Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Delicious Easy Thanksgiving Recipes from Fresh Home magazine

Brined Turkey
Image by Matthew Saunders via Flickr

Thanks to the nice people at Fresh Home magazine (fall issue) for these wonderful Thanksgiving recipes made over easy including an unusual fondue.

These recipes are less time-consuming and according to the magazine — three times as delicious!  Not only are there recipes but a timeline which I think is an essential resource.

Brined Wild Turkey
Purchase good small-batch bourbon (such as Knob Creek) to prepare the brine and gravy.  You’ll want a sip or two while cooking. (Here’s directions I really appreciate.)

Prep: 45 min. + chilling; Bake: 2 hours + standing
Yield: 6 servings plus leftovers

Bourbon Brine
1 gal. water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup bourbon
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 medium onion, quartered
1 lemon, cut in half
2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
2 Tbsp. whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. pepper

1 bone-in turkey breast half (3 ½ to 4 lbs.)
2 turkey drumsticks or thighs

Bourbon Gravy
¾ cup bourbon
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter divided
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
In a very large bowl or butch oven, combine all brine ingredients (give the lemon halves a slight squeeze as you add them to release juice); stir until salt and brown sugar are dissolved.  Rinse turkey breast and drumsticks under cold water.  Place in a large oven roasting bag; place bag in a stockpot or large roasting pan.  Carefully pour brine into bag; squeeze out as much air possible.  Seal bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate 10-12 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

In a medium bowl, whisk the bourbon, mustard, honey, syrup, sage, salt and pepper.  Reserve ½ cup glaze in a small bowl for the turkey; cover and refrigerate.  Set remaining mixture aside for gravy.

In a medium saucepan, sauté shallot in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender.  Stir in flour.  Whisk in broth and remaining bourbon mixture.  Whisk in remaining butter.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened about 20 minutes.  Strain gravy through a fine-mesh sieve; cool.  Transfer to a storage container; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Drain and discard brine.  Rinse turkey breast and drumsticks under cold water; pat dry.  Spray a large shallow roasting pan and rack with cooking spray.  Place turkey breast, bone side down, on rack, leaving room for drumsticks.  Brush with 2 Tbsp. of the reserved glaze.  Bake, uncovered, at 4ooº for 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350º.  Add drumsticks to rack; brush with 1 Tbsp. glaze.  Brush turkey breast with another 2 Tbsp. glaze.  Bake 1 ½ hours longer, brushing twice with remaining glaze, or until a meat thermometer reads 170º (cover loosely with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning).  Turn drumsticks over for the last 30 minutes of baking.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, transfer gravy to a saucepan to reheat, stirring occasionally.  Add additional bourbon if gravy becomes too thick.  Serve with turkey.

Make Ahead: Brine the turkey overnight and make the gravy the day before, and on the day of serving all you need to do is bake the turkey and reheat the gravy.  The brine can be prepared the day before using it; cover and chill until ready to add to the bag with the turkey.

Greens with Cranberry Vinaigrette
The very tart vinaigrette avoids the sweet overtones of traditional cranberry sauce.
Prep: 20 min. + chilling Yield: 6 servings
2 green onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. ground mustard
½ cup water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups fresh baby greens
1 Granny smith apple, cored and sliced into thin wedges
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Thinly slice green onion tops; set aside.  Thinly slice white portion of onions.  In a small saucepan, sauté white portion of onions in 1 Tbsp. oil until soft.  Stir in cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar and mustard.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, until berries pop and mixture begins to thicken, about 7 minutes.  Cool slightly. Transfer cranberry mixture to a small food processor.  Add the water, remaining oil and reserved green onion tops; cover and process until blended.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid; refrigerate at least 1 hour.
In a large bowl, toss greens with apple slices, walnuts and enough vinaigrette to coat.  Serve salad with remaining vinaigrette.

Make Ahead: the cranberry vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Tangy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
A ½-teaspoon measuring spoon or melon baller is a handy tool for scooping out the pulp of the baked potatoes.
Prep: 1 ¼ hours         Bake: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings (2 stuffed potato halves each)
6 medium sweet potatoes
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup butter, cubed
1 Tbsp. juice and 1 tsp. grated peel from small orange
¼ tsp. ground chipotle powder, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes.  Bake at 400° for about 45 minutes or until tender.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Place the pulp in a food processor.  Add the goat cheese, buttermilk and butter; cover and process until smooth.  Add the orange juice, orange peel and chipotle powder if desired; cover and process until combined.
Place potato shells on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper; spoon potato mixture into shells.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle with bacon.

Make Ahead: Prepare the recipe through the second step, processing the pulp of the baked potatoes.  Place shells (in a single layer) and potato mixture in separate containers; cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  Bring to room temperature.  Stir potato mixture to fluff before stuffing shells; bake as directed.

Pear and Date Dressing
Pears, dates, sourdough and honey make for a flavorful dressing that complements the caramel, fruit and grain flavors of the bourbon in the Brined Wild Turkey.
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 50 min. Yield: 6 servings with leftovers
7 cups sourdough bread cubes (about 1 medium loaf)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 medium ripe pears, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup pear nectar
3 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. honey

Spread bread cubes in two 15-in. x 10-in. baking pans.  Bake at 325º for 20 minutes or until dried, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Remove from the heat.  Add the pears, dates, nectar, thyme, pepper and salt; stir to combine.
Transfer bread cubes to a large bowl.  Increase oven temperature to 350º.  Add pear mixture to bread cubes; toss gently.  Drizzle with broth; toss gently just until moistened.   Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until browned and heated through.  Drizzle honey over top.

Make Ahead: Bread cubes may be baked a day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  Dressing may be prepared up to 4 hours before baking.  Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to bake.

Onion-Topped Green Beans
Panko, or Japanese bread crumbs, are coarser and crispier than traditional bread crumbs.
Prep: 15 min. Cook: 40 min.
Yield: 6 servings

3 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 cups packed fresh cremini and/or shiitake
Mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
Minced fresh parsley, optional

In a large ovenproof skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. butter.  Add onion.  Sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper; toss to coat.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and slightly golden, about 12 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add panko; toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 15 minutes or until crumbs are crisp and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in another large skillet, sauté mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Add the soy sauce, green beans and remaining butter; toss.  Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or just until beans are crisp-tender. Season the beans with additional sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Stir in cream; heat through.  Transfer bean mixture to a serving platter; top with onion mixture.  Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Make Ahead: Slice the onion and mushrooms and trim the green beans in the morning.  Store separately in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.

Harvest Fondue
Prep: 45 min. Bake: 50 minutues
Yield: 6 servings
6 acorn squash or baby pumpkins (1 lb. each)
1 large garlic clove, halved
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Comté or Gruyère cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Emmenthaler cheese
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 loaf (8 oz.) prepared garlic bread, cut into large cubes (about 60) for dipping

Cut off tops of acorn squash and set aside.  Scoop out and discard seeds.  Trim flesh if necessary to make cavity bigger.  (If necessary, cut small slice from bottom of squash so they sit flat, taking care not to slice into cavity.)  Rub inside cavity of squash with garlic; discard garlic. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cheeses.  In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch, wine and cream; stir in pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper.  Pour over cheese mixture and toss to combine.  Fill each squash two-thirds full with cheese mixture; replace tops. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 400º for 50 minutes or until flesh is tender.  Place bread cubes on another foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until dried; set aside. Remove squash from oven.  Remove tops; stir fondue.  Serve with bread cubes for dipping.

Make Ahead: Bread Cubes can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container.  Squash can be scooped in the morning; tuck plastic wrap into interior, replace tops and refrigerate until ready to fill.

Turkey Timeline: Small commitments of time prior to Thanksgiving will ease the stress of getting everything right on the day.  Many of these tasks can be done after you clock out of work.  Plan on keeping Wednesday night free for prep.

Prepare shopping list; check pantry for essentials such as salt, pepper and olive oil.
Shop and store goods.  Keep turkey breast and drumsticks in the freezer.

Prepare bread cubes for Pear and Date Dressing.  Store in airtight containers.

Prepare Cranberry Vinaigrette.  Store in refrigerator.
Prepare Bourbon Brine.  Keep chilled.
Taste-test Perfect Pear Manhattan.  Then taste-test it again.
Place turkey breast and drumsticks in refrigerator to thaw prior to going to bed.

Bake sweet potatoes and prepare filling for Tangy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes.  Store shells and filling separately in refrigerator.
Make Bourbon Gravy reserving ½ cup of the base for glaze.
Place turkey in Bourbon Brine; refrigerate overnight.

Partially prepare the Pear and Date Dressing up through the second step, mixing the fruit.
Scoop out acorn squash and prepare bread cubes for Harvest Fondue.
Rinse greens; slice apple and brush with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Roast turkey.
Bake Pear and Date Dressing.
Fill and bake Tangy Twice-Baked Sweet potatoes.
Prepare Harvest Fondue.
Prepare Onion-Topped Green Beans.
Bring Cranberry Vinaigrette to room temperature if desired; toss with greens, apple and walnuts.
Reheat Bourbon Gravy.
Heat dressing and sweet potatoes while turkey rest.

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