Alright… barely relevant at this point. But here’s my play-by-play of this past Thanksgiving. First I should mention the “heirloom” turkey I purchased from our local market. I won’t divulge the price, but he or she came with papers and lived a full and happy life, had a nice career, graduated with honors, etc. That’s all that matters.
I thought about spatch-cocking this bird, but really… I don’t know. I like a traditional turkey–stuffing and all. This year I made a cornbread stuffing with portabellos and roasted peppers (gluten free).
After situating the turkey for a long journey in the oven, it was time to fuel up for the long haul: bloody mary’s.
Like most Americans, no Thanksgiving is complete without a green bean casserole. With each passing year I find it more and more difficult to succumb to can-of-anything. So, over the past few Thanksgivings I have come closer and closer to replicating this dish, sans canned goods, to near perfection. It’s usually close, but not exactly there. But I think I got it this year. By the way, this is
probably the most time consuming recipe of all time.
What I’ve learned in previous years is, forget frozen green beans. Get fresh green beans. What I’ve also learned is that before adding green beans to the cream of mushroom component one must first cook the green beans for almost 45 minutes. I sliced the green beans in my food processor and then added to a sauté pan with vegetable stock.
While the green beans were cooking down, I made the cream of mushroom soup component. I sautéed mushrooms and onions in olive oil and eventually added vegetable stock.
To thicken the mushroom soup I made a roux and then added about a half cup of 1/2 & 1/2 to make a nice creamy base.
I added the cream portion to the mushrooms and let cook for awhile on medium-low. Note: I set aside just a bit of the sautéed mushrooms to add back into the mix later on during the process.
Using my trusty blend-stick I blended the cream and mushroom soup, finally adding back in a bit of the sautéed mushrooms.
And then the glorious moment of adding the green beans. I can’t tell you how good this smells.
But wait! You didn’t think I’d wuss out on the crispy fried onions did you? Oh, hell no! I made these too, also Gluten Free! First I used a 1-to-1 all purpose gluten free flour mixing in some onion powder and fresh ground black pepper.
I dipped the sliced onions into egg and then battered with the GF flour. I fried the onions in Canola oil–which worked well.
I was actually surprised at how well the GF flour held up in the frying pan.
I sprinkled with sea salt and voila… from-scratch green bean casserole.
By now my kitchen was starting to get dark because I live in Boston and my house becomes like some sort of 16th century folk-tale cottage after 3PM.
For my sweet potatoes, I decided to do something different. Instead of the usual brown sugar + pecans, etc., I made a pistachio butter. Pistachio butter? Yes, pistachio butter.
In a food processor I blended pistachios, olive oil, Knob Creek smoked maple bourbon, pure maple syrup and a pinch of salt. OMG. Fucking amazing.
I layered a baking dish with mashed sweet potatoes and topped with the pistachio butter and some chopped pistachios. Heavenly.
By now, I’m already getting sleepy so it was time for some espresso.
I really do think my mashed potatoes are the best. I’ve never really had better. I start by frying onions in fat from the turkey with some fresh thyme.
I let everything caramelize.
And then I add the sautéed goodness to the potatoes with parmesan, cream and salt and pepper.
They are… simply, the best.
And then, fresh cranberries. You can read my recipe here, but in short: fresh cranberries, grand mariner, brown sugar and fresh squeezed OJ. So easy.
Finally, the turkey… which at this point… meh.
And that was Thanksgiving 2014. And really, no matter how it’s photographed… this is an honest picture of Thanksgiving:
A plate of beige food. It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty amazing.