Thanksgiving Day 2011 – Menu and Recipe

After a few weeks of planning and tinkering, I think that this years Turkey Day menu is set. For the first time, both my family and the Vegetarian’s family will be in one place for the holiday. Doing it at my parents house means that I’ll be doing a lot of the cooking, minus a few dishes. For the first time ever, I’ll be brining our turkey, which I am really looking forward to.

Here is the menu and some of the recipes (or links to them). More recipes will be added over the next day or so.

The Meal:

Brined Turkey (recipe follows)
Brussels Sprouts (Recipe)
Braised Lentils with Roasted Red and Golden Beets
Crispy Potatoes (cooked in duck fat)(recipe)
“The Soup” –  No Recipe for my mom’s famous onion soup
Sweet Potato Souffle
Cranberry Sauce (recipe)
Gluten Free Stuffing (in bird)
Regular stuffing

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake (recipe)
Apple Pie
Goat Cheese Cheesecake from One Bite at a Time

Turkey Brine

Kosher Salt
1 whole lemon, halved
Fresh Sage – 1 package
2 Carrots – medium dice
1 large onion – finely diced
3 garlic cloves – finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons black pepper corns

This recipe is based on a ratio from Michael Ruhlman’s book “Ratio.” The brine is essentially 2.5 cups water (20 oz) to 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Depending on the size of your bird, you will have to calculate how much salt and water you need. You can test by putting your turkey into a large stock pot and cover with water, checking how much you add. Once turkey is submerged, you have your water amount and add the correct amount of salt.

The next ratio amount provided is 80 ounces of water (about 10 cups) and 4 ounces salt (about 1/2 cup).

Saute your onion, carrot, garlic and salt in your stock pot. Cook until they begin to soften. Add water, lemon, sage, bay leaves and black pepper corns. Bring to a simmer, ensuring that all salt has disolved. Let brine cool completely.

Place turkey into bucket with brining liquid or into a large turkey brining bag. Place in a cooler or other large container and brine for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours. Flip turkey half way through the process. If using a bag, just flip the bag over to ensure even brine.

Brussels Sprouts:


2-3 lbs brussels sprouts
Sea salt
~6 shallots
Olive Oil, as needed

Cut off bottoms of Brussels and slice in half. If larger, cut into 3 slices. Heat large pan with olive oil over medium heat.

Working in batches, probably about 3 batches, add 1/3 of the shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add sprouts, cut side down and top with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and cover for 2-3 minutes. Sprouts should be browned and nearly fork tender.

Repeat until all sprouts are cooked. You want to ensure not to overcrowd the pan, as the sprouts will not brown well.

Place into casserole or other baking dish. Place into oven for about 15 minutes on a low temp, 250, before ready to serve.

Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz. package of whole
1 cup sugar
1 cup cold water

Boil rapidly until berries pop open (about 5 minutes). Cool. Makes about 4 cups. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Crispy Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat
Recipe courtesy of Serious Eats

4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, rinsed, peeled if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Kosher salt
1/4 cup duck fat
Freshly ground black pepper
12 sprigs thyme

Adjust oven racks to lower and upper position and preheat oven to 500°F. Place potatoes in a large saucepot and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show a slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.

Add fat to bowl with potatoes. Season with pepper and more salt to taste then toss with a large metal spoon until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/fat paste. Divide potatoes evenly between two heavy rimmed baking sheets. Spread thyme sprigs over potatoes.

Transfer baking sheets to the oven and roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes total, swapping top the trays top for bottom and rotating them once half way through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the potatoes and roast until the second side is golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs, and serve.

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 lbs semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (cut up)
1 stick butter (4 oz)
4 eggs
1 Tbl hot water
1 Tbl flour (Pamila’s Baking and Pancake Mix- Gluton Free version)
Whipped cream and Fruit to Top Cake

Preheat oven to 425. In small bowl, combine chocolate, butter and water. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Set aside.

In electric mixer, beat eggs for 3-4 minutes on high until thickened and increased in volume. Beat in flour and chocolate mixture until well blended.

Spread into an 8″ springform pan, buttered, and lined with round of parchment paper.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cake will be soft in center, but firm up later when it is cold. Refrigerate once its cool until serving time. Run sharp knife around edge of cake and remove springform side. Serve topped with fruit and whipped cream.

About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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One Response to Thanksgiving Day 2011 – Menu and Recipe

  1. Herb1419 says:

    Herb is hungry

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