The countdown is on, and only six days remain until the frenetic holiday season officially begins.   Crazy relatives, grumpy co-workers and retail insanity all hits at once.   If you are the host/hostess to a Thanksgiving Celebration, that season started about three weeks ago when you had to decide exactly what turkey and size you would be ordering this year, and of course who to include and exclude from the festivities.  For us, the turkey choice is  always the D’Artagnan Free Range Heritage Turkey – most flavorful turkey I’ve ever prepared hands down!

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To save a little stress, courtesy of Chefs Press, I’m sharing two of my favorite holiday recipes with you, along with a guide to celebrating Turkey Day.  All these great tips and more can be found in their book Great Food! From the Great News Cooking School. Oh, and in case I forget to mention, the Pumpkin Pie is the best Pumpkin Pie I’ve ever tasted – it is light and creamy and a little bit of pie heaven.  It had rave reviews from my co-workers, Sous Chef, and two paws up from Coco & Rafa.   This is the tantalizing menu Chef Katherine Emmenegger provides for Thanksgiving:

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy • Green Beans Amandine • Mashed Potatoes • Cranberry Relish • …Sage-Scented Mixed Bread Dressing • Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Shallots • Pumpkin Pie.

This section of Great Food! provides the perfect guide for preparing your first Thanksgiving dinner, or your 20th. Chef Katherine includes not only classic, tasty recipes, but also a timetable of how to prepare the dishes ahead so you can actually enjoy the occasion and not be a frazzled mess the whole day.

This menu serves 8 to 10 people, depending on how much your guests eat and if you want to make extras for leftovers. Make sure you have a good roasting pan, a gravy separator, and an internal temperature thermometer with a probe. The right tools always make the job easier.

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Here’s a peek at the do-ahead planning list:

Two Weeks Ahead
• Determine how you will serve the meal —
family-style, plated, or buffet
• Prepare a list of dishes and serving utensils needed for the chosen style of service
• Order fresh turkey
• Shop for nonperishable items

This cookbook has taken a spot on my shelves next to Betty Crocker – it is that good!  I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a hostess gift, stocking stuffer, or gift idea for a bridal shower or graduation.  Visit the Chefs Press Facebook Page for more cooking and entertaining ideas. Oh, and don’t forget to order a copy at www.chefspress.com for all the chefs you love!

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy
 
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All these great tips and more can be found in their book Great Food! From the Great News Cooking School. Chef Katherine Emmenegger provides a tantalizing menu for Thanksgiving: Herb-Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy • Green Beans Amandine • Mashed Potatoes • Cranberry Relish • …
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American, Holiday, Thanksgiving
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients
  • Herb-Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy
  • Serves 8 to 10
  • TURKEY
  • 1 (12 – to 16-pound) turkey
  • ½ pound butter, softened
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Fresh sage sprigs
  • Fresh parsley sprigs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ribs celery, washed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, washed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick slices
  • 4 cups hot poultry stock
  • GRAVY (Makes about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups combined reserved pan juices and hot poultry stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
  1. Make the turkey. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Remove the giblets and neck, and set aside for the stuffing. Rinse the turkey under cold running water and pat dry. Trim the excess fat.
  3. Beginning at the tail end, loosen the skin over the breast meat. Insert one hand under the skin, taking care not to tear it. Loosen the skin at the drumstick from the same direction. Spread the butter evenly over the turkey meat under the skin.
  4. Arrange the herb sprigs beneath the skin on each leg and breast. Press the skin to secure.
  5. Rub the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff the celery, carrots and diced onions into the turkey cavity. Pull the wings up and behind the back so that the turkey rests on them. Tie or truss the turkey with cotton twine.
  6. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with the sliced onions and rest the turkey on top, or use a roasting rack. Either method will keep the turkey from sticking to the pan. Pour the hot stock into the pan.
  7. Cover the turkey with a foil tent. (The foil should not touch the turkey.) Place in the oven.
  8. Roast the turkey for 20 minutes per pound and baste every 30 minutes with the pan juices. The turkey is ready when an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh registers a minimum of 165°F. Be careful not to hit the bone with the thermometer, as the temperature will not be accurate. Remove the foil and place the turkey on a parchment-lined baking sheet for the last 20 to 30 minutes of roasting to brown. Reserve the pan juices.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven and place
  10. on a platter. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.
  11. Make the gravy. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the reserved pan juices and stock in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
  12. Simmer until lightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a gravy boat for serving.
  13. Serve. Arrange turkey slices on a platter and
  14. serve with gravy.

Pumpkin Pie
 
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All these great tips and more can be found in their book Great Food! From the Great News Cooking School. Chef Katherine Emmenegger provides a tantalizing menu for Thanksgiving: Herb-Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy • Green Beans Amandine • Mashed Potatoes • Cranberry Relish • …
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Holiday
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Makes 1 (9-inch) pie / Serves 8 • Chill pie shell 1 hour before baking
  • Pie Shell (Makes 2 shells or pastry for 1 pie, top and bottom)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter or Crisco
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
  • FILLING
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 11/2 cups fresh or canned pumpkin purée (Kabocha squash is great for fresh purée)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 11/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • WHIPPED CREAM
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Make the pie shell. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter or Crisco and work into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter.
  2. Continue to work the flour mixture until it resembles a course meal, about the size of peas. (This can also be done in a food processor or mixer.)
  3. Make three indentations into the dough and add
  4. tablespoons of the ice water. Toss together with your hands. Work quickly; do not overwork the dough. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add
  5. remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough tightens up.
  6. Divide dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling.
  7. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll one of the disks into a 10-inch circle. Put dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate and trim evenly along edge, leaving about a ½-inch overhang. Pinch to form a decorative the edge. If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15 minutes.
  8. Make the filling. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  10. In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Pour filling into the prepared pie shell. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F. and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack at room temperature.
  12. Make the whipped cream. With an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip to firm peaks.
  13. Serve pie with fresh whipped cream.

Photos and Recipes appear Courtesy of Chefs Press