Clapping On The Down Beat

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Just in time for Thanksgiving November 17, 2011

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics,Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:55 PM

Last night our lesson was on poultry.  Sometimes you are better off not knowing details about what you eat.  But if you are going to learn to cook well, then sometimes we need to know what is behind the curtain.  I will spare the details here.  I was though, really excited to learn how to truss a chicken/turkey to roast whole, cut a whole chicken into half, quarters and eighths, and how to debone a chicken.  We then prepared a whole bunch of chicken using various cooking techiniques.  I think I got the easiest recipe; pan fry.


Lots of great deals for Thanksgiving so stock up your pantry on staples like canned broth, baking supplies and cranberries.  There will be no coupon inserts next weekend since it is a holiday weekend.  Next week I will post about Black Friday ( the day after Thanksgiving- I will be going out thursday night!) and Cyber Monday- all the great on line deals the monday after Thanksgiving.  Here are some great holiday recipes to try this year.

ROASTED SMASHED POTATOES- Excellent  I used small purple potatoes

2 pounds small red potatoes

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

Adjust oven racks to top and bottom positions and heat oven to 500 F. Arrange potatoes on rimmed baking sheet, pour 3/4 cup water into baking sheet and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Cook on bottom rack until paring knife or skewer slips in and out of potatoes easily (poke through foil to test), 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and cool 10 minutes. If any water remains on baking sheet, blot dry with paper towel. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over potatoes and roll to coat. Space potatoes evenly on baking sheet and place second baking sheet on top; press down firmly on baking sheet, flattening potatoes until 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Roast potatoes on top rack for 15 minutes, then transfer potatoes to bottom rack and continue to roast until well browned, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Serve immediately.



3/4 cup pecans, chopped coarse

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Salt and pepper

2 shallots, minced

2/3 teaspoon grated orange zest

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

11/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

Toast pecans in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1 tablespoon butter, maple syrup and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Return skillet to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are dry and glossy, about 45 seconds; transfer to plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, orange zest and cayenne, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour until combined, then add green beans. Add chicken broth, orange juice and sage. Increase heat to medium-high, cover and cook until beans are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Off heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with pecans and serve.



  • 1/2 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon (or vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; sprinkle piecrust with powdered sugar.
  • 2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until foamy; whisk in brown sugar and next 6 ingredients. Pour mixture into piecrust, and top with pecan halves.
  • 3. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300°, and bake 30 more minutes. Turn oven off, and let pie stand in oven, with door closed, 3 hours.


  • 2 (6-oz.) packages long-grain and wild rice mix
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 12 ounces assorted fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Marsala
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1. Prepare rice mix according to package directions.
  • 2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 7 minutes or until golden. Add mushrooms and salt; sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add Marsala, and sauté 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir mushroom mixture and parsley into prepared rice.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1. Stir together sugar, port, and 3/4 cup water in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan until blended. Add cranberries; bring to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until cranberry skins begin to split. Remove from heat, and let cool 15 minutes.
  • 2. Pulse cranberry mixture in a food processor 3 to 4 times or until cranberries are almost pureed; stir in orange liqueur. Cover and chill 8 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.


  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (12- to 15-lb.) whole fresh turkey*
  • Cheesecloth
  • Kitchen string
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 small apples, quartered or halved
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (optional)
  • 1. Stir together apple juice and next 2 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • 2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and rinse turkey with cold water. Drain cavity well; pat dry. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Dip cheesecloth in apple juice mixture. Wring dry. Cover turkey with cheesecloth; pour apple juice mixture over cheesecloth, coating completely. Cover and chill 12 to 24 hours, basting occasionally with marinade.
  • 3. Preheat oven to 325°. Remove turkey from pan, discarding cheesecloth and reserving 3 cups marinade. Sprinkle cavity with desired amount of salt; rub into cavity. Sprinkle desired amount of salt and freshly ground pepper on skin; rub into skin. Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck wingtips under.
  • 4. Arrange celery and next 3 ingredients in a single layer in bottom of roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on celery mixture; pour reserved marinade over turkey in pan.
  • 5. Bake at 325° for 3 hours and 15 minutes to 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165°, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices and shielding with aluminum foil after 2 hours and 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Remove from oven, and let stand 30 minutes.
  • 6. Transfer turkey to a serving platter, reserving 2 1/2 cups pan drippings. Pour reserved drippings through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding solids.
  • 7. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add drippings, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring mixture occasionally, 5 minutes or until gravy thickens. Add up to 1/2 cup chicken broth for desired consistency, if desired. Stir in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve turkey with warm gravy.
  • *Frozen whole turkey, thawed, may be substituted.


  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage plus 1 large sprig
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus 1 large sprig
  • 1 14- to 16-lb. turkey
  • 5 large onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half
  • 1 large sprig parsley
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1. In a small pan over medium heat, bring 1/2 cup maple syrup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly. In a bowl, combine butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and chopped sage and thyme. Stir in reduced syrup. Place in refrigerator to cool, stirring frequently.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey inside and out with cool water; pat dry. Gently loosen skin from breast. Spread 2/3 of butter mixture under skin. Season inside of turkey generously with salt and pepper and stuff with 8 onion wedges, garlic and herb sprigs. Tie drumsticks together and tuck wings under. Scatter remaining onion wedges in a large roasting pan, top with a rack and place turkey on rack. Spread remaining butter mixture all over turkey. Pour 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of apple cider into bottom of roasting pan. Cover loosely with foil. Roast turkey, basting every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer placed in thickest part of thigh reads 165ºF, about 3 hours.
  • 3. In the last half hour, remove foil and baste with half of reserved 1/3 cup maple syrup. Roast 15 minutes; repeat basting. Transfer turkey to platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • 4. Make gravy: Remove rack from roasting pan and pour drippings into a measuring cup, leaving onion in pan. Skim fat from drippings and return 4 Tbsp. fat to pan. Place pan over 2 burners on medium heat. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups of cider and 1 cup of broth and reserved drippings to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain into saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Serve with turkey.


  • 1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  • 2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey; discard liver. Reserve neck and giblets. Pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.
  • 3. Combine butter, 2 teaspoons rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, coriander, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub butter mixture under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, reserved giblets, neck, carrots, celery, and onion in the bottom of a large roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Add 1/2 cup broth. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side up, on roasting rack. Bake turkey at 425° for 30 minutes.
  • 4. Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove turkey from oven). Add 1/2 cup broth to pan. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Rotate pan in oven; bake an additional 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Remove from oven; let stand on a cutting board for 30 minutes. Discard skin.
  • 5. Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside a 4-cup glass measure. Strain pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes. Discard solids. Seal bag; snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain pan drippings into a medium saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches the opening. Add remaining 2 cups broth to pan; bring to a boil. Combine 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir the flour mixture into broth mixture, and boil 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve gravy with turkey.

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