Friday, December 03, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is such an ordeal anymore since Mr Minx and I basically act as caterers. I miss the days when we could lounge around in our pajamas and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade before leisurely packing up and heading to our dinner destination! Things have changed, however, and for the past two years we've headed over to my brother-in-law's at 9am in order to get the poultry started.

Despite our issues, the food is always good. :)

After last year's duo of turkey, I decided that this year I would instead make duck. Oh, and a turkey breast. But first, the duck. I used Sally Schneider's recipe from A New Way to Cook, minus the thyme, because I wanted to serve the meat like Peking duck, with tortillas in place of Chinese pancakes, plus hoisin sauce and scallions.

Looks like the real thing, no?
To keep things Thanksgiving-y, I made cranberry hoisin. And to keep with the Asian theme, the traditional green bean casserole became Sichuan green beans. Everything else was basically the same as always: corn pudding, steamed Brussels sprouts with lemongrass oil, mashed potatoes, and dressing - two kinds this time: my colorful concoction of veggies and Martin's Potatobred cubes, and my BIL's regular overly-squishy recipe. Dad contributed a sweet potato casserole with roasted pineapple and toasted macadamia nut toppings, and we had bakery-bought pies for dessert. (Thank God for bakery pies! Ours were from Yia Yia's, in Rosedale - their pumpkin pie is quite rich and delicious.)


Oh yeah - I forgot the turkey breast. Despite my dislike for turkey, I have to admit that this was pretty good. Mr Minx found a recipe for grilled turkey in a Steven Raichlen book; it involved injecting the beast with a mixture of chicken stock and Cajun seasoning, and cooking it over indirect heat with a packet of wood chips. The resulting body part was wonderfully moist and juicy with a subtle smoky flavor. I'll admit I would have eaten it, were it not for the duck.

You can find the duck recipe at the link above, and here are a couple of others:

Chock-full of Veggies Dressing

giblets from two ducks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided use
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, washed and chopped
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh scallions
16 cups stuffing cubes
4 cups vegetable, chicken, or pork stock

Saute the giblets (except the livers) in 1 tablespoon butter until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add livers and cook an additional five minutes. Allow to cool and chop finely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and remaining butter to skillet. When butter melts, add celery, onion, leek, mushrooms, and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover skillet, and cook 15-20 minutes until vegetables soften, then add scallions and giblets to the pan and combine. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl with vegetables. Moisten the dressing with stock until all of the bread is moist but not wet (you may not need all of the stock).

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with release spray. Pour in dressing and do not smooth top (you want more nooks and crannies for more crunch). Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes to crisp top.

Cranberry Hoisin sauce

3 tablespoons black bean sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons soy
3 tablespoons jellied cranberry sauce

Mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Apricot Ginger Cranberry Sauce

6 canned apricot halves, chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
12 ounces fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon minced ginger

Place ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened, 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl or other glass container and refrigerate until chilled. Serve cold.