Mmm,Mmm Good
Local Chefs Share Their Favorite Family Recipes
by Gwyneth Doland


November 18 - November 24, 1999

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Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when almost all Americans eat the same things. You may already have your whole menu planned out or made reservations for dinner out, but for those of you who haven't given it any thought at all, here is our official menu. Use one recipe or all of them and add your own family specialties. Don't forget to start early and invent as you go!


Herb and Spice Rubbed Roast Turkey

My mom used this seasoning mix on all poultry, but I always associate it with Thanks- giving. Having the house filled with the aroma but not being able to eat until the late afternoon was true torture, but we usually endured.

  • 4 tablespoons Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • 6 tablespoons onion powder
  • 6 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 5 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
Wash your thawed or fresh turkey inside and out (remove the bag of giblets if you find it inside the cavity). Pat skin dry with paper towels. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Coat the bird inside and out with half of the seasoning paste. Tie the bird's legs together with kitchen twine. Cook according to your favorite method or fill with stuffing and roast in a big roasting pan for four hours at 300°. Pour the remaining seasoning paste over the top of the turkey and roast until thermometer inserted into the middle of the thigh reads 155-160°, about another two hours. This will depend on the size of your turkey, so consult the weight/temperature guide on the package. After you remove it from the oven, let the turkey sit for 30 minutes before carving in order to let the juices congeal and reabsorb into the meat.


Red Chile "Gravy"

Growing up in Jemez Pueblo, my family always had red chile to serve with our Thanksgiving dinner. I really think red chile on mashed potatoes and turkey is the best way to eat Thanksgiving dinner in the Southwest.

  • 1/2 pound dry red chile pods
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 1/4 pound pork or beef in 1/2 inch cubes (if desired)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced into
  • 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • salt to taste
Soak the chiles in the hot water for about 30 minutes, until they are soft. In a blender, purée the chiles in batches of about 1/2 cup of chiles and 2 cups of water each. Set aside.

In a large sauce pot, heat the oil and sauté meat, onions and garlic. Add red chile purée and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are soft, and season with salt.


Cornbread and Smoked Ham Stuffing

Make the cornbread two days ahead for the best result. The recipe on the back of the bag of cornmeal is fine.

  • 6 ounces butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 4 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1/2 pound smoked ham, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 pounds two day-old cornbread, cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté onions and celery until translucent and semi-soft. Add smoked ham and continue to cook for five minutes. Add herbs and cornbread. Add the turkey stock until stuffing just holds together. Season with salt and pepper. Fill breast and neck cavity with stuffing and truss. Roast according to Jeff Rubin's recipe or your own. If you have extra stuffing, put it in a casserole dish and cook alongside the turkey for the last 45 minutes of cooking time. If you want to make a portion of the stuffing vegetarian, leave the ham out of some of it, use veggie stock and roast separately in a dish.


Cranberry-Orange Relish Cups

My mom made this every year when we were kids, and veterans of my Thanksgiving feasts know it well. It's from a recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries and it's great! We always have the relish in addition to regular cranberry sauce, because there are always one or two unenlightened people who absolutely hate this stuff.

  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar or to taste
  • 1 orange plus 1/2 for each guest, so for 6 guests you'll need 1 plus 3
You'll need a food processor or a blender for this. Cut one orange into eight slices and remove the seeds if necessary. Put it in the processor with the cranberries and sugar. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the cranberries and oranges are mixed together and chopped into small pieces about the size and shape of the cabbage in Kentucky Fried Chicken's cole slaw. Cut the remaining oranges in half using the zig-zag method shown in the photo. Slice off a small part of the rounded bottom of each orange half so that it will stand up straight and not wobble. Scoop out all the orange flesh and eat it or juice it or whatever. Then fill your beautiful cups with the relish and place them around the turkey when you present it.


New Mexico Calabacitas

In both the American Southwest and Mexico, corn and squash were cultivated centuries before European colonization, and chiles had certainly made their way north by that time. Though the Spanish name of this dish refers to squash, corn remains an equal partner in the dish here in New Mexico, the original corn capital of the country.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 cups (about 2 pounds) mixed yellow summer squash, zucchini or light green-skinned calabacita squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped roasted green chile, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 2 to 4 ounces creamy fresh goat cheese or cream cheese, cut into small bits (optional)
  • hulled pumpkin seeds (optional)
Warm the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and onion, and sauté for about 10 minutes, until well softened. Add the corn, chiles and salt; cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until very tender, about 10 additional minutes. About halfway through the cooking time, add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture seems dry. Stir in the cheese, if you wish, before removing from the stove, letting it melt into the vegetables. For a contrasting crunch, sprinkle with optional pumpkin seeds before serving.


Buttermilk Pecan Pie

I came up with this pie because traditional pecan pie is so terribly sweet that you don't have a chance to enjoy the pecans. Buttermilk cuts the sweetness and brings out the full flavor of the pecans.

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 9-inch pie shell (Pillsbury from the freezer section works OK)
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and salt. Add buttermilk. Spread pecans over the bottom of the pie shell and pour filling over them. Bake until the top of the pie is golden brown and the filling doesn't jiggle when the pie plate is gently shaken. Cool and serve with whipped cream.


Green Chile Apple Cobbler

Filling

  • 5-6 tart apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chile
  • pinch allspice
Topping

  • 1/2 pound butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a large bowl, toss apples with the rest of the filling ingredients. Spread apple mixture in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Mix all dry topping ingredients together and then mix in butter cubes. Stir until smooth. Press the topping mixture on top of the filling mixture and press firmly until well packed. Bake at 375° until brown and bubbly. Serve warm.


Sweet Potato Pie

This pie is a tradition in the Powdrell family at holidays and a popular dessert in our restaurants. We sell hundreds of them during the holiday season. It's Mr. Powdrell's favorite!

  • 1 3/4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes or one 15-ounce can
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 9-inch pie shell
Preheat oven to 350°. Blend spices together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, mix sweet potatoes, sugar and spice mixture together with a wire whisk. Add eggs and mix until incorporated. Add milk and mix until smooth. Stir in melted butter and vanilla and pour the mixture into the pie shell. Bake for 1 hour and serve cold or warm, topped with lots of whipped cream.


Special thanks to all the chefs who were kind enough to share their recipes with me. May you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!


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