Thanksgiving dinner

Let’s state the obvious, I love Thanksgiving, especially the foods associated with this holiday. Just to be clear, I’m talking about the US Thanksgiving holiday on the 4th Thursday of November. In Texas, it’s usually just starting to get cool enough to feel like autumn and really start enjoying the hearty cold-weather foods. Plus, you’ve got the flavors that start showing up in autumn. Pumpkin. Butternut squash.

Basically, the whole idea of this blog came about because of Thanksgiving recipes. We went to visit Curt’s family in California and he couldn’t find the recipe for the stuffing that we liked and I got the idea of saving it online. This was way before social media or online storage so I created a personal website on Time Warner Cable’s system where they let you create a little personal site. When they killed that program, I brought it to WordPress.

Here is our a list of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes and we do most of them every year.

TURKEY – we used to brine and roast the turkey every year. However, last year we bought an electric smoker and we smoked a turkey (OK, 3 of them) last year. We’re going to smoke some more this year.

DRESSING – this cornbread dressing is our favorite. In fact, all other normal, traditional ones taste so bland after this cornbread, chorizo, butternut squash recipe.

Green bean casserole – this one is best when made with all fresh ingredients. Yes, it OK with canned green beans but it’s so much better with fresh bean like in this Green Bean Casserole.

DESSERT – Neither of us are big dessert fans but one of my favorites is pecan pie. However, it’s so sweet, I can only eat a small piece. Curt found a recipe for 1/2 pecan pie and 1/2 pumpkin pie. It’s a great mix of the two pies and kind of the best of both. I’ve never posted that recipe so once I do, I’ll add a link to it here.

The whole point of this post is that I hope everyone who reads this has a great Thanksgiving with great food, but more importantly, with great family and friends to share it with. The best part of spending so much time in the kitchen making great food is sharing it with people who are important to you.

Happy Thanksgiving from our table to yours!

Green Bean Casserole

Here is our recipe for green bean casserole. It’s the first one we made from scratch with fresh green beans, as opposed to using can beans. It’s really not that hard and the FRESH ┬áhome-made fried onions are awesome. I got this from a magazine years ago but we’ve adapted it a lot over the years. Please make them and don’t use the canned onions. I know it takes more work but your tongue will totally thank you!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb green beans (or you can get fancy and use hericots verts, trimmed
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 large white onion sliced into 1/4 inch rings
  • Flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging onions
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 12 ounces of mushrooms, we use whatever is fresh at the grocery store which is usually button mushrooms; however the original recipe calls for shiitake and cultivated mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons fresh or 3/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, heated
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until crisp and tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon. Let them cool completely and then drain on paper towels. This helps them stay bright green and crisp.

For the fried onions: Heat 2 inches of the oil in a large deep skillet to 375 degrees. Working in small batches, dust the onion rings with the flour, shaking off the excess, and fry them for 1 to 2 minutes or until light golden. Transfer the onions after they are browned to paper towels to drain. Repeat the procedure with the remaining onions and flour.

For the main casserole: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium, add the remaining tablespoon of butter, all the mushrooms and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated.

Sprinkle the flour on top of the mushrooms and cook the mixture, stirring for 1 minute. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. stir in the green beans and half the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese and fried onions and bake until hot and bubbling (about 20 to 25 minutes).