Thanksgiving: Light vs Heavy Ways of Celebration
Thanksgiving originated in the former US in 1621, the day the first Pilgrims gathered their first harvest in the New World. The first celebration is believed to be attended by 90 Native Americans who actually taught Pilgrims to grow unfamiliar plants, particularly corn and beans. Turkey is the reminder of the 'Four Wild Turkeys' served at the first celebration, and the other traditional foods for the holiday are pumpkins and cranberries which are of North American origin as well.
The celebration is held in memory of friendship between colonists and natives and also as traditional autumn harvest holiday: as it is presently celebrated in the third Thursday of November, everything should be gathered by the time.
The actual name of the holiday implies that, whatever was harvested, people should be grateful towards nature and God for delivering us food for living.
As for the dining table the classic way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to make use of the mentioned products: bake the whole Turkey with cranberry sauce, accompany it with sweet corn pudding as a side dish and do not forget the pumpkin pie for dessert. The only missing thing seems to be an appropriate drink, and you are good to go.
Nevertheless, we see some more original ways to celebrate it – in terms of food.
Saying 'light', we mean that you would rather see less calories on the table. Rather go for turkey salad with cheese and olives. If you just cannot put traditions aside and are going to bake the whole turkey anyway, the recipe below may also be of use for turkey leftover. Start up with white wine as aperitif and/or think of some drinks that would warm up the conversation after the feast.
Preparation is fast and easy so you have enough time left to enjoy the holiday in countless other ways, beside from cooking and eating.
'Heavy' stands for meatier, fattier and spicier meals. You might want to serve these with hard alcohol. Turkey with foie-gras-and-black-truffle stuffing, that is it. Also, it takes more time and effort, and requires preliminary preparations.
1 ½ cups olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
3 cups roasted turkey breast, sliced thick and cubed
3 cups cooked penne pasta
1 (16 ounce) jar pitted kalamata olives, drained, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 (5 ounce) package spring lettuce mix
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup thinly sliced red onions
Blend and put aside garlic, oregano, olive oil and vinegar.
The rest of the ingredients have to be mixed up in a bowl of appropriate size. Generously add up the dressing. Serve cooled or at the room temperature.
Couldn’t be any easier?
Whole Roasted Turkey with Stuffing
Marinated foie gras:
1 lb. Grade-A foie-gras slices or pieces
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. Madeira
½ tsp. Cognac
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. pink curing salt
½ tsp. sugar
3 cups kosher salt
1 tsp. pink curing salt
3 ¼ cups unsalted butter
4 ¼ cups brioche crumbs
1 to 2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbs. truffle oil
1 ¾ oz. black truffle, chopped
10 thyme sprigs
5 lemons, halved
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 heads garlic, split horizontally
Preparations must start two days before the actual feast.
Marinated foie gras:
If needed, bring foie gras to room temperature to soften, then remove hard tissues. Pass foie gras through a sieve and season with salt, pink salt, sugar and pepper. Put into a Ziploc-like bag. Add Madeira and Cognac and suck out excess air with a straw. Put the sealed bag into the fridge and let it marinate for exactly one day. After that, bring it to the room temperature and put into a bowl. Then, blend the substance once again with mixer. Cover it and put into the fridge until foie gras hardens. Blend it to fluffy state the next day.
Pick a stockpot big enough to mix pink salt and kosher salt in 2 ½ gallons of water and let it simmer on medium heat until the salt dissolves. Safely transfer the brine to a large plastic container and cool it to the room temperature. Rinse the turkey under cold water, trim the wing tips and be sure to remove its neck from the cavity. Submerge the turkey into the brine and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
Combine foie gras and butter in the bowl and blend until well mixed, then add one by one brioche crumbs, salt, and truffle oil. Be sure to blend it on low speed, and, finally, add up black truffles. (see truffles for sale) Transfer to a piping bag.
After you take the turkey from brine and rinse it, you will have to separate its skin from meat almost everywhere, leaving it attached at the center of its sternum, so the bird maintains its shape while being roasted. The job is done with a blunt knife or with fingers, just be careful not to rip the skin.
Take pipe bag with the stuffing and pipe the stuffing first under the skin of both legs, then thighs, and breasts until it is somewhat less than an inch layer of stuffing all over the turkey all distributed evenly so the bird looks neat. Season the cavity with lemon halves, thyme sprigs, split garlic heads and salt. Refrigerate until the stuffing hardens.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, truss the turkey with twine and generously cover all the skin with softened butter. Wrap the bird in plastic and refrigerate until the butter hardens which may take about half an hour. Season the skin with salt, put the bird into a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 2 – 2 ½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches up to 150 degrees. Set it to rotate half a circle while roasting.
When the bird is ready, let it chill down for about 30min before carving.
You probably do not plan playing Twister after your meals, do you? Consider a pumpkin pie for a dessert if you still can spare it some space in your belly.
Tasty and healthy food is definitely among the things that make you happy. So, enjoy your celebration time with your nearest and dearest.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!