Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Way to Come Together And Make Things Better

Thanksgiving morning. Pecan pie with orange scented whipped cream atop. Really hot coffee. We don't take this day lightly. It truly is about giving thanks. It really does help to remember why your life doesn't suck.

I'm writing this a month later so its a bit of a blur but I remember a lot of football, at a very loud volume...maybe also watching some coverage of the Macy's Day parade. As usual we had snacks. To commemorate P's St Louis roots (even though he's from Illinois), I made fried ravioli with marinara dipping sauce. This was a fun choice and nice starter.

Next I put out some deep fried pickled jalapeno slices with ranch dressing dip. Also very sort of midwestern. Cornball appetizers.

Then to class it up a bit I did an Arugula Salad with Pomegranate seeds and Walnuts in a lemon garlic vinaigrette. Moving.

This year I decided to try something new with the turkey. I took it down south for a Smothered Turkey in Cajun gravy. I had previously cut up the bird like a chicken for frying. I seasoned and massaged the skin with spices, butter, fresh herbs and pan seared it before putting in the oven to bake.

The gravy I started making a stock with the giblets, celery, onion, garlic. I made a roux, used the stock and a little wine, thyme and Cajun seasoning with a little cream at the end.

After the meat was tender, I poured on all the hot savory gravy to smother and heated until all flavors combined.

While the turkey was making that smell that fills the house, I prepared the sides. A nice creamed leek casserole. //

I baked my potatoes early and scooped out the insides ready to make some seriously outrageous stuffing, including lotso bacon, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, butter and milk with more cheese on top.

I basted my turkey with the gravy until it was falling off the bone and the smell was almost unbearably good.

The leeks casserole was done and bubbly.

Now to make the Utimate Mexican cornbread. This is made with canned creamed corn, buttermilk, fresh penos, canned green chiles, cheddar cheese, but no sugar. No words.

Anytime you go against the traditional you wonder if you will miss the green bean casserole or the stuffing. This time I have to say, nothing was missed. The potatoes were so decadent. They reminded me of a stocking stuffed with gifts. And the leeks were dreamy and angelic. But the turkey was so juicy and succulent. And with that cornbread to absorb all that extra flavorful gravy it just hit that spot. I'd do that again for sure. And it would be a cool thing to do only with legs or wings for single people not wanting a whole bird.

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