our Potluck Thanksgiving issue.
Makes 8 servings
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup large pecan halves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (see shopping tip)
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, additional for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed (see cooking tip)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray large sheet of foil with nonstick spray. Whisk maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Add nuts and toss to coat; spread in single layer on a small rimmed baking sheet. Bake nuts 5 minutes. Stir. Continue to bake nuts until toasted and glaze is bubbling thickly, about 6 minutes. Immediately transfer nuts to prepared foil and separate. Cool completely.
Whisk mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and sugar in small bowl; whisk in oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Add Brussels sprouts. Cook until crisp-tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes (test with a sharp knife; do not overcook). Drain; rinse with cold water. Cool on paper towels.
Using processor fitted with 1/8- to 1/4-inch slicing blade, slice Brussels sprouts. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Toss Brussels sprouts with enough dressing to coat. Let marinate 30 to 60 minutes. Mix in some maple-glazed pecans. Place slaw in serving bowl. Top with remaining pecans.
Pack and go tip: Slaw can be transported in a dish with an airtight lid. Dont forget to bring a slotted serving spoon.
Big batch: This recipe can be doubled.
Shopping tip: Look for Grade B pure maple syrup. It has a bolder maple flavor than the more refined and delicate Grade A.
Per serving: 222 calories (62 percent from fat), 16 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 19 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 534 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.
Source: Bon Appetit, November 2009
Country Bread Dressing With Smoked Ham, Goat Cheese and Dried Cherries (2007)
Sounds odd, but if youre not wedded to traditional dressings this one may become a new favorite. Also from our Wired Thanksgiving issue.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 (1-pound) loaf crusty country-style white bread
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 teaspoons minced garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
1 1/4 cups chopped smoked ham (preferably from 2 meaty ham hocks)
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth or homemade turkey stock, heated
4 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, crumbled into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place cherries in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand until soft, about 15 minutes.
Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve. Drain cherries. Cut bottom crust and short ends off bread; discard. Cut remaining bread with crust into 1-inch cubes (10 cups loosely packed). Place in large bowl. Add oil, thyme and garlic; toss. Spread out on large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and slightly crunchy, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Return to same large bowl.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, ham and bell pepper. Saute until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and cherries.
Turn oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- by-13-inch glass baking dish or other casserole dish. Stir vegetables and toasted nuts into bread cubes. Add hot broth, tossing to coat. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Crumble cheese evenly over stuffing. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down. Bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is brown, 25 to 30 minutes longer, and serve.
Per serving, based on 8: 543 calories (55 percent from fat), 34 grams total fat (13 grams saturated), 78 milligrams cholesterol, 39 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 480 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.
Source: epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/ 236495
Dry-Brined Roasted Turkey (2008)
From a Frugal Thanksgiving in 2008: Brining the bird has become all the rage with home cooks. Fans insist submerging the bird under salted water for 12 to 18 hours locks in moisture.
But the process of maneuvering the bird into a vessel large enough to submerge it under salt water is cumbersome. Kudos to the wise marketer who created plastic bags big enough to hold the bird. Still, a recipe for dry brining seemed worth investigation.
Makes 12 servings
For the turkey:
1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh turkey
1/4 cup kosher salt mixed with lemon pepper and herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme
2 medium to large yellow onions, left unpeeled and cut into eighths
2 medium carrots, left unpeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups water; more as needed
For the gravy (about 3 cups):
Drippings and vegetables from turkey
3 cups turkey broth (store-bought or homemade)
2 teaspoons lightly chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
The night before: Remove the giblets from the turkey, cut off the tail, if attached, and reserve for making turkeybroth. Rinse the turkey thoroughly. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Sprinkle the salt all over it, starting on the back side, then the cavity and finally the breast. Put the turkey on a wire rack set over a rimmed pan or platter and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
One hour before roasting: Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Fifteen to 20 minutes before roasting, position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put half the onions, carrots and celery in the turkey cavity. Tuck the wings behind the neck and under the turkeyand place bird in the large flameproof heavy-duty roasting pan. Scatter the remaining onions, carrots and celery around the turkey.
Roast for 30 minutes. Pour 1 cup of the water into the roasting pan and roast for another 30 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170 degrees and the juices run clear when you remove the thermometer, about another hour for a 12-pounder. (Keep a close eye on the vegetables and pan drippings throughout the cooking process. They should be kept dry enough to brown and produce the rich brown drippings to make gravy, but moist enough to keep from burning. So add water as needed throughout.)
Transfer the turkey to a carving board or platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving and serving.
For the gravy: Set the roasting pan with the turkey drippings and vegetables over two burners set on medium-high heat. Add 1 cup broth; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or 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 into a large saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cups broth and the thyme and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and let simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, put heavy cream in a small bowl and whisk in the flour 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 over very low heat until ready to serve.
Per serving: 426 calories (28 percent from fat), 13 grams total fat (5 grams saturated), 211 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, 70 grams protein, 707 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
Source: How to Cook a Turkey (Tauton) from the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking magazine
Cranberry and Dried-Cherry Relish (2005)
Sure beats the stuff that wiggles out of a can. Easy recipes were part of our stress-free Yoga Thanksgiving.
Makes 3 cups
1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen)
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
In a large saucepan, combine cranberries, cherries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until most berries have burst and liquid is syrupy, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to serving dish, and let cool. Cover, pressing plastic wrap directly on surface of relish; refrigerate.
Per (1/4-cup) serving: 120 calories (2 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 4 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber
Source: Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart magazine, November 2003
Golden Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (2004)
Good old-fashioned mashed potatoes get a hint of sweet potato goodness with the tang of buttermilk which made sense for our Heritage Thanksgiving issue.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
5 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced chives or scallions
Place the baking potatoes, sweet potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water and drain the potatoes and garlic well in the colander.
Transfer to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or large spoon. With an electric mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the buttermilk until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy, beating in the reserved cooking water if necessary. Beat in the salt and pepper.
Reheat the potatoes if necessary, turn into a serving dish, and sprinkle chives or scallions on top.
Per serving, based on 8: 278 calories (2 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 61 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 336 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber.
Source: 50 Best Mashed Potatoes by Rick Rodgers
Roasted Sweet Potato Spears With Bacon Vinaigrette (2007)
If sweet potatoes with marshmallows are too sweet, this recipe, which originally appeared in our Wired Thanksgiving issue, is a welcome change of pace.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
4 pounds medium sweet potatoes (about 7)
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced, reserving sliced greens separately
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Peel sweet potatoes, then cut each lengthwise into 6 spears. Cut spears in half crosswise if desired and place in a large mixing bowl.
Cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain; pour bacon fat through a fine-mesh sieve onto sweet potato spears and toss with 2 spatulas to coat. Sprinkle spears with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and arrange in 1 layer in a large (17 1/4 -by-11 1/2-by-1-inch) jellyroll pan. Roast uncovered, turning every 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender and edges browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Be sure to stand back when opening the oven door to allow steam to escape.) When potatoes are done, transfer while still warm to a serving dish.
Return bacon to cleaned skillet, add 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, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and pour over potato spears. Sprinkle potatoes with scallion greens and serve warm.
Per serving, based on 8: 397 calories (48 percent from fat), 21 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 24 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 742 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.
Source: epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/ 236383, Gourmet (November 2006)
Cranberry-Pear Tart in Black Walnut Shortbread Crust (2009)
A delicious change of pace from the usual pumpkin pie graced our Sustainable Thanksgiving issue.
Makes 1 (9- or 10-inch) tart or 8 to 12 servings
For the crust:
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup black walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
For the filling:
3 large ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
2 cups fresh cranberries, picked through and rinsed
1 tablespoon brandy
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the streusel:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
To make the crust: Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, half-and-half and vanilla. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no longer visible. With the processor running, add the yolk mixture in a steady stream and then pulse until the moisture is fairly evenly dispersed, 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Using your hands, mix in the chopped nuts to distribute them evenly. The dough will be a mealy, crumbly mass.
Pour the crumb mixture into a 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Starting with the sides of the pan, firmly press the crumbs against the pan to create a crust about 1/4 inch thick. Press the remaining crumbs evenly against the bottom of the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and freeze for 10 minutes. Bake until the sides just begin to darken and the bottom is set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Tent with foil if crust begins to brown too fast. Transfer to a cooling rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
For the filling: Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise, core and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
In a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries. In a medium bowl, mix the pears, cranberries and brandy. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt; add the cranberry-pear mixture, tossing to combine. Spoon the filling into the par-baked crust, leveling the filling and packing it down slightly with the back of a spoon.
For the streusel: In a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and vanilla. Combine with your fingers until the mixture begins to clump together in small pieces when pressed. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling, breaking it into smaller pieces if necessary.
Bake at 350 degrees until the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork and the streusel and the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 50 minutes. If the tart begins to get overly brown at the edges, cover with foil. Let the tart cool on a rack until its just barely warm before serving. The tart will keep, covered, at room temperature, for two to three days.
Per serving, based on 8: 433 calories (38 percent from fat), 19 grams total fat (10 grams saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 62 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 206 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.
Source: Fine Cookings Fresh: 350 Recipes That Celebrate the Seasons" by Tauton