Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in a Bowl

Thanksgiving Eve to be more precise and our dinner was just like Thanksgiving in a Bowl. As is our custom, Frank came over and we shared Thanksgiving Eve together. The menu included:

  • Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche, Croutons, and Chives
  • Turkey Risotto with Cranberry Chutney - hence Thanksgiving in a Bowl
  • Sauteed Spinach with Bacon and Pine Nuts
  • Three-Ginger Chevre Tart
The menu was inspired by a Thanksgiving menu in Wine Spectator. To reduce the work effort we took a few shortcuts, like buying fresh Butternut Squash Soup from Fresh Market and using jarred Spiced Cranberry-Apple Chutney from Silver Palette. We also, at my request, opted for spinach over the kale in the article. (Yes, I grew up in Ohio and still have a problem eating those Southern staples like kale, and the assorted greens - what can I say). 

We raided the Oregon wine stash, starting with an Argyle 2007 Black Brut (Pinot Noir) Sparkling wine, which was outstanding with the soup. With the main course we opened a WillaKenzie Estate Gamay Noir, which we both thought paired perfectly with the Turkey Risotto and would also go well with a traditional Thanksgiving feast. 

So back to the Thanksgiving in a bowl... the risotto had all the traditional flavors of a Thanksgiving dinner. Obviously there was the turkey, from two thighs I roasted the day before. The "dressing" came through in the celery and sage that was used. And the cranberry chutney added the sweet and tart flavor of a typical cranberry sauce. The rice filled in nicely for the potatoes and carried all the other flavors to the palette. 

To complete the meal, I made a Three-Ginger Chevre Tart from the same article. While I found the crust a little difficult to work with, the end result turned out very tasty. 

It was a perfect Thanksgiving Eve dinner. 

Butternut Squash Soup with Croutons, Creme Fraiche
and Chives

Turkey Risotto with Cranberry Chutney
and Sauteed Spinach with Bacon & Pine Nuts
Next stop is Biff's (my nephew) home in Bradenton for what is always a wonderful family Thanksgiving Day Feast with three turkeys (of the poultry kind), and a couple turkeys of the human kind. (Names not released to protect this blogger) - Just kidding Mike ! :-)

Here are the original recipes from Wine Spectator.

Turkey Risotto with Fresh Sage and Cranberry Chutney
Serves 4 to 6.
Risotto is one of those dishes, like soup, bread salad and gumbo, that provides a perfect canvas for leftover holiday turkey. But you needn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to enjoy this dish. As the holidays approach, markets begin to stock fresh turkey, sold both whole and in pieces. And because turkey breast is the most popular cut, the more flavorful thighs, legs and wings are generally readily available at a good price. Simply roast a couple of thighs, a leg and a wing or two, reserve the best of the meat and simmer the meaty bones to make a simple stock. Cranberry chutney adds a spicy warmth and enhances the dish’s compatibility with a variety of wines.
7 to 8 cups homemade turkey stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
1 celery rib, minced
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
2 cups Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
2 cups cooked turkey, preferably thigh meat, shredded
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
Black pepper in a mill
3 ounces (3/4 cup) dry Jack cheese, grated
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish
Cranberry Chutney, commercial or homemade*
Pour the turkey stock into a saucepan, set over medium heat and when it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low so that it barely simmers. Melt the butter in a large deep saucepan set over medium low heat. Add the shallots and celery and cook slowly until soft and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes; do not let the vegetables brown. Season with salt and stir in the rubbed sage.
Add the rice and sauté¦ for 2 minutes, stirring all the while, or until each grain begins to turn milky white. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir constantly until it is absorbed, adjusting the heat as needed so that it is neither too high nor too low; the stock should simmer but not boil. Continue to add stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice swells and is just tender, about 18 to 20 minutes.
When there is about 1/2 cup of the stock remaining, fold in the turkey and the sage. Add half of the remaining stock, taste, season with salt and pepper and stir in the cheese. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining stock.
To serve: Ladle into warm soup plates and garnish with fresh sage leaves and a spoonful of chutney. Serve immediately. 
*Note: There are several brands of cranberry chutney on the market, such as Stonewall Kitchen’s (, which is among the best. It is also easy to it make at home.
Wine recommendations: The creamy delicacy of the rice combined with the earthy flavor of turkey, the perfume of the sage and the sweet tang of cranberries suggest an equally complex and delicate red wine. Something luscious yet light, lest the subtle qualities of the dish be eclipsed. Pinot Noir from California’s coastal vineyards provides the best possibilities. Ridgeway Family Vineyards 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, from a small vineyard in southwestern Petaluma, is a stellar match.
For a more playful, lighthearted match, consider Beaujolais Nouveau, an exuberant companion to cranberries.

Lacinato Kale with Bacon & Pine Nuts
Serves 6 - 8
Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale and cavolo nero, has a husky, almost meat-like depth of flavor and a texture that is sturdier, even when tender, than other winter greens. These qualities, combined with the smokiness of the bacon in this recipe, make a perfect counterpoint to the creamy risotto.
3 bunches (about 21/2 pounds) lacinato kale
5 bacon slices, preferably dry-cured
1 shallot, minced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Use a sharp paring knife to remove the stems and tough ribs from the kale. Cut the leaves into 2-inch-wide crosswise slices. Put the cut leaves into a large colander; rinse but do not dry as you want water to cling to the leaves. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a large deep sauté pan until crisp; transfer to absorbent paper to drain. (Once cool, crumble the bacon.) Pour off all but about 1/3 cup of the bacon fat, return the pan to medium heat, add the shallot and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Season with salt and 2 or 3 pinches of pepper flakes. Add the kale and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring all the while. Cover the pan and cook over low heat until the kale is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes; uncover and stir now and then.
Remove from the heat. Fold in the lemon zest, half the bacon and half the pine nuts, taste and correct for salt. Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter the remaining bacon and pine nuts on top and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Wine recommendations: Kale is almost always a side dish and as such, should be taken into consideration when selecting a wine for the main course. Lacinato kale’s texture, which is rich and velvety, engages well with most Pinot Noir and the bacon in this particular preparation furthers the resonance. Should this dish take center stage on your table, you can stick with a Pinot Noir or shift to a plush white wine, such as Peter Michael Winery Cuvée Indigene Chardonnay.

If you use spinach in lieu of kale, skip the first step, and reduce the cooking time for the spinach to about 2 minutes , or until just wilted.

Three-Ginger Chèvre Tart with a Spiced Walnut Crust
This tart is thin, elegant and perfumed with three kinds of ginger, fresh, ground and candied. It unfolds on the palate in layer upon layer of flavor, qualities that engage beautifully with the Madeira that accompanies it.
For the crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup, packed, light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling
10 ounces fresh Chèvre, such as Chabis
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

To make the crust: Put the butter, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, clove and ground ginger into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse several times, until well blended. Add the vanilla and the walnuts and pulse until the walnuts are evenly incorporated into the butter mixture; use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the work bowl as needed. Add the flour and pulse several times, until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Clean the work bowl and blade. Preheat the oven to 400.F.
Press the chilled dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool thoroughly.
To make the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 350.F. Put the Chèvre, sugar, egg and egg yolk into the work bowl of the food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the cream and fresh ginger and pulse until just smooth; do not over process.
Spread the candied ginger over the surface of the crust, pour the Chèvre custard over the candied ginger and agitate the tart pan very gently to even it out, if needed. Set the tart on a baking sheet and set the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the custard is firm and the top is pale gold.
Remove from the oven, let cool for about 15 minutes and remove the ring of the tart pan. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8.
Wine recommendations: This rich, fragrant dessert, with its layers of ginger, wants something slightly lean on the palate, yet elegant and engaging. You can’t go wrong with a well-aged Madeira but fans of single-malt Scotch, especially those of Islay, will be delighted by the flirtatious resonance of the match. Try Laphroaig 15 Year Old.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Sounds fabulous, especially that tart. I may have to make it soon!