Thanksgiving recipes from Chicago food bloggers
We asked the folks behind some of Chicago's best food blogs to give us their Thanksgiving philosophy and whip up a few recipes to support it. The result? Twelve recipes, three menus-and not a single whole-roasted turkey.
Nick Kindelsperger and Blake Royer, thepauperedchef.com
We believe hard apple cider is one of America’s lost opportunities: a drink that ought to be on every family’s table, made on every Michigan farm, and available at a high quality for reasonable prices. It’s also what ought to be the Thanksgiving drink, so we designed our entire Turkey Day menu around it.
We immediately discarded the idea that the turkey should be roasted whole. It’s nearly impossible to treat each cut appropriately unless you cook them separately. For the breast, our main course, we brined it in cider to keep the meat juicier during cooking. We also rolled it with cranberry sage sausage, a technique that leads to an impressive presentation, the traditional Thanksgiving flavors and almost guaranteed succulence.
For the perfect mashed potatoes, we avoided lumps by whipping up a batch of pommes purées, an old French standby that uses waxy potatoes instead of floury ones (an important distinction when it comes to texture), then beats the hell out of them with a stand mixer. The results are a vehicle for butter, coming out looking as delicate and delightful as whipped cream. Finally, we confited the legs in duck fat and used the rest of the bird to make a stock. The shredded confit meat is the anchor of a root vegetable salad, brightened with apple cider vinegar. Which, incidentally, pairs beautifully with cider. Just like the rest of the menu.
Rolled turkey breasts with cranberry sage sausage
8 cups apple cider
¾ cup kosher salt
2 quarts cold water
2 boneless turkey breasts (about 6 lbs total), skin on
¼ cup cranberries
2 tbsp white wine
1¼ lbs ground pork shoulder
¾ tbsp salt
½ tbsp sugar
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tbsp fresh sage, minced
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp canola oil
1. Brine the turkey: Combine cider, salt and water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve salt.
2. Butterfly the breasts: Place each skin-side down on a cutting board. Slice breast in half parallel to the board, stopping an inch from the edge. You should be able to open the breast up like a book.
3. Place breasts in brine 3–4 hours.
4. Remove breasts from brine, rinse under cold water. Dry with paper towels.
5. Using a meat mallet, pound each breast into uniform thickness. Place in the refrigerator.
6. Place cranberries in a bowl. Pour the wine on top and let soak for 30 minutes. Remove cranberries, and reserve the wine.
7. Place pork, salt, sugar, black pepper, sage, cloves, cinnamon and cranberries in a bowl; beat and stir vigorously with an electric mixer until meat is almost uniform in texture.
8. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place breasts skin-side down on a cutting board. Season with salt and pepper, then add the sausage stuffing in a thin layer all over.
9. Roll breasts into compact, cylindrical shape. Tie together with kitchen string. Season outside with salt and pepper.
10. Heat a large oven-proof skillet or roasting pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of canola oil. Place the rolled breast in and brown on all sides until golden, turning gently with tongs.
11. Transfer the pan to the oven, and cook for about an hour and ten minutes or until the inside is 150 degrees.
12. Remove the turkey and set on a clean cutting board to rest. Keep the pan for deglazing for gravy (recipe online).