We had the honor and pleasure of cooking Thanksgiving again this year for a really great family.
I bought a local turkey as I did last year from Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, CO. Unlike last year when I arrived at the farm to find a woman seated at a desk in the garage near a large refrigerator distributing chilled birds to anyone who had pre-ordered, this year I walked into a slaughtering/de-feathering/cleaning of turkeys small-scale processing line that I was not expecting at all. Our bird hadn’t even been chilled as she had been slaughtered just a few hours prior to pickup. Talk about having a real understanding of where our food comes from! I have that image seared into my memory… and will spare you the few photos I took.
We’re very fortunate to purchase such a quality turkey, so it’s extra important to me to serve it with all made from scratch accompaniments and sides.
I made the caramelized onion gravy base on Tuesday night. I’ve been making this gravy for more than ten years now, and each year I think it tastes better than the last. The butter and onions cooked low and slow for six hours. Six. Hours.
I started with a full pot and snapped a photo every couple of hours…
…until I couldn’t resist spooning it into my mouth.
Wednesday I made my pumpkin pie, but failed to snap a photo. I also made a cranberry sauce with roasted shallots and mandarin zest.
Thursday, Chef and I cooked the rest of the meal on site in their Boulder home. The beautiful bird went into the 325 degree oven after being rubbed with butter and herbs. She amazingly and somewhat surprisingly appeared done after just under two hours. That was a fast cooker!
I put together a wild rice stuffing while Sean made a sweet potato and chevre gratin, which has now become a Thanksgiving tradition for this family.
The ingredients in this dish are simply sinful- The health benefits of sweet potatoes are far outnumbered by the cheese and heavy cream combo. But, that’s what makes it so GOOD too!
While the gratin baked, Sean worked on maple glazed carrots in a cast iron skillet.
Next, he assembled green beans in shallot butter topped with fried shallots.
We added the pan juices to the gravy base, carved the bird,
And set up a small buffet for them.
We can’t wait until next year!
- 1 cup whole oats (I toasted mine for 10-15 minutes on a baking sheet while preheating the oven)
- 1 cup oat bran
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 cup grated coconut (unsweetened)
- 1/3 cup sunflower kernels
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup dried apricots (I had some California apricots) coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins, coarsely chopped
- 12 TB ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
- 1 TB cinnamon
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp baking soda (I live at high altitude, so I used 3/4 tsp baking soda)