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Tips and recipes from Home Cooking NY

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An excerpt from a Thanksgiving menu from Home Cooking NY, an city-based organization that offers in-home cooking classes. Read an extended version on our Web site at www.YourNabe.com and find out more about Home Coooking NY at www.homecookingny.com.

Thanksgiving Tutorial Menu: Roasting the Bird 101

Making a Pan Gravy

Deglazing releases the browned-on bits left in the bottom of the skillet or pan after roasting, and adds flavor to the gravy.

Pour off the drippings and fat from the roasting pan into a fat separator. Pour the fat back into the roasting pan and transfer it to the stovetop, over 1 or 2 burners.

When the fat starts to sizzle, sprinkle over 3 tablespoons of flour (or roughly as much as there is fat in the pan) over the drippings and whisk vigorously until the roux (fat and flour sauce thickener that you are making) has cooked for about 2 minutes, which will take all the raw flour taste out.

Add 3 cups of liquid (the drippings plus chicken broth and white wine, Madeira wine, Marsala, or sherry—a good rule is four times as much chicken broth/drippings as booze; if you do not have or do not want to use alcohol, you can add 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar instead).

Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan until the browned-on bits have dissolved into the liquid. Add a few sprigs of thyme, and simmer the mixture until it is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season the pan gravy with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Makes 2 cups

The condiment to serve with this year’s bird. Practically as easy as opening a can.

2 large navel oranges

1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup sugar

1%u20444 cup chopped dates (optional)

Zest and juice one of the oranges, and set aside. Peel the other orange and divide into segments. Cut each segment into 6 pieces.

In a medium saucepan, combine the orange zest and juice, the orange segments, cranberries, ginger, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until thickened and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, and stir in the dates. Serve or chill for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Cornbread, Wild Mushroom, and Pecan Stuffing

Serves 6 to 8

1 cups pecans

6 cups crumbled cornbread (or a combo of cornbread and torn baguette), stale or toasted in the oven until golden brown

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely minced

2 ribs celery, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

10 ounces shiitake mushrooms

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup sherry

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries

1/3 cup chicken broth, or more or less as needed to moisten

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread pecans on a baking sheet. Place in oven to toast until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Set aside.

2. Place the cornbread in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

3.Heat the butter in a medium skillet on medium high. Add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, and rosemary and cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the sherry; continue cooking until absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to the crumbled cornbread. Stir in the cream, broth, cherries, and pecans.

Maple-Orange Sweet Potato Purée

Serves 6

To save time, use a food processor fitted with the slicing blade or a mandoline to cut the potatoes.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup chicken broth or heavy cream, or more as needed

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1%u20444-inch slices

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange

In a large, wide soup pot , heat the butter and broth over medium heat until the broth comes to a boil. Add the sliced sweet potatoes and salt and reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally; add more liquid as necessary to keep the pan from drying out and scorching on the bottom.

Remove from heat and mash the sweet potatoes in the pot using a potato masher or, for a smoother purée, an immersion blender or food processor. Stir in the orange zest, and serve hot.

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