My thoughts of luxuriant wallowing were interrupted by the emergence from the woods of Ian and Myers, the latter with a brace of squirrels hung from his belt. Ian proudly presented me with an enormous black object, which on closer inspection proved to be a turkey, fat from gorging on the autumn grains.
“Boy’s got a nice eye, Mrs. Claire,” said Myers, nodding approvingly. “Those be wily birds, turkeys. Even the Indians don’t take ’em easy.”
It was early for Thanksgiving, but I was delighted with the bird, which would be the first substantial item in our larder. So was Jamie, though his pleasure lay more in the thing’s tail feathers, which would provide him with a good supply of quills.
Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 19 – Hearth Blessing)
As a Canadian, I celebrated Thanksgiving last month, so I’m afraid I don’t have a roast turkey in all its glory to show you.
But if you find yourself with leftover yams (raw or cooked), and a big batch of turkey stock (my favourite by-product of Thanksgiving dinner), then this soup will interest you. Spiced Yam & Red Lentil Soup is a winter staple around here, and is easily made vegetarian with Vegetable Stock if you prefer.
To go alongside, I made a batch of Honey & Buttermilk Oatbread. After I formed half of the risen dough into a regular old loaf and settled it into the pan for the second rise, I decided to do something a little different with the other half — a perfect example of my almost compulsive inability to follow a recipe — even one of my own.
And so Madame Jeanne’s Oat Breadsticks were born.
I patted the dough out to a rectangle about 10″ long and 3/4″ thick, pressed my toppings firmly into its surface, then folded it into thirds, just like a business letter. Using my pastry scraper, I cut (12) strips, then rolled each into a twist between my floured hands, stretching it out to about 10″.
After they were all laid out on the pan, I covered them and let them rise for about 45 min before brushing them with the butter/honey glaze from the original recipe. Fifteen minutes in a 375° F oven (don’t over brown — these are soft breadsticks) and you’ve got great dippers for soup, hummus or Duncan’s Coddled Egg.
I topped mine with finely grated Parmesan, Black Pepper, Thyme and Lemon Zest. Here are some other suggestions:
- finely chopped black olives and romano cheese
- roasted fennel seed and chili
- rosemary and preserved lemon
- sesame and/or poppy seed
- aged cheddar and green onion
As for the Thanksgiving meal itself, I know I’m a little late to the brainstorming party, but I do have a few easy suggestions to put Outlander on your holiday table if your menu is still open. (I love how normal sounding it has become in my own head to suggest incorporating Outlander in your meal planning.)
If you’re looking for an easy appetizer to keep the horde happy and out of the kitchen while you turn drippings into gravy, both Mr. Willoughby’s Coral Knob (mini cheese balls) and Murtagh’s Gift to Ellen (puff pastry boar tusks with prosciutto and asparagus) fit the bill perfectly.
For the main event, how about a dish of Claire’s Spoon Bread from DOA? It’s the perfect historically authentic side dish!
Many of us have tried and true Thanksgiving desserts that have been passed down for generations.
However, if you find that you and your guests are tiring of pumpkin pie (gasp!), I have two OK suggestions for you. The first is JAMMF’s Birthday Hazelnut Torte with Brown Butter/Brandy Glaze. Rich, dense and decadent, it also stays moist and fresh for a few days in the fridge, which means you can follow your turkey sandwich with a slice long after the company has gone home.
My second suggestion is one of the most popular recipes here on OK. Although I only posted it at the end of August, I’ve gotten dozens of short notes from readers telling me how Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie is their family’s new favourite apple pie.
Which brings me to the thankful part of my Thanksgiving post. I’ve written a lot recently about my travels to meet online friends that I’ve met because of Outlander Kitchen. I am thankful for all of those deep, lasting connections that I have made over the past year.
Of course, OK stems from the Outlander world of Diana Gabaldon, so I am also thankful to her for these books that I found all those years ago, just as my life was taking a big, somewhat scary turn into the unknown. J and C’s story of love and courage was a much-needed escape, as well as a ballast that kept me steady on a difficult path.
That road eventually lead me back to my first love, cooking, and spurred me to build my very own Outlander Kitchen. A place where I share my love of food, my slightly twisted sense of humour, and my adoration for a brawny Scotsman who is, quite simply, too good to be true.
Thank you all for sharing my virtual hearth.
What are you thankful for?