Which is the most popular day of the year in our house?? More than Christmas, more than birthdays? Thanksgiving of course!! The joy of anticipating of roasted turkey, weeks planning the spread and it is always a spread, the shopping and of course the prep work. All these steps are moot to the general well being of a festive day! It's not just about the meal, but also tradition! Of sitting around a communal table, of meaningful thanks for god-given gifts, but mostly about being together. Thirty years in the US is enough time to make our traditions. And we love those dearly. Old photographs are reminders of past repasts, turkeys on platters, on thalis (how could I do that) and one badly hacked version too! It brings on laughter when I see these incongruities. Tears when I envision my parents at my table. Turkey dinner was one of their favorite meals. And happiness because I no longer have to carry the culinary burden, that I have an enthusiastic and very capable daughter by my side.
Shauna and I make short shrift of lengthy tasks. She halves Brussels sprouts, while I peel sweet potatoes. She sautes veggies for dressing while I make a parsnip and carrot bake. She mashes potatoes while I make cranberry sauce. She rolls out pie crusts while I cut apples for the filling. In sync and on the ball. The turkey has been marinating and is well massaged for three days.. Yes I am the main masseuse. And I am reminded often to carry out my task. It is an enormous 14 pounder. Enough to feed the many invisible mouths at our table! Well... It will make for sumptuous leftovers!!! Which was the directive from the help!
The oven blazes. The turkey browns, blanketed with bacon rashers, giving new meaning to the words turkey bacon. It soon picked off. The roasters shuffle begins. Stuffing goes in first, followed by the foil-covered parsnip bake. Oven racks get rearranged for the turkey. The bottom rack is reserved for apple pie.
We chug pumpkin beer and play cards as we wait for our vittles. The big bird, well bronzed, exits the oven. And the plethora of sides go in for a warm up. The table is laid with the largest plates we have. Turkey takes up the pride of place at the table. Mashed Yukon Gold potatoes ooze butter and creme fraiche. Sweet potatoes swim in butter, lemon and tons of black pepper. Corn and pearl onions are lightly coated in cream. Sausage and corn bread dressing gets a crusty topcoat. Roasted Brussels sprouts develop a crunchy patina. Tart cranberry sauce is riddled with orange zest. Gravy benefits from deep brown roasted onions. And the leek, parsnip and carrot bake bubbles away. An excellent Brunello gets uncorked. And the table groans!
Leek Parsnip and Carrots in Cream
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup Cream
1 tablespoon Tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
Trim and wash leeks. Slice vertically in half.
Using only white and light green parts, cut the leeks into 2 inch pieces. Separate
Trim the tops off parsnips and carrots. Peel and cut them on a bias into 1/4 inch slices.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil. Season with a large pinch of kosher salt.
Add parsnips to boiling water and cook for 6 to 8 minutes till done. Drain onto a paper towel.
Do the same to the carrots.
In a nonstick pan heat the butter.
Add leeks and sauté till golden brown.
Mix cream, Dijon mustard and roughly chopped tarragon in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix.
Heat oven to 350F.
Arrange leeks parsnips and carrots in an oven-proof dish.
Pour cream mixture over veggies.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and serve hot or warm.
This bake doesn't taste good at room temperature. It should be served hot or warm at best.
Thyme or sage is a good substitute for tarragon.
It is a great accompaniment for lamb or pork.
Another day another chapter in my kitchen. Leftovers tell another story. White bread, cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey slices, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, leeks and parsnips, corn and gravy..... all the fixings in one big messy mile-high pile....The obligatory Thanksgiving sandwich is the way to go!!!