Givingthanks(part 1-the food)

Every year we sit down at our Thanksgiving dinner table (actually this year we had 2 tables, one for grownups and one for the under 14 crowd) and every year (after the grandmas stake their claim on the turkey wings and everyone has finished asking “where do we sit?”) after we say our blessings I always attempt to thank everyone for helping us throughout the year but I’m always drowned out by the onslaught of friends and family filling their plates and…eating. Well here it is in writing . Thanks everyone. We couldn’t do what we do without your help.

This year the big news on the food front is the special appearance of the capon… yes, the castrated(I’ve used the word castrated more times in the past week then ever before) rooster was sent to us by our dear friends in Maine.

Henry & the capon

Henry & the capon

Recipe for the capon: The capon, as Ted mentioned, was a gift, it came from D’Artagnan, a company specializing in free range and organic poultry, meat and fowl. I rubbed it down the day before cooking in a generous amount of black truffle salt.(I got it from my friendJakki, but it’s readily available from Surfas) The morning of cooking I slathered underneath the skin(as well as outside) with black truffle butter I made from balck truffles from the Farmers Market(about 5 small ones) and a half pound of Plugra butter. I don’t stuff my birds with the stuffing we eat, but I did put shallots and a few slices of pain de mie bread, just to keep it from drying out, I don’t really know why. Then I turned it over to Ted who was in charge of the actual cooking of the bird and I resumed the cooking of the rest of the meal.

The icy brine for the turkey

The turkey in the icy brine

Another new addition this year was the wet brine for the turkey. Recipe for the wet brine.

  1. Fill a large clean container ( I used a cooler) with enough water to cover turkey entirely.
  2. Add 2 cups kosher salt, 1 cup sugar, and a bit of whiskey. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add large bag of ice. Wash and dry turkey. Submerge turkey till it’s engulfed in the icy brine.
  4. Let sit for 6- 24 hours. Never let water temperature to get above 40 degrees.
  5. Take bird out and rinse with cold water, pat dry and season.

This year I made a paste of  Zankou Chicken butter, fresh sage, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper and placed it under the skin. I always put bacon across the outside of the turkey in an x marks the spot pattern.

mision almost accomplished

"X" marks the spot

The Thanksgiving Feast consisted of:

  • Turkey
  • Capon
  • Brussels sprouts with French chestnuts and bacon(and a side dish sans bacon for Henry)
  • Stuffing(chanterelle mushrooms, prunes, dried apricots,leeks,shallots French chestnuts,pearl onions-all cooked individually in none other than bacon grease-then tossed together and mixed with 2 loafs of cubed pain de mie and Bell’s Seasoning and a half a stick of truffle butter and some of the  giblet broth.Cooked in the oven for about 45 minutes)
  • Scalloped potaoes with leeks in cream(courtesy of our friend Catriona who was in Wales but left us her delightful husband and children and much delicious food)
  • Yams(baked with brown sugar, butter and salt)
  • Cranberries cooked in grated ginger, vanilla, sugar,maple syrup and an orange
  • Homemade bread
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Persimmon pudding
  • Glazed cranberry cake
New England secret

New England secret

Brussells Sprouts(pre bacon)

Brussells Sprouts(pre bacon)

Persimmon puding

Persimmon pudding


Ladies and gentleman, the capon has entered the room

Ladies and gentleman, the capon has entered the room

At last, after 3 days of preparation, the fruits of our culinary labors were ready to be enjoyed, appreciated and consumed, all within 25 minutes. We were thankful for Aunt YY’s annual contribution of dirty dish duty.Thanksgiving remains at the top of the favored holiday list, because it(and our family) is all about the food!

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