This year we did Thanksgiving as well as a ladies Christmas potluck. I love hosting and preparing a menu for friends but it can be exhausting. I’m a big fan of hosting potlucks because it’s so much easier and less pressure. Everyone brings something to share. On the other hand it is sometimes nice to host a full dinner party yourself because you control everything and it feels great to serve others. As the only American in the family over here in Madrid most of the Thanksgiving responsibility is bound to fall on me even though my lovely sister in law is now the appointed pumpkin pie baker. Slowly but surely everyone is getting involved and my Thanksgiving’s over here get better each year.
Here’s our menu.
S T U F F I N G
I love Ina Garten’s Sausage and Herb Stuffing
I follow her recipe and use 4 baguettes of bread. This year I didn’t add salt to the stuffing going into the turkey because the salt from the brine would go into that. This is my number one Thanksgiving dish. I could eat these bready leftovers forever.
T U R K E Y
The turkey is so important and causes me the most stress. Somehow I have managed not to completely screw it up over the past few years. This year we tried something new and did a brine.
B R I N E
For a 12-15 lb turkey.
2c sea salt
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp black pepper corns, crushed
3 sprigs rosemary, thyme and sage
2.5 gallons cold water
Mix salt in water until dissolved. Place turkey breast side down in large plastic bag. Leave in brine for 12 hours. Remove from fridge and brine one hour before roasting. Rinse turkey and drain well.
Stuff turkey. Rub with olive oil and put butter and garlic between skin and meat. Add a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme to the cavity and on legs and wings.
Add a few coils of aluminum foil to the bottom of turkey roasting pan. Place turkey on foils breast side up. Add a few cups of chicken broth to bottom of pan. Roast at 325°F (160°C) basting every 30 minutes or so. Cover with aluminum foil if it browns too quickly. Turkey is done when thermometer reads 165°F in the thickest part of the leg and in stuffing.
W H I T E W I N E P A N G R A V Y
Turkey drippings 2-3 cups
1c white wine
1/2 tbsp dried sage
Pour liquid from turkey pan into a large measuring cup. Place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and scrape off excess fat. Heat the same turkey pan over low heat scraping off the drippings. Add 1/2c wine to deglaze pan. Add butter and melt. Add flour while whisking to make a roux. Continue whisky about five minutes until it is a nice golden brown. Add remaining wine and let it reduce down. Slowly add the broth. Continue stirring until mixture thickens. Add sage and season with salt and pepper.
G R E E N B E A N C A S S E R O L E
1kg green beans, fresh is better
500g cremini mushrooms, sliced
1tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
2 cans Campbells cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
2 cups crunchy fried onions
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
First cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and set aside.
In a large frying pan or cast iron skillet heat olive oil. Cook mushrooms until browned on both sides. Add butter and thyme. Continue cooking until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Add soup, milk, cooked green beans and 1cup onions to pan. Mix. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake at 175°C for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining onions and cook 5-10 more minutes.
Another side we did was one that I featured a few weeks ago and it was a hit. Josemi’s father is amazing and was able to detect all of the ingredients in this dish just after having one bite.
For dessert my sister in law always makes a classic pumpkin pie and I normally make my mom’s apple crisp. This year we got a Costco (yes, I finally went to Spain Costco and I love it) apple pie to take off some of the stress with all of the preparations.