Flavors of the Season -- Thanksgiving

Community By Chef Veronica Mauri Friday, November 5, 2021

   Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, when I give thanks for all the good things we have in life, which includes tasty and delicious food that will nourish our bodies.  

     Some of my favorite recipes for this holiday include:  A classic roast turkey breast prepared with a brine which will provide moist and flavorful meat; a green bean dish that is simple and with very few ingredients but packed with flavor and nutrients; rich scalloped potatoes that everybody loves and one of my clients’ favorites, a rustic apple pie called a crostata. It’s easier to make than a regular apple pie but has all the delicious spices of this classic dessert.  To learn how to prepare some of these recipes, with step-by-step instructions, follow me on Instagram @chefveronicam.   

Happy Thanksgiving!  Photos courtesy of Veronica Mauri. 

Apple Crostata 

Pie Dough 

1 ¼ cups All Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon sugar

7 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons ice water

1. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar and butter until the butter is pea-sized. Drizzle in the ice water and pulse to form moistened crumbs. 

2. Turn dough onto a surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Apple filling

4 medium apples (2 Gala, 2 Granny Smith) thinly sliced

2 teaspoons butter

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1 heaping tablespoon All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup fresh cranberries, optional

1. Toss apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour and spices in a bowl.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add bowl contents to the pan and cook 5 minutes over medium heat until apples soften.

The juice will turn into a creamy sauce.

3. Remove pan from heat to cool.

4. Place dough between pieces of parchment paper and roll it ¼ inch thick and about 1 inch bigger than the pie plate, and quickly mold the dough into the plate.

5. Place apple filling in the crust. You can also add the cranberries at this point.

6. Fold the edges of dough over the apples. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar and bake at 375° F for about 1 hour, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Cover the edges of the crostata with foil if it begins to darken.

7. Wait until it’s cool to slice.

Turkey Brine

4 quarts of water

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

5 bay leaves

The peel of 1 orange, without the pith

1. In a large pot, heat up 1 quart of the water. Add salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add peppercorns, bay leaves and orange peel and mix well. Add the remaining water and mix.

2. Rinse the thawed turkey breast and submerge in the brine. Add some ice to the pot to keep the bird out of the temperature danger zone. Cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast 

1 bone-in turkey breast, 6-to-8 pounds serves 6

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 onion, peeled and halved

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon dry Italian herbs

1 teaspoon salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 425° F.

2. Remove turkey from the brine and pat it dry.  Mix olive oil, rosemary, dried herbs, salt and pepper and rub all over the turkey, including in the breast cavity. For extra flavor place the onion halves inside the cavity. 

3. Place the meat breast side up in a roasting pan. Support the meat with a peeled, quartered onion on each side.

4. Roast the turkey breast at 425° F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and cook 60-to-90 minutes.

5. Rotate the pan after 45 minutes so the skin browns evenly. If it is getting too dark, cover with foil.

6. Cook until thermometer reads 165° F and liquids run clear. Remove from the oven and let turkey rest before carving.

Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes serves 6

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (about 2 pounds)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1 dash black pepper

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 rosemary sprig, chopped

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 8x8 baking dish.

2. In a small sauce pan, melt butter and stir in flour, whisk in the milk and season with salt and black pepper. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk.

3. Reduce heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.

Place a layer of the sliced potatoes in the baking dish, sprinkle some onions, salt, black pepper and chopped rosemary on top, and repeat two more layers.

4. Pour half of the cheese sauce over the potatoes. Repeat with more layers of potatoes, onions and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.

5. Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350° F or longer until the potatoes are fork tender. 

Garlic Green Beans serves 6

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed

5 garlic cloves, mince very finely 

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1. Place green beans into a large skillet and cover with water, bring it to a boil. 

2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 5 minutes until beans start to soften.

3. Drain water, add oil and garlic to green beans and cook and stir for 2-to-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve.