I know you’re probably being inundated with what you should/absolutely/must have for the best/most exciting/most extravagant Thanksgiving this year for wine and food and I promise I will not do that to you. Instead, I’m just going to tell you what I’m going to have. As a bonus, I’m even throwing in the recipes. What?!?!? Aaron is giving us recipes? That’s right. I’m going all mainstream on you. Not just listing the ingredients like I normally do and making you figure it out, but actual recipes that you could follow if you wanted to do that sort of thing.
This year I’ve decided on a South by Southwest theme. No, not the festival in Austin, but southern and southwestern cooking mixed together. My mother grew up in the south, my father in the southwest…so meta. Anyway, as always, if you want advice, send me an e-mail with what you’re having and I’ll help you pick out some wines. Happy early Thanksgiving!
Aperitif: Pere Ventura Tresor Rosé
Meal time: Scott Paul La Pauleé 2008 (Pinot Noir)
Digestif: Averna Amaro Siciliano Fratelli Averna (Not wine, just in case you were wondering. Amaros are hot this year, oh yeah)
The Brine (Do the day before):
2 gallons water
2 cups Kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 fennel bulb, split
1 white onion, split
2 limes, sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of oregano
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Toast all the spices in a skillet until they are aromatic, then put all of the ingredients in a stock pot and simmer until the salt is dissolved and the fennel has softened a bit (10-15 minutes). Let the brine cool, put your turkey in and cover it for at least 12 hours. Before you’re ready to pop it in the oven, remove from the brine and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 400F Then add the rub.
1 tablespoon coriander seeds crushed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds crushed
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons crushed dried chilies (ancho, guajillo, etc.)
Peel of 1 small lime (no pith please) grated
1 tablespoon minced onions
4 tablespoons softened butter
Mix all ingredients together and rub all of your turkey. Get it mostly under the skin. Yes, your hands will get dirty. You can wash them later.
Pop that bird in the oven at 400F for 30minutes. Hopefully, you have a meat thermometer.
Turn the heat down to 325F and continue to cook for 1 hour.
If you have the time, turn the heat down to 250F and cook until the white meat is 165F or the dark meat is 175F, otherwise just leave it at 325 and your bird will finish up within another hour. If you want to get crazy, go ahead and baste the turkey with the drippings that fall every 1/2 hour or so. Expect your total cooking time to go up a little when you do this though since heat is escaping the oven. On to the sides!
Green Chilies Sauce (Replacement gravy)
2 cans green chilies
½ quart cream
Put the first two ingredients in a saucepot and raise to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make 10 minutes before you serve all the food. For the advanced user, instead of the canned goods, go ahead and get 4 poblano peppers. Stick them on the grill with the corn until all sides are blistered and blackened. Then slide them into a sealed container or bag for a few minutes so they steam up a bit. Peel off all the skin, then slice and dice. Voilá. Your own chilies.
Trivia for the dinner table: The spelling “Chili” refers to any member of the Capsicum family, many of which are used in cooking. This can also be used to reference the dish which football fans love during the fall. It can also be spelled as “Chile” or “Chilli”. The “correct” spelling is debatable. However, the country of Chile would like to insist everybody spell their name as is. I have seen this embarrassment in grocery stores and wine shops in which they spell the country of Chile, “Chili”.
Hot Sauced Brussel Sprouts
1 lb Brussel Sprouts
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 tablespoon butter
Clean, slice of the stems, and halve the brussel sprouts then toss them with the olive oil. Roast those bad boys at around 350 for 15-20 minutes until the edges get brown. Meanwhile heat up the butter to melting point and mix it with the hot sauce and oregano. Once the sprouts are done roasting, toss them in the hot sauce mixture. Enjoy the ensuing mouth-gasm.
Grilled ears of corn
4 ears of corn
Soak. Pat dry. Grill.
Soak whole ears of corn for 20 minutes in water. Pop on a flaming hot grill. Rotate after you see grill marks on the bottom. Take them off when grill marks are on the other side. 10 minutes-ish to cook.
Wild Rice with cranberries
1 cup Wild rice
½ cup Cranberries
3 cups Chicken broth
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup chopped Pecans
2 tbsps Butter
Salt to taste
Put the rice, broth and butter in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes. Add the cranberries, sugar, and pecans and some salt if needed. Stir. Cover again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and you don’t see liquid bubbling around.
Pickled Okra and Jalapeños (Make at least a week in advance)
1/2 pound Okra or enough to fit into a big mason jar
1 Jalapeño, sliced
1 tablespoon Dill
2 teaspoons Juniper berries
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
Dash of Cayenne if desired
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
Bring the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Meanwhile stuff your your okra and jalapeno slices into the mason jar. Add in the dill, juniper berries, fennel seeds, and cayenne. Once the liquids are boiling, take them off the heat and pour into the mason jar until the dry ingredients are covered. Seal the mason jar closed and refrigerate for at least a week.
It’s a secret southern mother recipe. Sorry.