Thanksgiving is around the corner, and we’re planning a feast that’s perfectly paired with Miner Family wine. We’re serving a group of four with this menu, and partaking in the following wines, in this order: [insert bubbles of choice for afternoon consumption while you’re waiting on the turkey], followed by our 2013 Wild Yeast Chardonnay and 2013 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir. Bon appetit and Happy Thanksgiving!
Water to fill very large pot over half way
1.5 cups sea salt
¾ cup maple syrup
6 bay leaves
12 thyme sprigs
2 heads of garlic, halved
One ten pound turkey (neck and giblets reserved)
2 lbs cherry or mesquite wood chips, soaked in water for at least a few hours
1. Brine: In a large pot, combine water, sea salt, maple syrup, bay leaves, thyme, garlic and lemon. Stir the brine until the salt is completely dissolved. Add the turkey, breast side down and refrigerate for 24 hours. (It helps to place a plate or a tray on top of the turkey to keep it submerged).
2. Smoker Prep: Light a hardwood charcoal or wood fire in the firebox of a smoker. Heat the smoker to 200 degrees. Scatter some of the soaked wood chips around the coals; the chips should smolder but not flare. Set a drip pan filled with water on the bottom of the smoke box.
3. Turkey: Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with string. Set the turkey over the drip pan. Smoke the turkey for about 5 – 5 ½ hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh reads 165 degrees. Monitor the coals throughout the smoking process and add more coals and/or wood, soaked chips and water as needed to maintain the temperature and smoke level.
Transfer turkey to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Sausage Apple Stuffing
5 tbsp unsalted butter
6 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 ½ lbs sweet Italian sausage, crumbled
9 cups cubed (1 inch) day-old Italian bread (about 1 large loaf)
36 pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
3 medium Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped sage
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups reserved turkey stock
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and generously butter 2 medium baking dishes that are at least 2 inches deep. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the celery and onions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, just until it loses it’s pink color; about 7 minutes.
- In a large bowl toss the bread cubes with the prunes, apples, parsley and sage. Add the sausage mixture and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the eggs and turkey stock and mix well. Divide the stuffing between prepared baking dishes. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer or until heated through and browned on top. Let cool slightly before serving.
Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes
5 lbs peeled and quartered sweet potatoes
6 tablespoons butter
6 garlic cloves, pressed
¾ cup warm buttermilk
Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a pot three quarters full with water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and the sweet potatoes. Heat on medium high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Hold at a simmer until you can pierce a sweet potato with a paring knife.
- Strain in a colander, and return pot to stove to melt butter over medium low heat. Add garlic, and cook and stir for a minute or two, then remove from heat. Add sweet potatoes back into the pot with the butter and garlic, and using a hand-held masher, gently mash the sweet potatoes and garlic until smooth.
- Stir in the buttermilk until creamy. Adjust the amount of buttermilk for desired consistency.
3 ½ lbs Tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tbsp honey
- In a large pot, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until softened and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, stir constantly and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chopped kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and honey and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the kale is very tender and coated in a thick sauce, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Transfer half of the creamed kale to a food processor and puree until nearly smooth. Stir the puree into the pot and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the creamed kale to a serving bowl.
Raw Cranberry Relish
1 medium unpeeled orange – scrubbed, halved, seeded and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 medium Granny Smith apple – cored and cut into 2 inch chunks
¼ medium unpeeled lemon – scrubbed, seeded and cut into 2 inch chunks
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Pulse first four ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in sugar and walnuts.
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 cups gingersnap crumbs (from about ½ lb cookies)
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
3 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 ½ or 10 inch springform pan and coat lightly with flour. In a medium bowl, toss the gingersnap crumbs with the melted butter until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of the prepared pan. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crust begins to color. Let the crust cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in ¾ cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar, then beat in the eggs in 3 additions until the mixture is thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree and heavy cream with 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until combined, scraping the bowl a few times.
- Wrap foil loosely around the bottom and the lower sides of the springform pan. Pour cheesecake batter into the prepared pan and set in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Place in the middle of the oven and pour 1 inch of hot water into the baking dish. Bake the cheesecake for about 70 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the center of the cheesecake is still slightly shaky.
- In a small bowl, combine the sour cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and pour on the sour cream topping. Gently tap the pan to spread the topping, and continue baking the cheesecake for 10 more minutes.
- Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and let cool for 1 hour. Remove the foil and the side of the pan and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you like, remove the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan by sliding a metal spatula under the crust to loosen it completely, then use 2 large metal spatulas to transfer the cake to a serving plate. Alternatively, serve the cheesecake on the pan bottom.