Thanksgiving Fare with a Twist

Photo: BruceTurner/Flickr

The weekend before Thanksgiving is upon us!!

If you’re one of those super-organized cooks, you’ve got your recipes chosen, your shopping list meticulously laid out and your shopping done. Check, check. CHECK!

For the rest of us, this is going to be a *busy* bunch of days. Here’s more worthy R&D.

Chef Jeff Mushin from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston is sharing with Public Radio Kitchen the recipes for several traditional Thanksgiving dishes invigorated here with unexpected, flavorful ingredients. With these recipes Mushin is encouraging home chefs (that’s us!) to create extraordinary fare that stands out from customary Thanksgiving dishes. Have a look and, yes, update that grocery list just one…more…time.

Shiitake & Oyster Mushroom Sage Stuffing
2 loaves fresh brioche, cubed and set out to dry
1 sour dough baguette, cubed and set out to dry
2 pounds fresh oyster mushrooms, stems removed & reserved
2 pounds fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & reserved
1 bushel celery, washed and diced medium
1 onion large, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bushels fresh sage, washed and chopped
½ bushel fresh thyme, picked and stemmed
1 bushel Italian parsley, washed and chopped
1 pound unsalted butter, cubed
½ gallon chicken stock, fresh or store-bought (or turkey stock)

1. First take 1 cup of the diced onions, celery and thyme. Sauté in a pot with butter. Once translucent add mushroom stems and cook until soft. Add stock and cook on a simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.
2. Sauté remaining onions and celery in butter and season with garlic, thyme & sage. Add salt & pepper once they are translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook until soft and add stock. Bring the stock to a simmer and add cubed bread a little at a time until all of it is incorporated. Be careful of the heat – you can turn it off if it is too hot so that the stuffing will not burn. Add parsley and pour into an oven safe dish and cook for 1 hour covered at 325. Remove the cover and cook uncovered for another ½ hour.

Roasted Turkey & Roasted Vegetable Gravy
1 12-14 pound turkey, defrosted, cavity washed out, patted dry
8 ounces butter, melted
½ bushel fresh thyme
½ bushel fresh rosemary
½ bushel fresh sage
Butchers twine
Salt and pepper
4 carrots, washed, peeled & cut into large pieces for roasting
½ bushel celery, washed & cut into large pieces for roasting
2 white onions, peeled & cut into large pieces for roasting
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled & left whole
½ gallon chicken stock (or turkey stock), fresh or canned low sodium
1 bottle sauterne wine

1. Pull out your turkey at least 1 hour in advance of preparing it for the oven, so that it begins to reach room temperature and is not ice cold when placing it in the oven. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees at least 1 hour in advance of placing it in the oven.
2. Begin by cutting your carrots, celery & onions for the bottom of the roasting pan. Place your garlic, thyme & bay leaves in the bottom of the pan as well. Remove the wrapper of the turkey and rinse the entire turkey of blood inside and out. Make sure to pat dry the turkey afterwards. Place remaining thyme & rosemary in the cavity of the turkey. Using the butcher twine, truss the turkey so that the breast and legs are tied tightly together so that it will cook evenly and help to retain the juices. Pour melted butter over the turkey and make sure that you spread it evenly over the skin. Season the outside of the turkey with salt & pepper. Place turkey on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan and place in the oven.
3. When the skin of the turkey begins to turn golden brown, baste it with a little stock and a splash of the sauterne wine. Periodically baste the turkey so that it will keep moist and the roasting vegetables will not burn. The vegetables on the bottom of the pan will become the base for your gravy. If the skin of the turkey starts to become too dark cover it carefully with aluminum foil for the remaining cooking time. Cook the turkey until the internal temperature of the turkey thigh is 160 degrees. Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and cover so that no one will pick at the skin except you. The turkey needs to rest for a ½ hour before you carve it.
4. Place a plate underneath ½ of the roasting pan so that it will be tilted and the juices will run to the lower ½ of the pan. With a slotted spoon remove the vegetables and place them into a blender. Once all of the juice is collected at the end of the pan, use a ladle to skim the fat off of the juices. Place the juices in the blender and puree for at least 2 minutes. Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add more stock until it is the proper consistency you are looking for. Puree again for at least 2 to 3 more minutes until it reaches the desired texture. Remove the gravy and carve the turkey.

Green Bean Casserole
3 pounds green beans, cleaned, snipped, cut at 45 degree angle, ½ inch-long
1 large onion, diced medium
½ bushel bunch thyme, picked & stemmed
½ gallon milk
½ onion
4 whole cloves, rough chop
2 bay leaves
2 ounces butter
2 ounces flour
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
Panko bread crumbs

1. Place milk in a pot with onion pierced with cloves, bay leaves and 1 clove of garlic. Steep milk for ½ hour and season with salt & white pepper. After a ½ hour remove onion and garlic. While milk is steeping place butter in a pan and melt it until hot. Turn the heat down and add flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for 5 minutes on a low heat, stirring the entire time. The roux should smell nutty while the flour is cooking (that is OK). Slowly add 8 ounces of the milk to the roux, and stir until the mixture is very smooth. Add the mixture to the pot of milk a little at a time until the milk is very thick. Cook on low for 10 minutes stirring all of the time, so that it does not burn and all of the flour is mixed in so that it is smooth. Add the Swiss cheese until it is fully incorporated and melted. Remove from the stove.
2. In a sauté pan with butter, sauté green beans, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper for just a few minutes so that the green beans are cooked but firm.
3. Add green beans to the milk and stir. Pour into a cooking dish and bake for ½ hour at 400 degrees. Finish with Panko crumbs on top until golden brown and serve.

Cranberry Orange Mint Relish
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
1 orange, segmented, cut in ½, and zested (reserve the zest in water)
3 ounces white sugar
Fresh nutmeg ground, to taste
Fresh cinnamon ground, to taste
2 ounces fresh orange juice
½ bushel bunch fresh mint, washed (hold to chop later)

1. In a food processor place all of the ingredients except mint and orange segments. Pulse the processor until the product is in small dices but still chunky. Taste to make sure there is enough sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. You should be able to taste all of the flavors with the cranberry and orange juice being the dominant flavors.
2. Fold in orange segments and chop fresh mint. Add it immediately to the mixture.
3. Refrigerate and taste 2 hours later, and adjust the flavors if you need to.

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Fare with a Twist

  1. Stella

    I have to ask about the green bean casserole… Even half a bushel of thyme seems mighty epic. Isn’t a bushel like 8 gallons? A bundle? A bunch? :) I’m very intrigued by the mushroom stuffing, thanks for sharing!

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  3. valentine

    With all due respect, I do not recommend trusting this recipe. 1/2 bushel? BUSHEL? of mint? That’s crazy!