thanksgiving meal



this thanksgiving i have decided to bend tradition and not make a turkey. we did not have big plans and only had few friends over for dinner. they were all israelis anyway, so the symbolism of the turkey would not have been missed. my husband, his brother and their father are fried chicken lovers and would drive 2 hours off course on any trip to try the local fried chicken offering. considering my husband and his brother would be present, i have decided that this would be a great opportunity to give it a go. after hearing how hard it was to make home fried chicken, i took comfort in the fact that my small group of friends will understand if the meal turned into a complete disaster.
call it a lack of proper english, call it haste, but off the bat i made a huge mistake. while preparing the chicken for marination, when the recipe called to "skin" only the wings, i did the opposite. I skinned the chicken and left the wings alone. just
as i was about to drop the chicken into the frying pot, it hit me like a drum stick in the stomach, a vision of me sitting with my husband at blue ribbon restaurant eating fried chicken and enjoying the... SKIN! after a few quick breaths, and no other choice I decided to continue. i was worried that the chicken will either dry quickly or the batter will not hold. the good new is, the chicken came out moist, with wonderful crispy batter, delicious and cooked to perfection. i gave myself credit for making the first "healthy" fried chicken.
i had bought too much chicken and used only half of it for the thanksgiving meal. ignoring the accidental "success" of the skinless fried chicken, i have invited more friends for a second round meal the following day. this time i prepared the chicken accordingly. both chicken dishes came out divine, but the version with the skin was better. my husband and his brother were in a 48-hour fired chicken heaven.

i served the chicken with wonderful fluffy homemade biscuits, roasted fingerling potatoes with dried figs, amazing baked beans and a mixed green salad. for dessert i have made a bittersweet chocolate pecan pie.




fried chicken: (recipe taken from epicurious.com)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons onion powder with green onion and parsley
5 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons dry mustard
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 3- to 3 1/4-pound fryer chicken, backbone removed, chicken cut into 8 pieces, skinned (except wings)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
5 cups (or more) peanut oil (for frying)

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PREPARATION
in 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, mix buttermilk, dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon black pepper. add chicken pieces. seal bag, eliminating air. turn bag to coat chicken evenly. refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days, turning plastic bag occasionally.
whisk flour, baking powder, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon onion powder, 4 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons dry mustard, 3 teaspoons cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass dish. with marinade still clinging to chicken pieces (do not shake off excess), add chicken to flour mixture; turn to coat thickly. let chicken stand in flour mixture for 1 hour, turning chicken occasionally to recoat with flour mixture.
pour oil to depth of 1 1/4 inches into deep 10- to 11-inch-diameter pot. attach deep-fry
thermometer. heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. add 4 pieces of chicken, skinned side down, to oil. reduce heat to medium-low and fry 5 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature between 280°F and 300°F (oil should bubble constantly around chicken). using wooden spoons, turn chicken over. fry 7 minutes. turn chicken over again. fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. using same spoons, transfer chicken to large rack set on baking sheet.
reheat oil to 350°F. repeat frying with remaining 4 pieces of chicken. serve chicken warm or at room temperature within 2 hours, or chill up to 1 day and serve cold.
whisk flour, baking powder, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon onion powder, 4 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons dry mustard, 3 teaspoons cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass dish. with marinade still clinging to chicken pieces (do not shake off
excess), add chicken to flour mixture; turn to coat thickly. Let chicken stand in flour mixture for 1 hour, turning chicken occasionally to recoat with flour mixture.
pour oil to depth of 1 1/4 inches into deep 10- to 11-inch-diameter pot. attach deep-fry thermometer. heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. add 4 pieces of chicken, skinned side down, to oil. reduce heat to medium-low and fry 5 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature between 280°F and 300°F (oil should bubble constantly around chicken). using wooden spoons, turn chicken over. fry 7 minutes. turn chicken over again. fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. using same spoons, transfer chicken to large rack set on baking sheet.
reheat oil to 350°F. repeat frying with remaining 4 pieces of chicken. serve chicken warm or at room temperature within 2 hours, or chill up to 1 day and serve cold.




roasted fingerling potatoes with dried figs and thyme: (recipe taken from nytimes.com)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound dried black mission figs or other dried figs
1 1/2 cups brewed black tea, more if necessary
2 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 head garlic
5 sprigs of thyme
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

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PREPARATION
place figs in a bowl, cover with hot black tea and let cool. cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, depending on initial softness of figs.
preheat oven to 400 degrees. wash potatoes well and trim any bad parts. separate garlic head into individual cloves but do not remove outer skin.
drain figs. in a bowl, combine garlic, thyme, figs, potatoes and olive oil; toss. place on roasting pan and bake until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork, about 30 minutes. remove and season immediately with salt and pepper. serve.


proper salt pork

baked beans: (recipe taken from epicurious.com)

these beans boast two staples of montreal cuisine —sweet maple syrup and rich salt pork*.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dried navy beans (2 1/4 cups)
1 (1/4-lb) piece salt pork (rind discarded)
4 1/2 cups water
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 tablespoon dry English mustard (preferably Colman's)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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PREPARATION
pick over and rinse 1 lb dried navy beans (2 1/4 cups). soak in cold water to cover by 2 inches at least 8 hours. drain.
put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. rinse and pat dry 1 (1/4-lb) piece salt pork (rind discarded), then cut into 3 pieces.
put beans and pork in an oven proof 3-quart heavy pot with a lid. add 4 1/2 cups water, 1 large onion (finely chopped; about 2 cups), 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 cup grade B maple syrup, 1 tablespoon dry english mustard, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine. cover pot and bake until beans are just tender, at least 3 to 4 hours.
reduce oven temperature to 325°F. remove lid. bake beans, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed but beans are still saucy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more. remove from oven. stir in 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste.

* make sure that you get a real salt pork. its should be completely white. its hard to find. i got mine at whole foods.



buttermilk biscuits: (recipe taken from epicurious.com)

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing biscuits

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PREPARATION
put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda onto a sheet of wax paper, then sift again into a bowl. blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).
turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8- by 5 1/2-inch rectangle. trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 1/2-inch) squares, flouring knife between cuts. transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk or cream. Bbake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.



bittersweet chocolate pecan pie: (recipe taken from gourmet magazine)

INGREDIENTS

1 (3 1/2- to 4-oz) fine-quality 60%- to 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate bar, finely chopped
* pastry dough
2 cups pecan halves (7 oz), toasted and cooled
3 large eggs
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark corn syrup

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PREPARATION
preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over barely simmering water, stirring. remove from heat.
roll out dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. fit into a 9-inch pie plate. trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. fold overhang under and press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively.
spread chocolate in bottom of pie shell with back of spoon and let it set, then cover with pecans.
whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl, then whisk in corn syrup and pour over pecans.
bake pie until filling is puffed and crust is golden, 50 to 60 minutes. (If pie is browning too fast after 30 minutes, loosely cover with foil.) cool pie on a rack to warm or room temperature. serve with whipped cream.

* click here for a video by gourmet magazine, explaining how to make the pastry dough

pastry dough: (recipe taken from gourmet magazine)

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

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PREPARATION
blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
turn out dough onto a work surface. divide dough into 4 portions. with heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. gather all dough together with pastry scraper. press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk.
wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

2 comments:

Miho said...

I love it, your idea to have fried chicken.....mmmmmm.....no wonder I get along with your hubby.....I LOVE fried chicken.....will have to try to make it over here....the Aussies call chicken "chook" for some funny reason!

We had an early thanksgiving meal with my parents in Detroit.....

big hugs, M!

Michal Rosen said...

wow, sister, sounds like you have done it again! wish i was there. hopefully maybe next year...or better yet - passover!