Five Way to Reimagine Family Traditions for Thanksgiving:
1. Pumped up pumpkins
“Remember the vegetarians at your table. Stuffing a turkey seems to mark the grandness of the occasion. If you or your guests are vegetarian, or you simply want to have a beautiful and delicious centerpiece, consider stuffing a pumpkin or large winter squash to pay homage to tradition.
A stuffed pumpkin is a flavorful (and colorful) way to please both vegetarians and omnivores at your Thanksgiving feast. Pick one out at your local farmers market that is roughly 12-18 inches in diameter (or bigger, but makes sure the whole thing will fit in your oven).”
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash the pumpkin and rub it with olive oil.
3. Place the whole pumpkin (on a cookie sheet) in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until you can just pierce the flesh with a knife.
4. Meanwhile, make your stuffing. You can use your favorite traditional stuffing recipe or the quinoa recipe below.
6. Remove the squash from oven, let cool and carve the top off, making a lid.
7. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Season the inside with olive oil, salt and pepper.
8. Loosely pack the squash with the stuffing, and top with a little extra cheese. Do not replace lid.
9. Return to oven and roast for another 20-25 minutes or until squash is nicely browned on the outside, it can be pierced easily with a knife and the top is bubbly and brown.
2. Beans, beans they’re good for your…traditions!
“The grand story of Native Americans sharing local food traditions with the Pilgrim immigrants still resonates today, but often our Thanksgiving dishes awry from the traditional ones served by our ancestors.
Remember and honor this customary gift by serving a bean, chile or corn dish made with heirloom varieties (passed down over generations from America’s native ancestors).”
Good Mother Stallard Beans With Wild Mushrooms, Ham Hocks and Chard
1 cup heirloom Good Mother Stallard beans (can substitute navy beans)
4 cups chicken stock
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 ham hock
1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half
1 bunch chard, cleaned, washed, and chopped
2 large sprigs parsley, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
1 spoonful mascarpone
1. Soak beans overnight in water in a 2-quart container (they will expand and double in size).
2. Heat medium pan over high heat and add olive oil.
3. Sauté onions until translucent.
4. Add the beans, 4 cups of the chicken stock and ham hock and bring to a boil.
5. Lower heat and cover to simmer until beans are thoroughly cooked. Pull out ham hock and take off meat.
6. Add meat back into beans and continue to simmer, add mushrooms and chard and cook until the chard is tender.
7. Stir in chopped parsley and thyme and serve hot, with mascarpone dollop on top.
3. Stuffed with stuffing: gluten-free is the way to be
“With infinite varieties of bread – sourdough, wheat, Dutch crunch and rye to name a few – choosing which loaf will yield the perfect stuffing (or dressing as some families may call it) becomes a breaded battle. Forget bread and gluten. This recipe for stuffing incorporates the ever-popular quinoa and lentils for a more health-conscious and equally delicious spin on stuffing.”
Quinoa and Lentil Stuffing With Kale, Butternut Squash and sage
2 cups quinoa
2 cups lentils
1 ounce butter or olive oil
4 ounce white wine
4 quarts of gluten-free vegetable stock (can substitute water for low-sodium alternative)
1 bunch kale, cleaned, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash
1 bunch sage, chopped
2 ounces Humboldt Fog or a similar soft goat cheese
Salt and pepper
For the quinoa
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cut off the top and bottom of the butternut squash then peel, using a strong peeler as the squash has very thick skin.
3. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and the soft innards.
4. Cut into one-inch cubes, toss in olive oil and salt and pepper and roast in oven on a sheet pan until soft and browned.
5. While squash is roasting, heat a small pot over high heat with half of the butter or olive oil.
6. When butter is hot, add the quinoa and toast over high heat – stirring constantly.
7. When the quinoa starts to brown very lightly, add the vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.
8. When stock comes to a boil, turn down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa should be cooked and there should be little to no liquid left. Set aside.
For the lentils
1. Add 2 cups of lentils to a small pan and add 4.5 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. When stock boils, turn down heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes checking and stirring every 5 minutes so lentils don’t burn.
3. When lentils are tender, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. In a large sauté pan over high heat, melt the remaining butter and a little olive oil and sauté onions until translucent. Make sure to season each item individually at each step.
5. Add kale and sauté until kale is wilted.
6. Add garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds and add the white wine.
7. Cook kale until it’s tender. Set aside.
8. When all items are cooked, toss together in a large bowl with a little stock and butter, add the sage and season. Top with Humboldt Fog cheese and bake until the cheese is melted.
4. Roll up a fiesta with turkey
“Give your Turkey Day a festive Mexican twist. It is easy: Heat turkey in the gravy. Reheat mashed potatoes and stuffing. Take a hot flour tortilla and add a layer of mashed potatoes, followed by a layer of stuffing, hot turkey and garnish the top with Monterey jack or cheddar cheese. Put your rolling skills to the test and pop out a Thanksgiving burrito. Dip in cranberry sauce or serve on top ‘burrito mojado’ style.”
5. Turkey soup for the post-Thanksgiving soul
“Got leftovers including a huge turkey carcass taking up valuable space in your refrigerator? You have sent everyone home with overflowing Tupperware containers, you have had turkey sandwiches and slices of pie until you can’t see straight and yet the thought of composting your epic Thanksgiving feast brings tears to your eyes. Well, we can sympathize with you, and have an answer – soup!”
For the stock:
1 turkey carcass stripped of all meat possible
4 medium onions cut into quarters
2 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
2 celery ribs cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
8 quarts of cold water
Salt and pepper
1. Combine all ingredients except the salt and pepper into a large stock pot and place over high heat.
2. Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat to a simmer and skim the surface periodically of all impurities that form.
3. After 2 1/2 to 3-hours, you should have a flavorful turkey stock. Strain through a mesh strainer and discard all solids.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool.
5. Once the stock has cooled enough, a layer of fat will form at the surface that should be removed.
For the soup:
6 to 8 quarts of turkey stock
All of the scraped turkey meat and bits that were picked from the carcass
1 medium onion
1 cup carrots
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of diced squash
1 cup of diced zucchini
1 cup of sliced mushrooms of your choice
1-2 tablespoons of fresh herbs (your choice)
1 cup of white wine
4 slices of thick cut bacon, extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1. Cook the 4 slices in your stock pot over medium heat to render all of the fat. Remove the bacon from the pot and discard or keep for later.
2. Using the bacon fat or your choice of oil, sauté the onions, carrots and celery in a large pot over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the squash, zucchini and mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes before adding the fresh herbs and white wine.
4. Once the wine has reduced by half, add the turkey stock and meat and bring to a light simmer.
5. Cook until the vegetables are soft, season with salt and pepper and you are pleased with the flavor.
6. Serve immediately or save for later.