by Nancy Sweet, director, culinary programs and operations, Lincoln Land Community College
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Have you started planning yet? If not, these are my tried and true recipes that I use year after year. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as I do!
Adapted from Feast Magazine
2 gallons cold water, divided
2 ¼ cups kosher salt
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1/4 cup onion powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons celery seeds
about 10 pounds ice
1 12-14 pound turkey, totally thawed – I like to use a heritage breed
2 sticks butter, room temperature
3 cups panko bread crumbs
1 – 1 ½ cups fresh herbs like parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine 1 gallon water with salt, sugar, spices in a stock pan on medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar dissolved.
Pour into a brining container and add remaining gallon cold water. Submerge turkey in solution and add ice to cover. Brine 12 – 24 hours.
For a brining container, some options are a cooler with a trash bag inserted into it or a brand new 5 gallon bucket. If the weather is under 40 degrees, you can leave it outside. Otherwise, put the gallon bucket into a refrigerator.
Rinse and dry turkey after brining. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and herbs in a bowl. Starting at neck, carefully slide fingers or a wooden spoon between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Be careful not to tear it.
Spread 1 cup herbed bread crumb mixture over breast meat under skin, covering with about a ¼ inch of mixture. Add any remaining bread crumb mixture to cavity. Rub remaining butter on outside of turkey and generously salt and pepper outside of turkey.
Place turkey in oven in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 400°F. Reduce temperature to 350°F and continue roasting turkey for 1½ hours. Once breast begins to turn golden brown, place a sheet of foil over turkey breast. Continue to roast until golden all over and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F.
Transfer turkey to platter. Tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes, up to 60 minutes. Carve and serve.
Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Kale Stuffing
Adapted from the Food Network
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, loose
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thoroughly washed and sliced thin
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and chopped
1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
1 pound stale bread, such as baguette or focaccia, cubed
2 cups turkey or chicken broth/stock
1 cups cubed Parmesan, plus ¼ cup grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large dutch oven or heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the leeks and squash and season with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook until the leeks are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the kale, toss and cover until the kale wilts, about 4 minutes. Add the bread cubes and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and toss until the butter melts.
Whisk the eggs and chicken broth in a bowl until smooth; stir in the diced parmesan and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the broth mixture over the bread mixture; stir and cook until the liquid is absorbed by the bread, about 1 minute.
Transfer the bread mixture to the casserole dish. Scatter the shredded cheese evenly on top and bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes before serving.
4 bunches collard greens (mustard greens or a mix of collard and mustard greens can work, too), stems removed and chopped
6 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cups veg or chicken stock
1/4 cup malt or hot pepper vinegar
salt and pepper
Cook bacon in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until about halfway cooked through, about 4-6 minutes. Add diced onion and continue to cook until softened, about another 4 minutes.
Add greens and toss with bacon and onions. Add stock and stir. Cover and let cook about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar. Let cook another 10 minutes. Taste for additional seasoning of salt, pepper, or vinegar.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
6 tablespoons butter
2 ½ pounds assorted mushrooms, such as button, cremini, shiitake, Portobello, cleaned and chopped into small pieces
1 shallot, minced
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup dry sherry or brandy or Marsala wine
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup fresh chives
1, 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
In a large heavy skillet, add 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and let cook about 3 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and let cook until liquid from them has been released and evaporated. Stir occasionally. Once skillet is about dry, add in thyme and salt and pepper and cook another 1 – 2 minutes. Add sherry/brandy/marsala and cook until skillet is almost dry again, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool.
With mixer, beat cream cheese for about 1 minute to soften. Add mushroom mixture and chives. Mix until combined. Taste to see if more salt and pepper needs added.
Transfer to a bowl and chill. Garnish with more chives if you like. Serve with baguette slices or crackers.
A few general tips to help the busy day:
- Create a prep list for the day of and the day before.
- Pre-chop onions, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, squash, etc, a couple of days in advance and store in zip log bags in the refrigerator to save time on Thanksgiving Day.
- Make a breakfast casserole the night before to eat Thanksgiving morning so you don’t have to stress about what’s for breakfast.
- Plan your oven time appropriately. Look at how long and what temperature everything needs cooked and make a plan.
- Cook and carve bird a day in advance to save oven space on the big day. Reheat in a crockpot with stock to warm.
- Use crockpots to keep mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing warm if you are using a buffet line.
Want to know more?
Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and academic credit certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry. For more information call 786-4613 or visit https://www.llcc.edu/hospitality-culinary-arts/.