We will be traveling to see family for Thanksgiving this year, but decided to put together a few of our favorite T-day recipes a week early and share them with some good friends.
The bird was made with what is becoming my standard turkey recipe on the Big Green Egg.
A new recipe for this year was Michael Ruhlman’s custardy Thanksgiving Dressing.
1 cup butter
4 medium onions, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups turkey or chicken stock
16 cups cubed white bread (1 Udi’s gluten-free commercial 33 ounce, 20 slice loaf), torn into 1-inch chunks and left out to stale overnight
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then sweat the onions until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the sage and thyme and season with a tablespoon of sea or kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
Reduce the heat a bit and continue cooking until the onions have just about melted themselves into the butter, but have not started to brown (about another 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.
Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl. Add the turkey stock and whisk to combine.
In the biggest bowl you can find, combine the onion mixture, bread, custard (eggs and stock mixture), and parsley. Toss everything to coat, then set aside while the bread soaks up the custard. Stir and press the bread down into the liquid every 10 minutes or so until all of it is wet.
Butter a 6-quart baking dish (this recipe expands as it cooks, so use a bigger dish than you think you need) and pour in the stuffing. Dot the top of the stuffing with extra butter. Cover and bake until the mixture has set (45 to 60 minutes), then uncover and bake until golden and crispy on top (another 15 to 30 more minutes).
Continuing with the butterscotch kick I’ve been on, dessert was Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino topped with David Lebovitz’s Best Chocolate Sauce.
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed raw or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
In a large bowl, combine the cream and milk and set aside.
In a large, heavy pot, combine the sugar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often to prevent burning. Cook until the sugar has caramelized to deep, dark brown and starts to smells nutty.
Reduce the heat slightly and continue whisking for a teensy bit longer until you get that first bitter whiff of the sugar starting to burn.
Remove from the heat immediately and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Be careful – as it will steam and spit and the sugar will seize. Return to the heat and continue whisking until the sugar melts and caramel is fully combined. Increase the heat and bring to a boil while stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Temper the egg mixture by slowing adding about half of the caramel cream, 1/2 cup at a time, while whisking constantly.
When the egg mixture is warm, pour it back into the caramel cream and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a very thick custard forms (about 2 to 3 minutes).
Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and rum, stirring until the butter has completely melted. Pour the custard into your serving dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
The Best Chocolate Sauce Recipe
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder. When all of the sugar has dissolved and it just begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted.
Pour into a covered container and stash in the refrigerator until just before you are ready to use it. Rewarm before serving.
Between these recipes and the dishes our friends brought, it was a very fine meal, a lovely evening, and we have much to be thankful for.
I see all of these recipes making repeat appearances on our table. This is the second year for this turkey recipe, and it is definitely a keeper – moist, tender, and tasty.
The dressing was just plain outstanding. I never would have thought of dressing as just a savory custard, but it tasted great – very rich and dense, but not at all gummy like some dressings can get. Next time, I would combine the stock with the onion/herb mixture, let them simmer together for a bit to infuse the flavors, then taste and adjust seasonings before mixing everything together. Also, adding a bit of sausage wouldn’t hurt either.
The budino was amazingly rich and thick. It was almost more of a ganache than a pudding or custard. And the chocolate sauce was the perfect foil for it – the semi-sweetness playing well with the burnt sugar to keep it from being too sweet. Definitely a dish to serve with coffee.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone!