Hey everyone! We're pretty busy doing stuff around the apartment this weekend....but I recall several people had asked about the recipe for some of the delicious Thanksgiving plates my guy made last year. Yea, last year...I know. It was so delicious though! So, who better to explain than the Mr. himself. So, here he is with his first post ever!
Hello, I'm Mr. M.
I love Thanksgiving but I don't love turkey, so in 2011 we decided to twist it a bit, serving sweet-stuffed Cornish game hens with blackberry-merlot sauce, sundried tomato mash with crisped leeks, grilled asparagus, and artichoke with hollandaise. You can see all the pictures of the food in this post.
Cinnamon raisin bread, cubed and slow-toasted (about 2/3 loaf)
Celery, finely chopped (1 cup)
Onion or shallot, finely chopped (1 cup)
Shelled, unsalted pistachios
Butter (3 Tb)
Chicken or vegetable stock
Fresh herbs - thyme, basil, rosemary
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt & pepper
I used Ezekiel bread because some of the family had gluten allergies and it worked surprisingly well because it toasted quicker. Make sure the cubes are totally dry. You might consider just staling them over a few days on a baking sheet with a cheesecloth over them. Saute the celery and onion in small amount of oil then add the stock. Bring the stock to a boil, add the butter, raisins, nuts, herbs and seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes then pour over bread and mix well. Use what you need for the hens, then bake the rest in a casserole covered with foil while the hens roast.
This is a complex sauce - primarily because cranberry sauce is so blah (unless you're talking Bobby sandwiches). Use 1 pint of blackberries (they dont even need to be totally ripe), 2 cups of merlot, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Put 1 Tb merlot in a saucepan with the sugar and blackberries until the sugar begins to caramelize. Add 1 cup of merlot and bring to hard boil and reduce to thick sauce. Add the remaining merlot and vinegar, turn heat down, and slow boil until reduced to a watery jelly. If you like smooth, blend it, but the chunkiness is also a nice sauce.
Cornish game hens
De-bone the game hens (both breast and back) being careful not to tear the skin. Stuff the hen to fill, then truss the legs (you might also truss the body if there is any sign of tearing). Roast breast down at 400 degrees F with some crumpled foil to stabilize it upright. When the back starts to crisp, turn them over and roast until the breast starts to crisp. Add a pat of butter to the juices for drizzling to keep the birds moist. Serve on a bed of remaining stuffing.
Sundried tomato mash
I cheat on this...I nuke the potatoes, but you can boil them (more traditional). I use russets despite the dryness because they get fluffier. I use 1 1/2 potatoes per person. Use a masher or ricer but then smooth them out by adding LOTS of butter (with mash, don't ever be shy on the butter) - about 2-3 Tb per potato, whole milk (we use almond milk due to lactose intolerance), and sundried tomatoes (we use dry, but the oiled ones work well drained). Add salt to taste.
To crisp leeks, heat oil in a deep fryer or saucepan until very hot. Slice the leeks very thin across the grain into small circles. Dust with flour and then deep fry until golden. Drain well. Garnish the mash with the leeks.
The Flourless chocolate cake with whip & berries I made that day, was a a favorite of Jen's. You can find a similar recipe I made here. For those who don't know, I also have my own food blog called Made for Jen.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
-images by jen ramos