Dysfunctional Family Fun Day

That wonderful day where everyone gets to hug it out with an obsessive love of food is almost upon us. Oh, you people cursed to have “normal” families probably know this day as Thanksgiving. What fun is Thanksgiving if you have normal relatives I ask? Its not often you get to take bets on your family members worst traits. Its a wonder sometimes how that day never devolves into a childish cafeteria style food fight. I am sure we came close a number of times. Just one more snide backhanded remark, a few more dirty looks, and some heated political talk could have caused hell to break loose. All it takes is one off color comment from your favorite drunk uncle…..I swear that’s not me……..and it could all be over. I think the fact that that never happened is a testament to good food. At a certain point during the meal, conversations drop off as we all shovel unhealthy amounts of food into our stomachs. Then the inevitable food coma sets in. We all become too fat, drunk, and happy to fight.

In order to help stave off potential fist fights and food fights, I offer up some tasty holiday dishes.

Turkey Brine

72oz beer*
6 quarts ice cold water
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 tbls peppercorns
1 bunch fresh thyme
4-5 sprigs rosemary
1 lemon quartered
1 Orange quartered
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion quartered

Put everything except the water into a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Cook until all the flavors just come together and the salt/sugar is dissolved. Add the water. Chill the brine.

*For the beer I would recommend something dark and malty. A nice doppelbock like Celebrator, or a dunkel like Flensburger work great. A nice Belgian style wit would work and would complement the oranges in the brine.

Deep Fried Turkey

1 Turkey
8 quarts turkey brine
Favorite Cajun Inspired dry rub
Oil for frying – peanut being traditional

To fry your turkey you will need a 30 qt or larger pot, a propane burner, and a fry thermometer. Plenty of turkey fryer set ups are available this time of year. Take your bird and remove any plastic – such as the pop up thermometer. Now is a good time to check and see how much oil you will need. Place your turkey in the pot. Add enough water to just cover the bird. Remove the bird. Either measure the water volume, or mark the water line on your pot. The day before you plan to fry, place your turkey in the brine, and place in the fridge. Leave it in the brine for 12-18 hours, larger birds take longer to brine. Remove the turkey from the brine. Pat dry. Rub the bird with your dry rub and put back in the fridge overnight. Remove the bird from the fridge at least a half hour before you plan to fry it up. Add you measured amount of oil to the pot. Heat your oil up to 390F. Slowly lower your bird into the hot oil. When fully submerged, check you oil temperature. You want to maintain a temp between 350F and 365f. Deep fried turkeys take about 3-4 minutes per pound to cook. A 15# turkey will take about an hour. When cooked, remove the bird from the fryer, holding it over the pot to let excess oil drain out. Set on carving board and allow to rest at least 20 minutes. Carve and enjoy.

Scratch Made Green Bean Casserole

2# fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
2 TBS unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1# mushrooms, mix of wild preferably, diced
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs flour
1/2cup dark malty beer such as a Celebrator Double Bock
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1.5 cups heavy cream
French Fried onions

Preheat oven to 350f. In a large pot bring a gallon of water to a boil with a cup of salt. Add the trimmed green beans. Cook for five minutes. Remove beans from the water and immediately shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove the beans from the ice bath and set aside. In a saute pan melt the 2 tbl butter over medium heat. Add the diced mushrooms and the shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until their liquids have evaporated and they start to caramelize. Add the garlic and flour. Cook for another minute. Deglaze the pan with the beer, scraping up all the fond on the bottom pf the pan. Add the thyme, nutmeg, and chicken stock, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cream. Cook until the mixture thickens up, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the green beans. Mix ad pour into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the top liberally with french fried onions. Bake in oven for about 1/2 an hour, until mixture is hot and bubbling and the onions are a nice dark golden brown.

Joël Robuchon Style Mashed Potatoes

2# potatoes, russets or yukon gold. French ratte potatoes if you can find them would be ultra traditional
1# high quality European butter
Milk – 1-1.5 cups
salt to taste

Joël Robuchon is one of the single most important chefs of the 20th century. He is THE chef responsible for modern French cuisine. His impact on the world of food extends well beyond French food, influencing most modern cuisine around the globe. These potatoes have become one of his signature dishes at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Thanksgiving is the time of year when we say Fuck You!! to diets and healthy eating, a perfect time to bust out these decadent mashed potatoes.

Bring a gallon of water to a boil. Add a healthy couple of pinches of salt. Scrub your potatoes, leaving them whole. Add to the water and boil for a bout 30 minutes or until a knife can be easily inserted and removed. Drain the potatoes. When the potatoes just barely cool enough to hand, peel them. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or ricer. Place the pan of potatoes on a low heat. Stir the potatoes to dry them out. Incorporate the butter, adding a little at a time with the potatoes. Slowly add the milk until the desired consistency is reached. Pass the potatoes through a fine mesh Tamis to lighten and smooth the mashed potatoes. These are very rich mashed potatoes and should be served in smaller portions.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 cup heavy cream
1 small can of pumpkin
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon – preferably Knob Creek
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp clove
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cups day old crusty bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
6 tbls unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together the cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, bourbon, eggs, salt, and spices in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the bread and butter. Toss to coat the bread with the butter. Add the pumpkin mixture and combine well. Pour into a baking dish. Bake until custard is set, 25-30 minutes.

More music to cook to!! With this being Thanksgiving and all there is only one song you’ll ever need: The Thanksgiving Song!!!


~ by thebrewgeek on Thursday, November 15, 2012.

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