Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner to the Tenth Flavor Power

I made this dinner for family in town, at the last minute we invited them over...luckily I had stocked up on supplies in advanced which makes entertaining in a pinch, very easy and stress free... which leads me to one of my favorite kitchen tip:

*Kitchen Tip; Buy more in advanced: catch the sales that pop up around the holidays...stock up and save! Then, You also have little side dishes waiting in the pantry, just in case. For example, corned beef at St. Patricks time, turkey at Thanksgiving, frozen veggies on sale, boxed pasta, stuffing, etc.. You are prepared for entertaining on the fly, you CAN do this!

This has worked out perfectly for me, today. I thought, "okay, what in the heck am I going to make?" In the pantry I had standard bag of red potatoes, a box of corn bread stuffing and, lucky me, I even have a turkey in the freezer. SO, buying extra and keeping the basics on hand has paid off today. Yay! The menu tomorrow night:

~Roasted turkey
(with an orange glaze using ingredients on hand from last week's dinner of cornish hens) 
Recipe for the glaze can be found here:
~Corn Bread Stuffing
( I will use the box and doctor it up with fresh sage, white french bread that I have a fresh loaf of on hand and fresh veggies)
~Steve's Loaded Mashed potatoes
~Green Beans
( *Kitchen Tip; freeze the extras: I got the idea to use these from my boss Michelle: I keep several bags of Italian cut green beans in the freezer, which keep a firm texture when steamed. They are my favorite fast veggie in a pinch. Thanks Michelle)
~Bercy Small Sauce
(this is a french shallot sauce derived from the mother Velouté sauce. Traditionally, it uses a fish veloute but for this dinner, I will use chicken stock. It can be used on top of all of the dishes, and really adds a wow to this basic American dinner)

Italian Cut Green Beans:

I package frozen italian cut green beans

Tablespoon of butter
Salt TT

I put the green beans in a dish right before dinner is to be served, microwave and doctor them up with butter, salt and stir.
Usually, mine only stay in for about 6 minutes.
I hate overdone vegetables, but these little beans are resilient.
Unless you leave them in for a ridiculous amout of time, they usually keep their firmness.
The Bercy sauce:

First, make the master Veloute sauce, which will include making a roux:
2 cups white stock (veal, chicken, or fish) -
white stock just means the bones were not roasted (if you have done what I suggested in an earlier blog, you will have lots of frozen flavorful homemade stock ready in the freezer)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Bring the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over low heat (don't let it burn) and *clarify the butter.

*Clarifying butter:
Once it has melted, the "scum" which is the fat solids, will rise to the top.
Take a spoon and skim all these solids off, until all you have left is the clear melted fat, yellow in color.

Making the roux:
Add the flour.

Raise the heat to medium and stir the butter and flour together for about 2 minutes.
You are making the roux.
Take a good whiff and it should have a pleasant toasted smell.
Whisk the simmering stock into the roux and keep heating and whisking. When the stock begins to simmer again, turn down the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens. A thin skin may form, just skim it away with your spoon. Depending on your stovetop, the sauce may take 5 - 10 minutes to get to your desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper
Strain if you have a fine mesh strainer

Now that you have made the master veloute sauce, you will add ingredients to make it the small sauce, Bercy. Of course this version is not a true bercy sace because I replaced the fish veloute with a chicken stock. *Please correct me with the true name of this type of sauce, if any chefs out there know the name

"Bercy" Sauce:

In a sauce pan, reduce down by two-thirds 2 oz. chopped shallots and half cup white wine
add one quart veloute (made above) reduce slightly
finish with 2 tbsp raw butter, chopped parsley and lemon juice to taste

Mashed Potatoes, Loaded:
Steve makes the mashed potatoes and he has a secret recipe that includes
Red Potatoes, boiled
cream cheese,
sour cream
cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
I've come to call them loaded mashed potatoes
I could also call them artery clogging potatoes, because they are just that good.
Let me tell you, Paula Deen would swoon over these potatoes
And there it is, an American dinner with a gourmet twist.
I promise you, that one little sauce will just wow your guests with the flavor it brings to the meat and sides.
It adds such flavor that your friends will think they are dining at a French American Fusion 5 star restaurant.
Try it out sometime for a special night.
Happy Cooking, all

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