Thanksgiving 2010 - The Menu

This is the big one.  The meal I look forward to planning and preparing ALL year long.  We usually do the turkey-stuffing-gravy-taters-cranberries deal, but not this year! 

This is the year for fun.  Husband says so.  His sister cooks the traditional turkey dinner at Christmas, so we're going to change it up for Thanksgiving.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy the whole process, which makes me weird in the eyes of some.  I love the reading of recipes, gazing at pictures, gathering recipes and ideas, writing out my menu and shopping lists, and the shopping itself (except for that whole paying part).  I love stuffing my fridge and cabinets, and spending several days preparing things ahead of time, and hovering in the kitchen in a merry frenzy.

May you and your family have a wonderfully satisfying, cozy, filling and joyful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  There is much to be thankful for!


Rolled Turkey Breast

Potato, Red Onion and Havarti Gratin

Almond and Rosemary Panko Stuffing

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Spicy Cranberry Chutney

Maple-Cinnamon Butternut Squash

Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

Mixed Greens Salad with Fennel and Apricots

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding

Haralson Apple Pie

Pecan-Walnut Pie


Rolled Turkey Breast
12 green onions (scallions)
6 pound whole fresh turkey breast, deboned and butterflied
2 large garlic cloves
6 ounces mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
salt and pepper

Place turkey, skin-side down on a clean surface.  Crush first garlic clove and rub into the flesh.  Lay 3 whole scallions on the flesh, arranged mixed fruit on top, scatter cranberries and pine nuts and 1/4 cup thyme leaves over the entire surface.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roll breast up tightly and tie with string.  Crush second garlic clove and rub into the skin.  Preheat oven to 375, lay remaining scallions in a roasting pan and lay turkey on top.  Pour olive oil and maple syrup over turkey, season with salt and pepper, and scatter remaining thyme branches in the pan.  Roast 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer reads 155 F.  Transfer turkey to a platter and tent with foil, let rest 5 minutes.  (If you want a sauce, you can add a cup or two of broth to the roasting pan, place it on your stove top, and boil for 5-10 minutes til reduced, strain and serve with turkey).  Slice turkey and serve.

Potato, Red Onion and Havarti Gratin
2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold (or other) potatoes
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion
3 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 tablespoon dried
8 ounces thinly sliced havarti or fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Peel potatoes and slice very thinly.  Place potatoes and onions in a pot with the half-and-half, salt and pepper.  Stir well, bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Transfer half the potatoes, onions and cream to a shallow ovenproof baking dish.  Sprinkle with the tarragon.  Add remaining potatoes, onions and cream.  Sprinkle with remaining tarragon.  Cover completely with an even layer of cheese.  Press down lightly.  This may be refrigerated for a day.  To bake, place on a baking dish and bake 40 minutes (or an hour if refrigerated), until golden.

Almond and Rosemary Panko Stuffing
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 slices firm white country bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto
salt and pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil in a 4-quart pot.  Add celery and onions and cook for 10 minutes until soft.  Add basil, oregano, and almonds and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in panko and bread cubes and cook 2 minutes until coated.  Transfer stuffing to a large, shallow baking dish.  Stir in cheese and prosciutto, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add garlic to chicken stock and pour over bread mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in rosemary and dot with remaining butter.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.  Bake at 375 until golden brown and crispy, about 1 1/2 hours.

Cranberry-Orange Relish
1 - 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar (or half sugar, half honey)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
chopped zest from 2 oranges
chopped flesh from those 2 oranges
1 cinnamon stick

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan, simmer until most of the cranberries have popped and are soft.  Remove cinnamon stick before serving.

Spicy Cranberry Chutney
12 ounces fresh cranberries
2 large, tart apples, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
several gratings fresh black pepper
pinch of salt
large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan.  Simmer over medium heat until thick and saucy.  Refrigerate or can until ready to use.

Maple Cinnamon Butternut Squash
One large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Place squash, flesh side down, in a baking pan, add 2 cups water.  Bake at 350 until a knife inserted into the thickest part moves easily.  Cool slightly, scoop flesh into a large bowl.  Mash with the remaining ingredients.

Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
6 slices bacon
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain or dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add beans.  Cook until barely tender, 4 - 5 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking (or plunge into an ice bath).  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 6-8 minutes.  Drain, cool and crumble.  Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the skillet and return to medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in the vinegar, mustard, oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Add the dressing to the beans, add the bacon, and toss to combine.

Mixed Greens Salad with Fennel and Apricots
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
12 cups mixed greens
2 small small bulbs fennel, halved, cored and thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
2 ounces shaved grana padano cheese

Toast almonds in a skillet until just golden.  Whisk together oil, lemon juice, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  In a large bowl, combine greens, fennel, scallions, apricots, cheese and almonds.  Toss with dressing just before serving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
8 ounces goat cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat goat cheese and sugar, add cream cheese and beat one minute.  Add remaining ingredients and beat 10 minutes until smooth.  Transfer to a graham cracker or ginger snap crust in a spring form pan.  Bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Refrigerate for 6-8 hours before serving.

Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding
2/3 cup orange juice
8 ounces dried cherries, chopped
1 - 16 ounce loaf country bread, cubed
1/4 cup melted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring orange juice to a boil and pour over cherries in a small bowl, let stand 1 hour.  Do not drain!  Preheat oven to 350.  Toss bread cubes with melted butter, place in a 3 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle 1/2 the chocolate over this, add 1/2 the cherry/juice mixture.  Mix eggs, milk, half and half, sugar and vanilla, pour over bread.  Press down.   Bake, covered 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 30-45 minutes more until set.  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate and cherries.

Haralson Apple Pie
The magic here is the apples.  If you don't live in Minnesota and can't get Haralson apples, use Granny Smith.  Please make your crust with all butter or lard.  I use the Betty Crocker cookbook for this one :)

Pecan-Walnut Pie
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves
1 pie crust for a 9 inch pie

Heat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, whisk together syrup, sugars, eggs, butter, vanilla and salt.  Stir in pecans and walnuts.  Fit crust into pie plate, place on a rimmed baking sheet, pour filling into crust, bake until center is set, about 45-50 minutes.  Cool completely before serving.