Thanksgiving on a Budget

For more information and recipes from Stratford University and Chef James Sinopoli, click here.

How to Brine a Turkey

If you want a moist, flavorful turkey, brining a turkey is a great way to accomplish this. This turkey brine recipe is so easy and using the refrigerator bin or an ice chest with a Turkey roasting bag to hold the turkey in the brine, while keeping the turkey cold in the ice chest with ice is a great way to prepare the turkey before thanksgiving.

• 12 cups of water, divided
• 1 cup of kosher salt
• 2 cups of white or brown sugar
• 1 cup apple of cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons of sage
• 2 tablespoons of thyme
• 2 tablespoons rosemary
• 1 tablespoon of pepper
• 6 cups of ice

1. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Stir in 8 cups of cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper and ice. The brine is ready to be used.
2. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. Rinse the outside and inside of a thawed turkey. Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry. Completely submerge the turkey in a large soup pot bigger than the bird and cover with a lid. Allow the turkey to marinate for 12 hours for a small turkey (8-10 lbs) and up to a full day for a bigger bird. Rinse turkey and pat dry before adding additional seasoning, butter, or oil in preparation for roasting.

*It is important not to use a self basting, pre-seasoned, or kosher turkey, otherwise the turkey will be too salty.

Chestnut Soup

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• ½ cup finely chopped celery
• ½ cup finely chopped carrot
• ½ cup finely chopped onion
• 1 garlic clove minced
• 3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 whole cloves
• 6 cups of chicken broth
• 1 (14-15 ounce) jar of peeled cooked whole chestnuts, crumbled (3cups)
• ¼ cup of Madeira wine
• ¼ cup of heavy cream
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Melt butter in a 3 quart heavy saucepan over low heat, and then stir in celery, carrot, garlic, and onion. Then cover the pan to soften the vegetables. This can take anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes.
2. Wrap parsley, cloves, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with string to make a bouquet garni.
3. Add broth and bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25 minutes. Add chestnuts and Madeira and simmer, covered for 3 minutes.
4. Puree soup using an immersion blender, or in small batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to 4-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in cream, pepper, and salt to taste.

Mushroom Sage Stuffing

• 1 (10-ounce) package white slice button mushrooms
• 3 tablespoons canola oil or butter
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of chicken broth
• 1 loaf day old French bread, diced into ½ inch cubes
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat to oven to 350°. Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Stir in the onions and celery and cook until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and herbs and continue to cook until the mushrooms are browned and the vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk together the eggs and chicken broth in a large bowl. Add the cubed bread and toss to coat all of the bread. Stir in the cooked onions and mushroom mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to the baking dish and bake, covered loosely with foil, for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking time to brown to top.

Cream Puff Pastry (Choux Paste)
Pastry used for Potato Puffs and Pumpkin Mousse

• 1 cup of water
• 4 ounce butter (1 stick) cut in 1 tablespoon segments
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
• 6 eggs

1. Combine the water, salt and butter in a sauce pan and bring it to a rolling boil (be sure the better is cut up so it melts quickly before that water boils).
2. Add flour all at once and stir constantly until it makes dough that comes away from the sides of the pot, remove it from the heat.
3. Stir it slightly to remove some of the heat, beat the eggs in one at a time, beating vigorously between additions.
4. Use immediately by piping out or scooping out golf ball size portions of the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet
5. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes until the puffs have risen, then reduce the temperature to 350° and allow the puffs to finish baking to a golden brown and the puffs are dry throughout.

Potato Puffs (with Choux Paste)

• Approximately1 cup of Choux Paste
• Approximately1 cup mashed potatoes
• ½ cup of shredded cheese
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I like parsley and chives)
• Pinch of nutmeg
• Oil for deep fat frying set at 350°
• Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Combine the Choux Paste and mashed potatoes
2. Add the shredded cheese and herbs alone with salt and pepper to taste
3. Place the mixture into a piping bag, or a zip lock bag with the corner cut open to squeeze out lengths into hot fat. Remove the browned and fried puffs to absorbent toweling.
4. The puffs are best served right after they are prepared, however, you can store them in a single layer with parchment or wax paper separating the layers in the freezer. Refresh the puffs by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet with foil sprayed with non-stick spray and bake the frozen puffs in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or when they are adequately hot throughout.

Maple-Glazed Baby Carrots

• 3 lbs of baby carrots
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 6 tablespoons of butter
• 6 tablespoons of maple syrup

1. Place carrots in a large saucepan. Add water to barely cover; add salt. Bring to a boil; cook about 7 minutes or until carrots are crisp and tender, drain the carrots well.
2. In a sauté pan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrots and the maple syrup. Sauté for about 1-2 minutes to coat and glaze the carrots. You can garnish with chopped parsley, chopped orange zest, or even candied chopped walnuts.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

• 1 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries
• 1 orange

1. Put washed, drained cranberries in a food processor with 1 orange quartered, seeded, and roughly chopped.
2. Pulse the contents of the food processor for a few seconds, just until coarsely chopped. Stop and scrape down sides of the bowl, if necessary to chop evenly.
3. Add ¾ to 1 cup of sugar and taste adjusting sweetness as desired.
4. Stir well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Cranberry Orange Relish may be frozen for up to 2 months.

Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Easy Pumpkin Mousse Filling (with Choux Paste)

• 6 eggs separated
• 1 cup sugar divided
• 15 ounce can of pumpkin
• 4 ounces of cream cheese
• 1 cup of heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons of dark rum
• ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
• Pinch of nutmeg
• Pinch of cardamom
• Pinch of salt

1. Over a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks, ½ the sugar and the rum until hot and thick
2. In a mixer, cream the cream cheese and pumpkin filling together until smooth, blend in the egg yolk mixture and add the spices to the mixture. Remove to a clean large bowl and let cool.
3. Whip the egg whites until frothy and then gradually add the remaining sugar whipping to a firm peak.
4. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture in 3 additions.
5. Whip the cream to a medium-firm peak (careful not to over-whip the cream or it will turn to butter) and fold the cream into the pumpkin mixture.

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