Refugee from Thanksgiving Day

Almost soup

| It's a tradition that following Thanksgiving Day, traditionally chez Paul, the usual suspects reconvene for turkey soup lovingly crafted from the carcass.

This year was an exception. I had wanted to try two recipes that Réal saw on Giada de Laurtiis' cooking show, and when I looked at the mound of leftover dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes filling my refrigerator, I knew that soup would be just too much. Too much too much.

As usual, I prepared a pitcher of world-class bloody Marys and directed everyone to the patio where it was breezy but plenty warm, and I set about finishing the various dishes. Soon, however, everyone was back inside complaining that the sun had been replaced by ominous black clouds blown in from the west, making it simply too chilly to be outdoors. (For those in the north and east, "too chilly" means that the temperature dropped below 80°F.)

The pièce de résistance would be Giada's Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise. They sounded divine: a patty made of left-over dressing (instead of an English muffin), topped with pancetta, a poached egg, and drizzled with a sage-flavored Hollandaise sauce.

Thanks Benedict
Thanks Benedict (Picture by Ken)

I did everything the day before, except for the Hollandaise sauce. The stuffing cakes were the biggest challenge — the mixture was goopy, and they either (1) did not brown or (2) burned. When it came to poaching the eggs, I thought to undercook them slightly since I knew they would be reheated the next day and would probably continue to cook a bit in the warming process. Wrong! While the whites were set, they remained extra delicate and when I assembled the dish before serving, a couple of the yolks broke.

By the way, did you know you can make poached eggs in advance? When they are done slip them into a bowl of cold water, cover, and refrigerate. When ready to serve them, immerse them in a pan of water heated to just below the simmer. Voilà! I learned this from Anne Burrell's show on poached eggs.

And I should point out that the Hollandaise sauce was extremely tasty and extremely easy to make. Quelle surprise!

The second Giada recipe was going to be a shepherd's pie, but I ditched her recipe at the last moment. Yes, it was  made in a pie plate. Yes, it had a bottom crust and a mashed potato top. But I envisioned all the filling running out when trying to cut a slice of "pie" and serve it. Accordingly, I made up my own filling recipe and used a casserole dish. In hind-sight, a good decision.

To accompany the shepherd's pie, there would be left-over green-bean casserole, left-over sweet potatoes, and

main dishes
The main events: turkey shepherd's pie, left-over green bean casserole, and left-over sweet potatoes (Picture by Ken)

You know what has to follow: pies, pies, pies! Réal had brought 3 huge pies to Thanksgiving, and there was my cranberry pie so you can imagine that there was a pile of pie left over. Not to mention the ice cream left in my freezer and the three (three! count 'em, three!) cans of Reddi-Wip in my refrigerator. Suffice to say everyone consumed their full recommended daily allowance of calories — for the week!

ominous clouds
Everyone was right — the clouds were ominous and the temperature dropped 6 degrees in minutes (Picture by Paul)

Two more pictures from Thanksgiving Day belatedly appeared, and it would be a shame not to show them.

Paul, practicing his Stevie Wonder impersonation (Picture by Rafe)
Réal saying grace. Not! (Picture by Rafe)

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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