By Polly Keary, Editor
Bored with cranberry sauce from a can and stove-top stuffing?
Among Monitor readers are a number of creative cooks, and last week several agreed to share the best of their Thanksgiving specialties.
Here are some ideas to put new flair onto your Thanksgiving table.
Wild Rice, Mushroom and Hazelnut Stuffing
From Quetzal Bradley
“This is my fave stuffing recipe,” said Bradley. “It’s gluten-free and delicious!”
Ingredients: 3/4 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
2/3 cup tawny or ruby port
3 cups (1 pound) wild rice, well rinsed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white parts only, cleaned and sliced
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms (such as cremini, shiitakes, and chanterelles), sliced
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, optional
Place the dried cherries in a small bowl and add the port wine. Let stand while making the stuffing.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the wild rice and reduce the heat to medium. Boil uncovered until the rice is barely tender (some of the rice grains may have burst), about 45 minutes. Drain the rice into a sieve and rinse under cold running water until cooled; drain well. Place in a large bowl.
In a very large skillet or flameproof casserole, melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add to the wild rice.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining two tablespoons butter. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give off their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the port with cherries and the poultry seasoning and boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 6 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the mushrooms and port into the bowl of wild rice. Add the hazelnuts, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Use as a stuffing, or place in a lightly buttered casserole, drizzle with the broth, cover and bake as a side dish.
Makes 10 cups.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
From Abbie Naumec
Whether you’re watching carbs or going gluten-free, these sweet potato biscuits make a wonderful alternative to wheat-based ones, said Abbie Naumec.
The kids eat these often,” she said. “I sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on the top and they think they are a treat. I use a white sweet potato so they don’t suspect anything.”
1 small baked sweet potato (about 3/4 cup)
4 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon palm shortening (you can also use butter if you are okay with dairy)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the eggs together then add the coconut flour, baking powder and salt until a thick dough forms.
Mash the sweet potato, then mix it in with the egg mixture.
Cut the palm shortening in with the dough and mix well.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and divide the dough into nine even portions. Dollop the dough onto the parchment.
Bake for 15 minutes until they are golden brown.
Makes 9 biscuits.
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
From Vicki Strickler
“This is a cool recipe for mashed potatoes using your crock pot so you know how long it’s going to take and you won’t be adding additional heat to the kitchen,” said Vicki Strickler. “I freeze mine in a round serving casserole dish and then thaw it the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas and nuke it in the microwave for ten minutes covered.”
5 pounds russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk, warm
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream
Chives for topping, optional
Peel and cube potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large stockpot and cover with water. Allow potatoes to sit for at least 30 minutes; they may be prepped and allowed to sit overnight.
Drain and rinse potatoes. Add potatoes to a 6-quart slow cooker with broth and water. Cook on high for four hours or until potatoes are fork tender.
Drain potatoes. Depending on the consistency desired, potatoes may be returned to slow cooker immediately and mashed, or for a smooth consistency, press potatoes through a potato ricer. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and milk. Mix well with the whisk attachment of an immersion hand blender. Add sour cream until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately or utilize the warm setting on your slow cooker, cover and keep warm for up to two hours. Stir prior to serving. Potatoes may be transferred to another serving dish or served from the bowl of the slow cooker.
Aunt Mary’s Turkey Quiche
From Mary Paulsen
For a great leftover idea, this innovative quiche uses leftover stuffing for the crust!
2 1/2 to 3 cups leftover stuffing (or one 6 oz. package of stuffing mix)
1 cup chopped cooked turkey
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
4 beaten eggs
1 5 1/2 oz. can evaporated milk
Press leftover or prepared stuffing into a 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish, forming a crust. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. While crust is baking, combine meat and cheese. In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle meat/cheese mixture into hot crust. Pour egg/milk mixture on top. Lower oven temp to 350. Bake quiche 30 to 35 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.