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Monday, December 1, 2014

Recipe Review from 11/24/2014

The Husband and I stayed home this Thanksgiving instead of venturing to Puerto Vallarta or S. Carolina like we have for the past five years or so.  We kept our Thursday meal super simple, opting to roast a duck I've had stashed in the freezer, use one of the butternut squash from our garden, the usual stuffing, and took advantage of the bumper crop of Wisconsin cranberries, and - I can't believe I'm admitting this - we made a no-bake cream cheese pumpkin pie. But in our defense, it's really good pie.

Two words for the duck - baking. bag.  Wow!  Perfectly done duck.  No fat splattered oven.  Go me! 

The Meal Plan for the week (also super simple):

Sun (L) leftover soup    (S)  leftover pasta
Mon (yoga/bkgrp/Legion mtgs)  out
Tues - pasty and gravy
Wed (AM Yoga)  frozen pizza  (had one Sammy's left in the freezer)
Thurs - Roast duck, stuffing, butternut squash gratin, cranberry chutney, pumpkin pie
Fri (L) Leftovers  (S) out
Sat (L) Leftover soup  (S) Leftover duck

Lunches - Barley, Lentil and Mushroom soup (me) Sandwiches (D)  and the usual nut cups, luna bars, yogurt, chips/crackers

Barley, Lentil and Mushroom Soup (America's Slow Cooker Revolution)  vegetarian
The recipe said this was a riff on a beef and barely soup, but uses lentils instead of meat for a great vegetarian option.  Super simple to prepare, a quick saute for the onions and mushrooms which is key so recipe doesn't become too runny.  I did do a quick deglazing of the pan to release the mushroomy goodness and added that to the slow cooker as the extra 1 cup of broth.  Mine turned out super thick - almost stew like, so if you like yours a bit broth-ier, add extra liquid.

Made enough for 3 lunches for me, then three meals for two of us.  So about 6 servings or so. 

1 medium onion, diced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, washed, and quartered
2/3 cup carrots, diced
2 stalks, celery, diced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup green or brown lentils
1 quart plus 1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1) Saute onions until soft, add mushrooms.  Cook mushrooms until liquid is released and reduced.  About 10 minutes.  Put in prepared slow cooker.

2)  Add to slow cooker carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, barley, lentils, broth, rosemary and thyme.

3) Cook on low 6-8 hours, or on high 4 hours, or until barley is plump and soft.  Serve.

The Thanksgiving Meal 

The Duck:  cleaned and seasoned the bird the night before.  Day of,  roasted 1 hour in a 400* oven (in a Reynolds baking bag), turned down to 300* for second hour, back up to 400* for 15 minutes or so while stuffing and butternut squash cook. Drain off fat and juices, and let separate.  Let stand 15-20 minutes while everything else finishes.

The Stuffing:
1 bag of dried bread cubes (unseasoned)
1 1/2 cup broth and 1 stick of butter combined and warmed till butter is completely melted
8oz mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and broth together.  Combine bread cubes and rest of ingredients.  Add broth/butter mixture and stir till bread is softened. Placed in a greased 9x13" pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake about 30 minutes at 400* or until steaming hot and mushrooms are well cooked.  Some people like more broth - so feel to add extra to taste.

The Butternut Gratin (from The Farm on PBS by Ian Knauervegetarian, gluten free
 I do love my PBS cooking shows when I can get a quiet Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon to sit and watch them.  It so happened that Ian was doing his "Thanksgiving" meal for this particular episode.  I had to try this dish!

It turned out pretty good...but not a nice as his looked.

Serves 8

3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 medium onion
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I subbed 1/2 n 1/2 - that might have been a boo boo)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces grated white cheddar cheese  (I used sharp cheddar, maybe not the best option)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Thinly slice the squash and the onion using a slicer. Drizzle a small amount of the cream over the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Using half of the squash and onion, make layers, seasoning each layer with a pinch each of salt and pepper and a drizzle of cream until the dish is half full. Scatter half the cheese over the squash layers.

Continue making layers with the cream, squash and onion, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining cream over the gratin, then spread the remaining cheese evenly over the top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to bake until the gratin is golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more.

The Cranberry Relish (from  vegetarian, gluten free
I am a bit of a Food Geek (if you haven't figured that out already).  Not infrequently, I will be standing in the kitchen, mentally running through my cupboards, fridge and freezer, while the Husband has his laptop up and running searching for "the recipe".  I don't know what "the recipe" is, until the a recipe matches what I have envisioned in my head.

This was one of those recipes.  It turned out great...with some modifications of course. 

  • 2 cups 1 to 1 1/4 cups sugar is plenty 
  • 1 orange, juice and zest of, grated
  • 1 lime, juiced and zest of, grated
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger (I used crystallized ginger)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (I used a 12oz bag)
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (I used triple sec)

Combine sugar, zests, juices and next 5 ingredients in a heavy pot.  Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 3 minutes.

Fold in the fresh cranberries& liqueur.

Simmer, stirring occasionally until most of the cranberries pop open, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.   Can serve immediately, or put in fridge until ready to use. 

The Pie, or what's left of it...

AND!  The Duck Stock!
We took advantage of a lovely carcass to make a batch of stock.

Break duck in half after completely removing all salvageable meat and put in large stock pot.  Fill with water till carcass is submerged to a depth of 1-2".  Add onion (can be large chunks), carrots (we used baby), and celery.  Bring to a simmer.  DO NOT BOIL.  Let simmer gently for 4-8 hours, occasionally skimming yucky foam off the top. Let cool slightly.   Drain through a strainer lined with cheese cloth, a cotton cloth for this purpose, or a good quality paper towel.   Cool further and put into ziplock bags or Ziplock plastic "canning" jars.  We froze these for ease of storage (love those -7* temps!). 


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

Mmmmmmmm...nothing better than pumpkin AND cheesecake! :-)

Karl A. said...

That pie does look really good!

Gail O'Connor said...

I broke away from the traditional pumpkin pie this year, too, and did a sweet potato pie from Cook's Country. It was a little fussy to make, but SO good!

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