We don’t stray too far away from the traditional Thanksgiving menu, generally. A typical Thanksgiving dinner at the Newland house consists of turkey, Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing, spinach casserole, Sister Schubert Parker House rolls, cranberry relish, and green bean casserole. This year was no different. I had lost the recipe for my favorite spinach casserole for a couple of years, but was thrilled to find a version this year! This year, I used a dry brine for the turkey from the November 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine, and I think this was the best turkey we’ve ever made. I had intended to make fancy schmancy turkey gravy, too, but in an act of utter absent-mindedness, I strained the broth I’d been simmering for a couple of hours right down the kitchen sink! Luckily my mom was here and whipped up gravy in a snap, and I highly suspect it was waaaayyy better than what I would have made!
The one thing that I do tend to mix up each year is dessert. We usually go for pies (one of my favorites is chocolate chess pie), but this year I made the Caramel-Pecan Brownie Dessert from the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook. The recipe itself was good, but, unfortunately, I didn’t hear the timer go off, so it baked a few minutes too long and was pretty crunchy on the edges. You can’t tell that from the pictures, though!
I wasn’t terribly satisfied with that dessert, though. (I think part of it is that it uses a box instead of being from scratch…) So, on Friday when I knew we were having company I decided I needed to bake a cake from All Cakes Considered. The next one in line was the Buttered Rum Cake, and it was definitely in my top 5 cakes. Absolutely outstanding! I will be making this one again next week for our holiday party at work.
My final food adventure of the weekend was tortilla soup, using leftover turkey. My mom boiled the turkey carcass for me the other day, and I had suggested trying to make tortilla soup. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about making this. I can be pretty picky, and I was a little worried I was going to cook something I wasn’t going to enjoy eating. But, before I could talk my way out of it, my mom started heating up the stock and picking the meat off the bones, so I was committed. I needn’t have worried! This soup was delicious – extremely flavorful and just a tiny bit spicy! I do believe it will be a new post-Thanksgiving tradition.
I heavily modified the tortilla soup recipe from the Texas Home Cooking cookbook. Here is my version:
Stock from boiled turkey carcass, plus the meat picked from the bone (Mom did this part, so I can’t give specifics)
1 can crushed tomatoes (smaller can – 14 oz?)
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground chipotle chili
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 dried chile pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 can hominy, drained
Juice of one lime
1 avocado, diced
Shredded Colby Jack cheese
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips and toasted
Simmer the stock and turkey meat until it reduces to about 6 cups. Add tomatoes, onion powder, ground chili, oregano, dried pepper (whole), and hominy. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the whole chili pepper and discard. Add lime and let simmer a few more minutes.
Place tortilla strips in the bottom of each bowl and spoon soup over them. Serve avocado and cheese on the side.