Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here and I started my cooking yesterday.  I began with the pies.  I made pecan and pumpkin and my sister made not 1 but 2 sweet potato pies.  She is experimenting with crusts and made one with a graham cracker crust and one with a traditional crust.  I am not one for sweet potato pie or really in any form but since I consider myself someone who wants to give all foods a chance I always try to see if I can enjoy it in another way.  The menu this year is:

Roast Turkey with chicken apple, sausage stuffing
Green beans
roasted brussel sprouts
mashed potatoes
stuffing (not dressing)
Some kind of dish mother is contributing (hmmm)
canned cranberry jelly (yuck)
Colombian empanadas w/encurtido 
Dominican yucca empanadas
regular dough empanadas
Olive Cheese rustic loaf
2 sweet potato pies
1 pumpkin pie
1 pecan pie

My sister made the bird and stuffing. The turkey began brining the day before with vegetable broth, wine, sour oranges (from our tree!), onions, lots of salt, sage, thyme, rosemary, mustard seeds, celery seed, and garlic. Then you remove from brining liquid, rinse and dry. Then came the stuffing, organic herb stuffing bread cubes (mix from Whole Foods, yes a mix) chicken apple sausage (cooked), dried cranberries, golden raisins, celery, chopped apples, chicken broth and red onions.  The turkey will be basted with warmed brandy and apple jelly. Pictures to come. 

So I began yesterday with the olive cheese rustic bread. It is a very simple recipe from Martha Stewart and requires no kneading.  So I simply had to try that!  The recipe calls for an 18 hour rise and then an additional 2 hour rise after punching down.  Here he is resting for the next 18 hours.

Then I had to get the pies together. They are very simple! Traditional pecan pie, nothing out of this world, just corn syrup, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and pecans. The pumpkin is my fave, just 1 can pumpkin, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg. That's it!  It's great and the nutmeg is very subtle, it's really 1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. I don't go for all those heavy spices in my pumpkin pie.

The bread snuck into the picture up there in the 3rd spot.

Then I made the meat filling for the empanadas. I decided to only make a beef filling and this will fill all the different shells because it's really the doughs that make them so unique. The only one with a little different filling are the Colombian corn empanadas because they require some mashed potato in with the beef and the outer corn dough gets so crispy that the encurtido provides a lovely acidic spicy tang to the whole thing. The beef filling is my own traditional recipe of picadillo.

1.5 lbs of ground sirloin
1 tblsp olive oil (or your choice of oil)
1 small white onion
1/2 green, red, yellow or orange bell pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herb (coriander leaves (cilantro), or parsley, etc)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbls red wine vinegar
2 tbls tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 c wine of choice
3 tbls. capers (smaller the better or chop the big ones), optional
3 tbls. chopped green stuffed olives, optional
3 tbls. chopped raisins (golden or dark), optional
1 hard boiled egg, (optional)

Brown the ground beef in the olive oil until completely cooked and very small, make it as fine as possible because bulky filling will burst open anything you fill! Drain the fat.
Put onion, peppers garlic and vinegar into a small food processor until very finely ground. Add this to the beef and cook for about 5 mins, add all herbs and wine. Cook out alcohol make sure all your veg is soft and add your optional ingredients except egg.  Cook until raisins are soft.  After it's cooled add the chopped hard boiled egg.

I let this cool in the fridge over night to fill my stuff.

I separate the beef mixture (without egg) into 3 separate fillings for these empanadas. 1 is just beef, the other with egg and the third with just beef and some mashed potato.

The plain beef is for the yucca (manioc, cassava, tapioca) empanadas. The one with egg is for the regular wheat dough empanadas and the beef and potato is for the corn (Colombian) empanadas.

The encurtido, for the Colombian expanadas or on anything else!)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1.5  tsps sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
1/2 cup chopped curly or flat leaf parsley (your choice)
2 stalks of green onions (spring onions), chopped small
1 tbls. olive oil
1/4 small tomato, peeled, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 of those tiny peppers that come in the Goya hot pickled peppers bottle (see pic) but the amount of peppers depends on the amount of heat you can tolerate! I'm a wuss.)

In that same little food processor ( I have a small 1-2 cup size that is great!), process water, vinegar, sugar, salt, tomato, and little peppers just until very small or even paste, depending on your preference. Then I mix in the herbs, but you can process everything if you so choose.  This is great with the Colombian corn empanadas. There is the finished sauce sitting in the fridge overnight to marry those flavors in an old pickle jar.

This was huge! I got caught up in eating and didn't take too many pics of the finished products but it was a lot!  The turkey turned out very flavorful and tender, the stuffing moist, the empanadas crisp, the mashed potatoes always my fave no matter I have to eat, cranberry jelly was not sampled by me, the pumpkin pie was good, the pecan had waaay too many nuts I don't know what I did, but all in all, I had a great feast.

No comments:

Post a Comment