We had Thanksgiving dinner! You know, um, two weeks ago. (Give or take a day.) I bet you did, too.
I took some pictures, and thought you might like to see them.
For hors d’oeuvres, we had a date and kumquat chutney…
There was also a cocktail hour, featuring a rye and amaro concoction that required a few attempts at mixing and sampling to perfect, simple as the recipe seems. I think it was four tries before we hit the real magic. Perseverance always pays off.
The entrée was a couple of wild pheasants, barded with bacon and braised whole with aromatics, juniper, and bay. They were hunted by a friend of a friend (thank you, Sergei!), and were pretty fabulous, if I do say so myself. On the same platter are roasted wedges of acorn squash. To the right of the pheasant is a sweet corn spoonbread, which might’ve risen higher if I had a proper soufflé dish, but I don’t need to keep one around for how often I make soufflés (this might be the second or third time in this apartment).
This is cornbread, chestnut, and andouille dressing. I think dressing is my favorite part of the typical All-American Thanksgiving Dinner. Basically just bread and vegetables, maybe a little meat for flavor, what else do you need?
I don’t know about you, but I think this dish is hilarious. It’s my nod to that perennial favorite, jellied cranberry sauce in a can. Thanksgiving dinner was never complete without it when I was little, and it turns out it was always my boyfriend’s favorite part, too. It was stupidly simple; I just made a fancy cranberry sauce (half recipe of that beast) and molded it in a can. But the solids that I was supposed to trash – instead I strained and jazzed them up with a little port and some orange zest – have been my favorite leftover. Sandwiches, curries, cheese on crackers, they all go splendidly.
For bread, I made these mustard rolls, because Thanksgiving requires a softer-crust roll. Ciabatta or a baguette just doesn’t seem right.
Dessert was a Paris-Brest, from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. I usually trust CI with my life, but I feel they really dropped the ball with this one (or maybe I did). It looked pretty enough, but there were issues. The choux paste was fine, but it didn’t behave like my usual recipe. The hazelnut crème chiboust filling was a little too stiff with gelatin, and didn’t melt on the tongue like you’d expect it to. It was just okay, and I was sorry to have wasted the poor hazelnuts on it. Yes, I’m very picky about the desserts I make.
On this plate, you can see the raw kale and brussels sprout salad I included for a little verdant crunch among the other rich dishes. This salad is so, so, so good. It’s earned a place in my short go-to list. Full-flavored, crunchy, and ridiculously nutritious. I could eat it every day.
For you oenophiles, the wine was a charming little number from the South of France, a blend of… some… kind… of grapes. It had a woodcock on the label, and the old European gentleman I purchased it from assured me without hesitation that this was the wine for pheasant. (I mean, come one, there was a game bird right on the bottle! Who was I to argue?) Turns out he was so very right; it was a perfect match.
Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!