Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #6
You will never eat bagged stuffing again. The chestnuts are a tasty but pricey addition; the stuffing would still be delicious if you decide to leave them out.
Chestnut Leek Apple Parsley Stuffing
What I changed (reflected below) and why: Used a combination of white bread and whole wheat bagels since I had both around; Did not discard crust because that seemed like a waste (and who wants to de-crust a bagel?); Halved the butter since it seemed plenty; Did not peel apple for nutrition; Lessened chestnuts since 14-16oz appeared way too many; Substituted half-and-half for cream; Increased parsley for nutrition and for stronger flavor.6 cups (1/2-inch) bread cubes (mixture of types is fine) 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups) 1/2 stick unsalted butter 2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick 1 teaspoon chopped thyme 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 2 cups bottled peeled roasted chestnuts (about 10 oz), halved 1 cup half-and-half 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake bread cubes in a large 4-sided sheet pan in upper third of oven until dried slightly, about 15 minutes, then remove from oven. (Alternatively, leave out to dry at room temperature 8 to 24 hours.) Then increase oven temperature to 450°F.
2. Meanwhile, wash and chop leeks. Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then cook leeks and celery, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add thyme, apples, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until apples are just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread, chestnuts, half-and-half, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a 2 1/2-to 3-quart shallow baking dish.
3. (Stuffing can be assembled, but not baked, 1 day ahead and chilled and covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.) Bake, uncovered, in lower third of oven until heated through and top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #5
At the end of a big holiday meal (particularly one with the Gourmet Thanksgiving dishes I have been making), you’re probably going to be pretty full.
Nonetheless, you’re going to want dessert. And face it, no matter how full you are, you’re not going to want baked apples or fat free pumpkin frozen yogurt. You want a real Thanksgiving dessert.
Enter: Pumpkin Pie Mini-Soufflés. Richer and more flavorful than pumpkin pie, yet crustless and pre-portioned in individual ramekins. Have your soufflé and eat it too, and feel great afterwards.
Pumpkin Pie Mini-Soufflés
What I changed (reflected below) and why: Half and half instead of whole milk because I never have whole milk on hand; doubled spices for enhanced flavor; succanat instead of white sugar for added nutrition and molasses flavor; skipped the confectioner’s sugar on top, whipped cream and bourbon molasses sauce to save time and because I liked how the soufflés tasted alone.1/2 cup half and half 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground allspice 1/8 tsp ground cloves 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon succanat, divided, plus additional for coating ramekins 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin (from a 15-oz can, not pie filling) 10 large egg whites 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Whisk together half and half, cornstarch, spices, and 1 Tbsp succanat in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking, then simmer, whisking, 2 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in pumpkin. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in lower third. Butter ramekins and coat with succanat, knocking out excess, then put in a large shallow baking pan.
4. Beat egg whites with salt in another large bowl using an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Add remaining 3/4 cup succanat a little at a time, beating, then beat until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks, 1 to 2 minutes more.
5. Fold one third of whites into cooled pumpkin mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Divide mixture among eight 6-oz ramekins, mounding it.
6. Bake soufflés until puffed and golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Soufflés will deflate with time.
Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #3
Gorgeous, easy to make, and ridiculously delicious. Be sure to make these! Bet you can’t eat just six.
Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese Balls1 cup pecans (1/4 lb) 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 (11-oz) log soft goat cheese 2 teaspoons minced rosemary (I used dried) 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed with side of a large knife, then chopped About 50 to 60 large flat-leaf parsley leaves
1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in upper third. Toss pecans with butter, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then toast in a 4-sided sheet pan until fragrant and a shade darker, 8 to 10 minutes. (Watch them very closely. If some happen to get a little burnt/dark, don’t worry- I thought it added a “smokey” taste and we still gobbled them up.) Transfer to a plate and cool completely.
2. Chop pecans rather finely, then transfer to a wide shallow bowl.
3. Stir together goat cheese, rosemary, coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until combined well. Form teaspoons of cheese mixture into marbles between your palms, then roll in pecans to coat and roll between your palms again briefly. Transfer to a plate.
4. Put a parsley leaf over each cheese marble and spear together with a wooden pick.
Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #2
Perhaps the most delicious way to eat collard greens, particularly for those who dislike bitter-tasting collards and/or vegetarians who can’t do the collard greens & bacon thing.
When you get to step 3, be generous with the filling in each leaf. I had extra which I put in romaine leaves. As you can see in the photo, they’re not as pretty (though surprisingly still tasty, but not as good as the collards).
Wild Mushroom and Collard Green Bundles8 large collard leaves, stems and thick portion of center ribs removed 1/2 cup vermouth 2 tablespoons shallot, finely diced 1 teaspoon minced garlic 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 1 lb mixed fresh wild mushrooms: shitake, oyster, and chanterelle, cut into wedges (6 cups)
Gourmet Thanksgiving in Advance (described here) Recipe #1.
A refreshing, sweet/tart accompaniment to turkey and mashed potatoes. It’s worth it to find quince, which has a pear-like consistency when cooked and a festive winter holiday flavor.
Cranberry, Quince, and Pearl Onion Compote
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, November 20081/2 lb pearl onions (2 cups) – the recipe says “red preferred,” but I could only find white
1. Trim root end of each onion and cut an X in it. Blanch in boiling water 1 minute, then drain in a colander. Cool slighly, then peel. Be liberal in what you peel off, since the fibrous outer layers will compete with the texture of the final dish.
2. Bring juice, sugar, vinegar, and spices to a boil in a 3-qt heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add onions and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add quinces and continue simmering, uncovered, stirring occasionally until both onions and quinces are tender but not falling apart.
3. Add cranberries and simmer until tender but not falling apart, 5 to 8 minutes. Discard cloves (easier to find than I had feared!). Trasnfer fruit and onions to a bowl using a slotted spoon, then boil syrup, if necessary, until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour syrup over compote and cool to room temperature. (May be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.)