Thanksgiving Recipes! Bacon Herbed Turkey, Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Sauce

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Thanksgiving Recipes! Bacon Herbed Turkey, Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Sauce

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As promised, here are the recipes from a very merry Paleo Thanksgiving, starting with the bird, of course! Below, you will also find instructions for the Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Easy Orangey Cranberry Sauce. Injoy!

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Brined, Herb Roasted Turkey

Brining is the process of soaking meat in a salt solution. The saltwater is absorbed into the meat, adding extra moisture. The result is that the turkey will hold onto more juices and flavor than it would otherwise. I’m the first to admit, brining can be a bit of a hassle, and while I relish spending all day in the kitchen, I work with a lot of folks that don’t. That’s why they hire me, to learn all the shortcuts possible and still acquire the most nourishment from their meals. That being said, this is an area where it really pays off to take the extra time and make it over-the-top. Once you try brining, it will be hard to go back to the old way of doing things.

Brine

· 1 cup salt

· 1⁄4 cup molasses

· 3⁄4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar

· 2 oranges, skins scrubbed thoroughly and cut in quarters

· 2 lemons, skins scrubbed thoroughly and cut in quarters

· 6 sprigs thyme

· 4 sprigs rosemary

· 1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey

· 1 large orange, scrubbed and cut into 1/8ths

· 4 tablespoons refined coconut oil (refined oil has less coconut flavor) OPTIONAL: sub unsalted butter at room temperature

· Salt and pepper

· 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8ths

· 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

· 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces

· 2 bay leaves

· 5 sprigs thyme

· 4sprigs rosemary

· 1/2 bunch sage

· 3 or 4 sprigs parsley

· 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting

1. To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt, molasses and sugar in 8 cups of water on the stove. Add this to 2 gallons of cold water in a nonreactive container (such as a clean bucket or large ceramic stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, food grade plastic storage bag).

2. Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup sucanat for every gallon of water.

3. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey. (I recommend putting them immediately on the stove in a pot of water to begin making a stock for the gravy. It is incredibly nutritious to utilize these organs meats. They can also be incorporated into a soup stock with the carcass or roasted separately and enjoyed.)

4. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water. Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

6. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels both inside and out. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large, heavy roasting pan.

7. Rub breast side with orange segments and rub on all sides with the coconut oil or butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper.

8. Stuff the turkey with the onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley. Slip some herbs under the skin on the breast side between the meat and connective tissue. For added silly fun, place two lemon halves under the skin to give the lady turkey effect.

9. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.

10. Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.

11. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time.

12. Wrap the turkey in smoked maple bacon for the remaining duration of the cooking time for added moisture and flavor. (optional)

13. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.

14. Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

15. Don’t forget to make a wish with the wishbone!

16. Also, save the bacon to blend with the turkey drippings and stock to make gravy. This was seriously the best idea I’ve ever had.

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Maple Bacon Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

So many of the people in my life make a scrunched face when I mention Brussels sprouts being one of my very favorite vegetables. Like anything, there is a right way and a wrong way to enjoy this earthy veggie. Roasting is the perfect way to bring out the delicate flavors and create the best texture possible. And really, adding bacon makes pretty much anything delicious.

· 2 lbs Brussels sprouts

· 6 slices thick cut bacon

· 1/4 cup real maple syrup

· 2 large shallots

· 2 Tbsp bacon fat (drained from bacon)

· sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook bacon, draining all but a tablespoon or so of fat into a glass bowl.

2. Cook shallots in the leftover fat in the pan.

3. Cut large sprouts in half.

4. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts in fat and maple syrup. Sprinkle with salt and fresh paper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are browned.

5. While the sprouts are roasting, chop the bacon into small pieces and add to the shallots.

6. Remove sprouts from oven and add bacon mixture.

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Easy Orangey Cranberry Sauce

I tend to have a negative visceral response to the cranberry sauce of my childhood. The suction sound it makes as it’s exiting the can, the shape of all the little rivets that it holds, just standing there in the bowl, the overly sweet, metallic flavor. With cranberry sauce this easy to make, you’ll never need that purple canned stuff again!

· 1 bag of fresh cranberries

· Zest of 1 organic orange (Best to get organic since we will be using the skin.)

· 1/2 cup maple syrup

· 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (Optional, to turn some or all of your cranberry sauce into a chutney.)

1. Bring cranberries, orange zest and maple syrup to a slow boil and then simmer for 10-20 minutes, until thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

2. Add walnuts while it’s cooling.

Thanksgiving 2013! Lessons Learned and a Lovely Day in Photos

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Things have been pretty eventful around the Delightenment Kitchen so far this holiday season. Thanksgiving was a wonderful day filled with friends, relaxation, some beautiful sunny outdoor time and plenty of cooks in the kitchen. No holiday is right without a few missteps and opportunities to learn something new. Here are a few tips I learned, followed by Thanksgiving 2013 in photos!

1) Oven bags are not brining bags. This is kind of a no-brainer, I realize. (Or a no-briner, really. Hehe.) Somehow I thought I could make it work. (With a 20lb turkey! Silly girl.) Though, after running around to any open grocery store in the area at 10pm Wednesday night, the boys saved the day with a cooler just the right size. That little blue cooler is now the official tool for large meat marinating.

2) Always ALWAYS check (and re-check) your instant read thermometer and make sure it is not set to Celsius. This mishap was caught just in time and only resulted in the bird being a few more degrees than intended.

3) Wrapping the turkey in bacon once it’s breast side up is delicious, keeps the meat moist and makes the most wonderful gravy I’ve ever tasted. It also may cause a grease fire.

4) When a grease fire erupts and threatens to engulf the kitchen:

1. Do not blow on it.

2. Do not whip a towel at it.

3. Do not run around the kitchen with your hands over your head yelling. It’s not helpful.

4. Don’t bother with the fire extinguisher (it’s just too messy).

5. DO grab some white vinegar and baking soda, mix in a jar (quickly) and toss it at the base of the fire. This chemical reaction creates carbon dioxide and smothers the fire. Thanks Titus!!

5) And lastly, I’ve known this since childhood, it’s always my favorite part of the holiday season, but here it is anyway… Pumpkin pie, especially the gluten-free, dairy-free (made with coconut milk, yum!) low sugar variety that Katie creates, makes an excellent breakfast! Even better thank dessert! I’m thinking next year we should have one for dessert and make one specifically for breakfast the next couple of days.

Anywho… A photo essay. (Recipes will be included in a follow up post.) Injoy!

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Citrus fruits and delicious herbs from the garden for brining.

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The turkey’s in!! Molasses, plenty of pink sea salt and lots of love.

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I have never seen the dogs quite so attentive as when I’m rubbing butter and spices under the skin of a 20 lb. turkey!

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Slow simmering the neck and organs into a stock on the stovetop makes for a delicious and nutritious base for gravy!

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Bird goes in breast side down for the first hour or so to ensure a slower cooking of the tender breast meat.

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Don’t forget to have a good breakfast! We went with green smoothies and latkes (Happy Chanukah) made by Titus!

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The ladies carried on the tradition of taking a walk and collecting lots of live natural objects for the centerpiece. Here’s Pepper putting on the finishing touches.

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Orange cranberry sauce on it’s way….

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Delicata squash roasted with cinnamon, cloves, coriander and nutmeg.Also, brussel sprouts with shallots and maple smoked bacon.

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Lightly blanched green beans with ginger and garlic. Scalloped potatoes with goat cheese and fresh herbs.

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I will totally buy the love of dogs with bacon. That is all.

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Aaaaaaand… the guest of honor. Thank you delicious turkey for sacrificing your life so that we may come together and be nourished and celebrate. Also, the pig who’s bacon got into several dishes and was even wrapped around the turkey for a good portion of the roasting. (Not pictured.) Namaste.

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Dessert time! Gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie; GF/DF apple crumble pie, with apples from the front yard tree. And (oops) frozen coconut whipped cream!! Such a wonderful meal with lots of fantastic leftovers!

Vegan Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

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I love making this dish for my vegan friends, but when I cook for myself, I tend to incorporate it with an entrée that has more of a paleo approach, ie. not-so-vegan ingredients. Like chicken (pictured). This pesto recipe has walnuts in the place of the Parmesan cheese, and plenty of fresh basil and garlic. Although my diet is not entirely dairy-free, I actually enjoy this pesto more that the cheesy variety. It’s fresh and light and delicious raw as well as baked (as in the stuffed mushrooms). For a raw meal, just incorporate it into a salad, add it to raw zucchini pasta, or use as a dip for cucumber, broccoli, carrots etc. This dish can be wonderful as an appetizer or, as I like to present it, as part of a main dish with a protein and vegetable. Makes a great holiday recipe! Injoy!

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     Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts

2 cups fresh basil

½ cup high quality olive oil

2-4 cloves garlic

1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

12 mini Portobello mushrooms

     Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until incorporated, but slightly chunky.

3. Pull stems off of mushrooms and place them face up in a 9×13 baking dish. Spray lightly with olive oil.

4. Fill each mushroom with 1-1 ½ Tbls. pesto.

5. Set some aside if you’d like to include a bit of dressing on fish or chicken.

6. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

 

Superfood Spotlight: Chia Seeds

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Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may be familiar with the name as an ancient staple for the Aztec and Mayan diets, or much more likely, as a popular novelty item, the Chia Pet.

Chia seeds have long been known to have an abundance of essential nutrients. Here is a break down:

1. They are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function.

2. Chia seeds’ lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids

3. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer.

4. Chia seeds have one of the highest levels of antioxidants in a whole food.

5. Chia is a wonderful source for calcium.  Three tablespoons contains 307 milligrams of calcium.

6. Chia seed is easily digested and does not need to be ground.

7. Chia seeds are often recommended for diabetics because the balance of soluble and insoluble fiber slows the absorption of glucose.

I also love Chia seeds because they make a great substitute for egg in vegan cooking or baking. Just add 1 Tablespoon of Chia seeds to 3 Tablespoons of water. In about 20 minutes, it will turn into a gel equivalent to one egg. Also, because it’s nutritional profile and stability, Chia seeds will store up to two years in a dry place. Use in baking, add to smoothies, or try this great pudding. Injoy!