Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Favorites

Hi Friends!

Is everyone excited for Thanksgiving?  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  We'll be spending a long, relaxing weekend with family at a good friend's lake house in Deep Creek.  I cannot wait to relax in the hot tub out on the deck looking into the woods. 

Ahh Deep Creek

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is finding the perfect balance of classic, traditional recipes and new, interesting ones.  I like to do most of the cooking, though my father always cooks the turkey on the grill.  I love spending all day in the kitchen with my family, drinking cup after cup of coffee, watching football while chopping vegetables and stirring whatever is on the stove and chatting with my mom.  Below you'll find some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the past few years.  

There are a few things we have without fail every year – A grilled, sage-butter turkey, chive mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly (from the can – only ever eaten by my sister) and sweet potato pudding with marshmallows on top (often accidentally lit on fire by being cooked too close to the broiler.)  The recipes below are things I've found that we have tried and loved and are on heavy rotation both for Thanksgiving and regular Sunday dinners at my parents.

Note* I like to brown a couple of slices of bacon first and use that fat to cook the sprouts and then crumble the bacon on top of the finished dish (I think they call this gilding the lily…)

This risotto is really fantastic with a homemade stock. 

These are a nice lightish alternative to a heavier creamed spinach type dish. 

Everything from Smitten Kitchen is always awesome.  Always. 

Another Thanksgiving favorite is butternut squash soup.  Below is a recipe I've sort of cobbled together by taking bits of other recipes I've really enjoyed.  We make this soup once every couple of weeks in winter. 

Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium-large butternut squash
4 cloves garlic
2 large poblano peppers (if you cannot find these, two chilies in adobo without the sauce will give a nice warmth to the soup also)
Olive oil
1 onion
¼ cup white wine
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp turmeric (optional)

Preheat oven to 400*

Halve 2 large butternut squash (any deep orange winter squash will work here), clean out the seeds and rub them down with olive oil and a little salt.  Deseed the poblanos and put them on the tray with the squash.
Put them skin side up on a lined cookie sheet and pop 2 cloves of garlic in each seed hole (get over it… I'm sure they teach you the technical terms in culinary school) and top with a splash more olive oil
Roast until fork tender (about 40 min or so depending on the thickness)
In the meantime chop 1 onion and sauté in a tbsp of olive oil in a soup pot over med high heat.  When just starting to caramelize, add white wine and a can of crushed tomatoes (I like muir glen fire roasted) and let simmer.
When the squash are soft, let them cool a bit and scoop them into a blender (Vitamix is best, a hand blender would work also).  Add the coconut milk, a tbsp of curry powder and 2 tbsp salt (add the chipotles at this point if using) and puree until smooth.  If soup seems too thick, add a bit of water or stock to thin it out. 

So there ya go, a few recipes to get you going.  Hope you all have a fantastic thanksgiving!

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