Home Cooking: A quick and easy Thanksgiving in 3 dishes
A quick and easy Thanksgiving in three dishes? It’s possible! You can prep these dishes a day or two in advance and reheat them on Thanksgiving. Ask guests to bring appetizers and pie, and everyone can relax and enjoy watching the Thanksgiving parade and, my personal favorite, the National Dog Show afterward.
Roasted maple rosemary turkey breast with colorful root vegetables
- 1 turkey breast
- A variety of root vegetables, such as:
- 3-4 multicolored young carrots, peeled, tops trimmed
- 3-4 red and gold beets, peeled and quartered
- 2 red onions, outer skin removed, quartered
- Other options:
- Brussels sprouts
- Potatoes cut into large chunks
- 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Maple rosemary flavored butter
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon Southwestern seasoning
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed
- Process all ingredients in a food processor or a small bowl
In a large Dutch oven, place the turkey breast, skin side up, and surround the turkey with the hearty root vegetables you chose. Sprinkle the vegetables with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Next, separate a pocket of skin from the turkey breast underneath, slide a tablespoon of flavored butter into the pockets on each side of the breast, then rub the surface of the breast with the rest of the butter. Use a few pieces of butter to dot the top of the vegetables.
Roast in a 350 degree oven, just until the turkey breast skin is browned, about 30 minutes. Baste the turkey and vegetables with the juices and melted butter at the bottom of the pan, then cover the Dutch oven with its lid and allow the turkey and the vegetables to braise in the cooking liquid about one hour cook until the turkey is cooked through and the vegetables are tender to the point of a knife. This method will keep the turkey and the vegetables incredibly moist, and the vegetables will retain their bright autumn colors. This can be prepared a day or two before and reheated
Roasted pumpkin soup in a pumpkin
- Medium cooking pumpkin
- 1 apple, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup smoked Gouda, diced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 sprigs thyme
The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made in one medium size pumpkin to serve all of your guest from one pumpkin, or you could easily do this in individual pumpkins, as well. The principle is absolutely the same and quite easy
Choose a medium size pumpkin, cut the top off, clean out the insides getting the strings and seeds from the interior of the pumpkin. When you’re cutting the top, don’t cut it too deep because you’re creating a bowl in which the soup will be cooked.
Place the pumpkin into a Dutch oven after rubbing the exterior of the pumpkin and the interior of the Dutch oven with a little bit of cooking oil. Place the diced apple, onion and cheese in the interior of the pumpkin. I used smoked Gouda because I love the way the smoky cheese pairs with the onion and apple. Pour 2 cups each of heavy cream and chicken stock into the pumpkin, add a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, a pinch of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and top with two sprigs of fresh thyme.
Place the pumpkin top back on the pumpkin, roast at 400 for 30 minutes, then take the top off the pumpkin and roast for an additional 30-45 minutes. You’ll know the pumpkin is done when the exterior can be pierced with the tip of a knife.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and scrape down the pumpkin meat into the center of the pumpkin to join the rest of the soup. Using an immersion blender, blend until you have a beautiful creamy smooth soup. Add warm chicken stock to thin the soup if it’s too thick. Taste and adjust your seasonings.
Serve the pumpkin soup in the pumpkin or a soup tureen. It is absolutely the best pumpkin soup.
Cornbread sausage stuffing/dressing
- 5 cups cornbread, crumbled
- 4 cups bread cubes, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground pork sausage (optional)
- 1 cup celery, diced and including celery leaves
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
Put the cornbread and bread cubes into a large bowl, add half-and-half, eggs, herbs and allow the bread to absorb the liquid. (For the cornbread, I bake my own, but you can buy it already baked. For the bread cubes, I used store-bought, day-old baguettes that I lightly toast in the oven until they are dry.)
Cook the sausage and place in a separate bowl. (Omit the sausage, and it’s still delicious.) In the same frying pan, with the grease from the pork, cook the celery and onion until softened. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the sausage. Allow it cool, then add it to the bowl containing the cornbread mixture. Mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Put mixture into a baking dish, add broth so that the dressing is moist. Let stand for 30 minutes for liquid to be fully absorbed into the bread. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through and top is crisp.
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It was your typical ranch truck that stopped next to us — dirty, dented and hauling a horse trailer. Inside, silhouetted by the sun, were two cowboy hats and a gun rack.