Recipes: Todd English's Thanksgiving Day Dishes

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 10:00am


Chef, resta­ur­ateur, and author of the new book "Cooking in Everyday English," Todd English demos some delicious Thanksgiving Day dishes.  Serve up some fo­r your family this holiday!

Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese
"There are lots of ways to get your kids to try new foods. This mac and cheese appeals to everyone! The sweet butternut squash actually thickens the sauce, and the crushed amaretti cookies with panko breadcrumbs create a flavorful topping.
Serve this with a salad and grilled chicken-my idea of a perfect meal."

Unsalted butter, 2 Tbsp.
Butternut squash, 4 cups peeled and diced (about 1 lb.)
Penne pasta, 31/2 cups (12 oz.) uncooked
Heavy cream, 2 cups
Ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp.
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1/2 cup finely grated, ­divided
Ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup
Kosher salt, 1 tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.
Amaretti cookies, 2 crushed
Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Add 2 cups water; cover and cook 5 minutes or until squash is tender. Drain.
2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, stir together cream, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in squash. Process mixture with a handheld blender until smooth. (Or, let mixture cool 20 minutes, and process, in batches, in a food processor or blender until smooth.) Stir in ricotta, salt, and pepper.
4. Stir together hot cooked pasta and squash mixture. Pour into a buttered 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Stir together cookies and panko, and sprinkle over pasta mixture. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cover tightly.
5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 7 minutes or until top is browned. Serve immediately. 6 to 8 servings

Note: For a less sweet dish, omit the amaretti cookies and double the panko.
Drink: Horchata, a traditional Central American drink made from toasted almonds, vanilla, cinnamon, and rice. Great for kids and adults alike!

Corn Spoon Bread
"I grew up in Georgia, and this spoon bread takes me right back to my childhood, when eating fried oysters and spoon bread on the coast near Savannah was a regular meal. This is an
incredible side dish for Fried Chicken My Way (page 145) or my Bluefish Saltimbocca (page 197)."

Milk, 4 cups
Stone-ground yellow cornmeal, 2 cups
Fresh corn kernels, 2 cups
Sugar, 1/4 cup
Baking powder, 1 Tbsp.
Kosher salt, 2 tsp.
Large egg whites, 3
Large eggs, 3
Unsalted butter, 1/2 cup, divided
Honey, 1 Tbsp.

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Combine milk and cornmeal in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10
minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and stir in corn kernels.
2. Combine sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cornmeal mixture, stirring with a whisk.
3. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add eggs to cornmeal batter, stirring with a whisk; fold in egg whites.
4. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/4 cup butter to pan, tilting to coat bottom. Cook over medium-low heat 3 minutes or until butter begins to brown. Pour batter
into pan. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes or until set.
5. While spoon bread bakes, combine remaining 1/4 cup butter and honey in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat 2 minutes or until butter melts. Drizzle honey butter over top of bread. Serve immediately. 10 to 12 servings
Drink: English Stout

Creamy Miso Sweet Potatoes
"Miso added to sweet potatoes introduces an uncommon depth of flavor that leaves people asking for more! Use a ricer or food mill to mash the potatoes into a silky puree. Serve this as the base for Chicken Under a Brick (page 144), Black and White Sesame Green Beans (page 104) or Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onions, and Crispy Bacon (page 110). Miso is sold in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. Try a tablespoon in your vinaigrette."

Sweet potatoes, 21/2 lb. (about 3 medium)
Parchment paper
Unsalted butter, 1/4 cup
White miso, 2 Tbsp.
Heavy cream, 2 Tbsp.
Kosher salt, 1/4 tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Scrub potatoes; pat dry, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 1 hour or until tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove skins from potatoes.
2. Press potatoes through a food mill into a bowl. Place potato, butter, and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 8 minutes or until hot. 4 servings

Note: If you don't have a food mill, process peeled cooked potato, butter, and remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan, and heat as directed in recipe.

miso (MEE-soh) n. Fermented soybean paste that also contains rice or barley and is used as a flavoring in Japanese dishes. Miso comes in different strengths and fl avors; generally, the darker the color, the stronger the taste.

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onions, and Crispy Bacon
"Brussels sprouts are misunderstood- probably because most people don't know how to cook them properly. Roasted in the oven, they become sweet and caramelized-the perfect platform for other layers of flavor such as apples, onions, and smoky bacon. This recipe will convert folks to the Brussels sprout-loving team! The Chestnut Puree is unbelievable.  Try it with my Grilled Maple- Brined Turkey (page 148), too."

Brussels sprouts, 2 lb.
Olive oil, 2 Tbsp.
Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.
Thick bacon slices, 6 cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Gala apple, 1 peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
Onion, 1/2 medium thinly sliced
Lemon, 1/2 medium
Chestnut Puree (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Remove discolored leaves from Brussels sprouts.  Cut off stem ends, and cut a shallow X in the bottom of each sprout. Place Brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Spread sprouts on a large baking sheet.
2. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until brown and tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Transfer sprouts to a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in skillet.
4. Cook apple and onion in hot drippings over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown. Pour apple and onion over Brussels Sprouts. Squeeze lemon half over mixture, and sprinkle with bacon; toss gently.
5. Spoon each serving of Brussels sprouts over about 4 Tbsp. Chestnut Puree, if desired. 6 servings

Chestnut Puree: While this is available in most grocery stores, you can also make your own. Cook 11/2 cups chestnut puree and 3/4 cup milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until hot. Stir in 3 Tbsp. maple syrup and 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper. Process mixture with a handheld blender until smooth. 2 cups

Spiced Apple Compote
"Apples are so good on their own, and I love that this compote highlights their flavor. Use an assortment of apples suited McIntosh."

Vanilla bean, 1 split
Sugar, 21/2 cups
Unsalted butter, 2 cups
Cinnamon sticks, 2
Kosher salt, 1 Tbsp.
Ground cinnamon, 2 tsp.
Ground ginger, 1 tsp.
Ground nutmeg, 1 tsp.
Assorted apples, 14 large peeled and quartered
Raisins, 1/2 cup
Apple brandy (Calvados), 1/4 cup
Vanilla Ice Cream (page 226)

1. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Bring vanilla bean and seeds, sugar, and next 6 ingredients to a simmer in a stockpot or large sauce pan over high heat. Add apples and raisins, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, 40 minutes or until mixture thickens and apples soften and begin to break down.
2. Remove from heat. Stir in apple brandy. Serve immediately with ice cream.12 cups

Note: Let mixture cool completely (about 2 hours) before chilling any leftovers.  Remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean before reheating.

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