Thanksgiving – what an idea! A day dedicated to gratitude and gathering; to family and friends; and, of course, to food and drink. Here at Spring Creek Design, we’re crazy about Thanksgiving so we thought it would be fun to share our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Let us know if you try one!
Pete’s Sous Vide Turkey Breast with Crispy Skin
“For a small Thanksgiving gathering, this sous vide turkey breast comes out perfectly tender and juicy every time,” says Pete. “And the crackling-crisp turkey skin is a real treat.”
SERVES: 6 to 8
For the turkey:
1 large whole skin-on, bone-in turkey breast (about 5 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Gravy:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 1/2 quarts homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon soy sauce or msg
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
Carefully remove turkey skin in a single piece and set aside. Using a sharp boning knife, remove breast meat from breastbone. Set breastbone aside. Season turkey generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Place one breast half, cut side facing up, on a work surface. Place second breast half facedown, so the fat end aligns with the skinny end of the first breast half. Gently form into an even cylinder.
Tie turkey breast at 1-inch intervals using butcher’s twine. Transfer to a zip-lock bag. Turkey can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before proceeding.
Heat a sous vide water bath to 145°F. With bag open, slowly lower bagged turkey into water, letting water pressure squeeze air out of bag until just the seal remains above the waterline. Seal bag completely. Let turkey cook for 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, make the crispy skin and gravy.
For the Crispy Skin: Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 400°F. Spread skin evenly over a piece of parchment paper set in a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place a second sheet of parchment on top and carefully squeeze out any air bubbles using the side of your hand. Place a second rimmed baking sheet on top and transfer to oven.
Roast until skin is deep brown and crisp (it will crisp further on cooling), 30 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool and set aside at room temperature. Turkey skin can be roasted in advance, cooled completely, then stored, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. To re-crisp, place in a hot oven for a few minutes just before serving.
For the Gravy: Using a cleaver, chop breastbone into 1-inch chunks. In a medium saucepan over high heat, heat oil until smoking. Add breastbone, onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 10 minutes total. Add stock, bay leaves, and soy sauce or MSG. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. You should have a little over 1 quart of fortified stock; if not, add water or more chicken stock to equal 1 quart. Discard solids and set stock aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, add fortified broth in a thin, steady stream. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and reduced to about 3 cups (720ml). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
When turkey is cooked, remove from water bath and unseal bag. Carefully remove butcher’s twine. Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices for serving. Fan slices out on a warmed serving platter or cutting board. Break skin into serving-sized pieces and add to platter, along with a pitcher of gravy. Serve immediately.
Pete’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
“I like to make mushroom soup for Thanksgiving,” Pete says. “For me, the holiday marks the end of the mushroom foraging season. Most years, I have been out in the forests bird hunting with Sandy, and we often come home with pocketfuls of wild mushrooms of various sorts. I will save these up and make a wild mushroom soup – it’s easy to take with us to family gatherings and never competes with the dinner rolls, stuffing, and pumpkin pies that everybody else brings.”
PREP TIME: 10 min
COOK TIME: 50 min
SERVES: 4 to 6
1 pound fresh mushrooms ((I use a mix of cremini, shiitake, and oyster or chanterelle))
1 large onion, (chopped (about 2 cups))
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
kosher salt and white pepper
1/4 cup Brandy
4 cups Mushroom, chicken or vegetable broth, my favorite is Better Than Bullion mushroom base
1 cup heavy cream
Clean mushrooms and discard any tough stems. Cut mushrooms into 1/4-inch thick slices. Set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and white pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add flour and stir to coat the mushroom mixture. Cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and cook for an additional minute, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Stir in mushroom, chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, stirring. (The soup may look, for the lack of a better term, “gloppy” at this point. This is normal! As you stir and the liquid heats, the roux will dissolve.)
Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
While the soup cools, sauté some thinly sliced ‘shrooms in butter. You will use these as a garnish for serving the soup. I like to use something special if I have it – morels, chanterelles, black trumpets, brick tops, etc. but any ‘shrooms will do.
Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Work in batches as needed. Put pureed soup back into the pot and reheat. You can leave a portion of the soup unblended if you prefer some mushroom chunks in your soup.
Stir in heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. I have used half and half in a pinch when I didn’t have cream.
NOTE: I prefer to blend it till smooth, then serve it with some thinly sliced sautéed mushrooms floated on top as a garnish, along with a drizzle of truffle oil.
Jenna’s Buttery Roast Turkey
“I make my turkey with butter-soaked cheesecloth – it really makes a big difference,” says Jenna, our office manager. “The turkey always comes out very juicy and even better the next day!”
salt & pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
3 sticks (1½ cup) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons, at room temperature
½ tsp paprika
3 stalks celery, broken into thirds
3 medium carrots
1½ cup chicken or turkey broth
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Remove any turkey parts from the cavity. Dry the turkey well with paper towels (inside & out). Sprinkle the cavity with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stuff with thyme, rosemary, lemon wedges, and half of the onion wedges.
In a small bowl, mix the 4 tablespoons of room-temperature butter with the paprika to make a smooth, spreadable mixture. Using your hands, carefully separate the skin from the flesh of the turkey, making sure not to tear the skin. Spread about half the butter mixture evenly between the skin and flesh on one side. Do the same on the other side using the remaining butter mixture. Any residual butter on your hands or in the bowl can be rubbed on the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with 2 tsp salt, making sure to get it all over the surface.
Scatter the celery pieces, whole carrots, and remaining onion wedges in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the roasting rack in the pan (make sure it is level). Pour the broth into the pan. Transfer the turkey to the rack (tuck the wings back under the body and tie the legs together with twine).
Cut a 20-inch piece of cheesecloth and fold it twice, creating 4 layers. Submerge the cloth in the melted butter, making sure it is completely saturated. Gently squeeze the cloth and reform it so there are 4 layers. Place on top of the turkey, covering it completely. Use a turkey baster to baste the cheesecloth with some of the remaining melted butter.
Roast for 30 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Baste the turkey with the pan juices and more melted butter. Continue to roast (basting with butter and pan drippings every 30 minutes) for an additional 2 hours.
Gently remove the cheesecloth (making sure you do not tear the skin). Baste one more time, then return the turkey to the oven (breasts facing towards the back) and roast until the thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh measures 165 degrees (about another 30 min). Let rest before carving.
NOTE: Make sure to baste VERY well or the skin can stick to the cheesecloth.
Sandy’s Black Forest Brussels Sprouts
“This is our favorite way to prepare brussels sprouts,” says Sandy. “They’re tender inside and a little crispy outside, and the bacon adds just the right amount of saltiness.”
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
3 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 pound)
salt and pepper
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; drain, reserving the bacon fat.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, then stir in the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, tossing, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the onions and half the bacon; season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining bacon.
Kyra’s Hot Raspberry Cider
“This is a perfect warm-up drink as people are arriving for dinner,” says Kyra, our project designer. “It’s sweet and spicy and immediately gets people into the Thanksgiving mood.”
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
1 12-oz. package of fresh raspberries
4 cups apple cider
1/2 cup spiced rum
4 dashes ground cinnamon
4 cinnamon sticks
4 lemon peel twists for garnish
Set aside 8 raspberries to use as garnish. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine apple cider, remaining raspberries, and ground cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, let cool slightly, and strain into a small pitcher.
Add spiced rum, stir, and pour into four rocks glasses. Pop in raspberries and finish each drink with a cinnamon stick and a lemon twist.
Amanda’s Sweet Potato Casserole
“This sweet potato casserole helps to balance the savorv turkey/stuffing/gravy side of the plate,” says Amanda, our new senior project designer. “And I have to admit I love the pop of color it adds!”
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
3 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
½ cup brown sugar packed, 2 teaspoons set aside
½ cup butter softened
¼ teaspoon ginger or to taste
¼ teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups miniature marshmallows. Set additional aside for optional garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
Peeling potatoes is optional. Place sweet potatoes in a pot of boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain.
In a large bowl, mash the sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, ginger and salt & pepper.
Spread into prepared pan.
Sprinkle with additional brown sugar, and the marshmallows.
Bake 20 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown and potatoes are heated through.
Grilled Oysters with Spicy Garlic Butter
We use Chef John Besh’s Spicy Garlic Butter a lot: it’s great to round out a steak and it elevates any toasted hard-crust bread. But it really shines atop grilled oysters, which we often serve as an app on Thanksgiving. The butter works best when it’s prepared ahead. Let it soften at room temperature, then season it, place it in plastic wrap, and roll it into a tight cylinder. Then chill it until it’s hard. When it’s chilled, it’s easy to cut the spicy butter into disks.
1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Beat the butter with the garlic, pepper flakes, chives, thyme, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or in the bowl of a food processor until well combined.
Using a rubber spatula, mound butter onto a wide sheet of plastic wrap. Drape one of the wide ends of the plastic wrap over the butter, then roll the butter into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter and twist ends tightly. Refrigerate butter until hard.
For the oysters
Shuck oysters and leave on half shell. Put a slice of butter on top of each oyster and place on a hot grill until butter melts and the liquor bubbles, about a minute.