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!
I love stopping by the Black Cat Farmstand at the Boulder Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings to see what Chef/Farmer Eric Skokan is harvesting. I’ve been getting into the habit of letting him suggest I try something, and then I ask him how I’m going to prepare it. He almost effortlessly rattles off a recipe to highlight something seasonal, and I rush home inspired to try it. This past week I bought his first harvest of green beans. They were a light green color, which leads me to believe they have some special name other than “green beans,” but for the purpose of this post, they were Black Cat Farm Green Beans. Chef Skokan suggested I blanch them, cool them off, and add them to a potato saldad in a mustard vinaigrette. So, that’s exactly what I did. I bought a pound of local purple potatoes from the market that day and boiled them after blanching 2 big handfulls of the beans. When they were cool, I coarsely chopped them, mixed them with the green beans, and tossed them in a maple mustard vinaigrette. I let this chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving with turkey burgers and corn on the cob. A perfect summer meal. For a simple Maple Mustard Vinaigrette, whisk together:
- 2 TB Grade B Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
- 2 TB Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 cup Walnut Oil
- 1 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
- a splash of soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/4 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 3 tsp OJ