November 2018 - The Thanksgiving Issue
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year, with friends and family gathering around the table to reflect on all of the things we’re grateful for in life. It is a meal to be enjoyed like no other. To celebrate the holiday, we’ve created a couple of new dishes for you. Cedar-Planked Brie Crostini with Apples and Thyme Honey Sauce is a festive hors d'oeuvre, and our Rustic Red Onion Tart is a delightful side that will truly stand out. We’re also highlighting two of our favorite recipes from the past, Grilled Broccoli with Maple Gorgonzola Dressing and Apple Wood Smoked Turkey that is brined in white wine.
Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful holiday celebrating family, friends and everything in life that truly matters.
Cedar-Planked Brie Crostini with Apples and Thyme Honey Sauce
The secret is in the sauce: herbaceous thyme is blended with sweet honey and earthy hazelnut oil then balanced with the bright acidity of lemon juice. Good with bread, great with apples and amazing with melted triple-cream brie that’s been kissed with a hint of cedar smoke. Combine all four ingredients onto small crostini and make this simple appetizer that is hard to forget.
- Leaves picked from 24 sprigs of fresh thyme, about one ½-ounce package
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Hazelnut oil
- Fine gray sea salt
- 1 French baguette
- 2 Fuji apples
- 1 wheel triple-cream brie, about 20 ounces
- 1 cedar plank
To prepare the Thyme Honey Sauce, combine the thyme leaves, lemon juice and honey with 2 tablespoons of hazelnut oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Process to a smooth emulsion using an immersion blender. Cover tightly and refrigerate until use.
Prepare the grill for indirect grilling with an air temperature of 400°F.
Cut the baguette on the bias into thin slices. Brush both sides of each slice with hazelnut oil, then season one side with salt.
Toast the bread in the indirect zone of the grill with the lid closed until crunchy on the outside, about 3 minutes. (To do this efficiently, I place all the slices on a couple of wire cooling racks and place the racks in the grill.) Reserve.
Cut the apples into thin slices. Reserve.
To prepare the cheese, lightly brush the top of the cedar plank with hazelnut oil. Then prepare the oven to cook at about 400°F. Place the oiled plank on top of a wire cooling rack, and the wheel of brie on top of the rack. Place the rack in the center of the oven. Cook, rotating once or twice, until the board is smoking and the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes.
To serve family style, transfer the hot plank to a heat-proof serving tray. Use a knife to break open the rind on the cheese. Top the cheese with Thyme Honey Sauce and serve with the crostini and apples. Your guests can lay a slice of apple on top of a slice of bread and then use the bread to scoop up a combination of melted cheese and sauce.
To serve in a less messy manner, assemble the crostini before serving. Add a slice of apple to a slice of bread. Spread melted cheese on top and then drizzle with Thyme Honey Sauce.
Note: You can also melt the cheese in a grill. Place the wheel of brie in the center of the oiled plank, then transfer the plank to the indirect zone of the grill. Close the lid and cook the plank is smoking and the brie is melted (the sides of the wheel begin to collapse), about 10 minutes.
Rustic Red Onion Tart
A good onion tart is a lot like French onion soup you can eat with a fork. In this case, we’ve also added a healthy dose of pancetta and roasted it with wood smoke. Cheesy and packed full of flavor, this tart makes a fantastic side dish for your holiday table.
- ½ pound pancetta, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the skillet
- 3 red onions, sliced ¼-inch thick and separated into rings
- 1 large shallot, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 ounces puff pastry dough (I use Dufour Classic Puff Pastry found in the frozen foods section)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup half and half
- Leaves picked from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 10-inch cast-iron skillet
Cook the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until fully-cooked but still soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the skillet and reserve.
Add the butter to the pancetta drippings in the pan and melt. Then add the onions and shallot. Season with salt. Continue cooking over medium heat until the onions are browned and soft, about 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and reserve.
Prepare the grill for indirect grilling with a little wood smoke at an air temperature of 400°F. You can cook with a wood fire or use your preferred method to add smoke. If using a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill, this is a good time to use our pellet adapters.
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with butter. Lay out and shape the puff pastry dough into the skillet, trimming off any excess.
Beat together the eggs and cream in a large bowl. Stir in the thyme, cheese and black pepper. Stir in the cooked pancetta, onions and shallot.
Pour the mixture into pastry crust and transfer the skillet to the indirect zone of the grill. Bake with the grill lid closed for 1 hour, rotating once for even cooking.
Grilled Broccoli with Maple Gorgonzola Dressing
We have experimented with grilling broccoli many times over the years, but have never been thrilled with the results – until now. If you have tried many recipes from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, you’ve likely figured out that we put olive oil on just about everything before it hits the grill. Turns out that isn’t the right approach with broccoli, and it took a grilling session with Chef Stephanie Izard to reach this conclusion. Simply break the broccoli down into pieces and grill over a hot fire. A hot wood fire is even better. She also serves it with blue cheese, which we think is brilliant… So here’s our take on Stephanie’s grilled broccoli. Our dressing includes Gorgonzola Dolce, a sweeter gorgonzola from Italy, and a hint of maple syrup, to create a unique flavor profile.
For the Maple Gorgonzola Dressing:
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, broken down into smaller pieces
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (our go to is Blis #9)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (we use a bourbon barrel maple syrup, also from Blis)
For the broccoli:
- 4 pounds broccoli, cut down into bite-sized stem and floret sections
Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a very hot fire.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
Grill the broccoli on the hottest part of the grill until browned on the edges and softened to al dente, about 5 minutes total. Turn once or twice along the way.
Remove from the grill and drizzle with dressing to serve warm.
Apple Wood Smoked Turkey
I cannot recommend this turkey highly enough. It is simply amazing. Tender and juicy with just the right amount of smokiness – not like barbecue, but definitely present. The white wine brine is key in yielding juicy meat, and it adds a subtle flavor that is ever so slightly fruity. The turkey drippings are collected in a pan to make a wonderfully smoky white wine and garlic gravy that will transform mashed potatoes into the most heavenly side.
Plan on brining overnight, for at least 15 hours, and about 4 hours of smoking time.
Note: If you would like to smoke the turkey in the Hybrid Fire Grill, we have described a few methods in our Barbecue Techniques Grilling Guide. We recommend using our barbecue wood pellet adapters and following option one.
For the Brine:
- 2 cups water plus 8 cups cold water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 2 red onions, quartered
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and cracked
- 2 tablespoons whole juniper berries
- 2 tablespoons whole mustard seed
- 6 bay leaves
- 750ml chilled white wine (we used 2015 Groth Sauvignon Blanc)
12 to 14 pound free range turkey
For Inside the Bird:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into eighths
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
For the Gravy:
- 750ml white wine
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and cracked
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 turkey brining bags
Aluminum roasting pan
Apple wood chunks for smoking
To make the brine, bring 2 cups of the water and 1 cup of kosher salt to a boil in a large pot. Simmer and stir until the salt is dissolved. Stir in the turbinado sugar until it dissolves. Stir the red onions, garlic, juniper berries, mustard seed and bay leaves into the hot liquid. Remove from heat and let the flavors combine for 5 minutes. Add the cold water and chilled wine to the brine.
Remove the neck, giblets, trussing and any temperature probes from the turkey. Place one brining bag inside the other then place the turkey inside the inner bag and pour in the brine. Remove as much air as possible and seal the inner bag. Seal the outer bag for security. Refrigerate overnight, brining for 16 to 24 hours.
Prepare the smoker for 275°F, smoking with apple wood for flavor. We recommend preheating the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet for 1 hour before putting in the food.
Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine. Thoroughly rinse the turkey under cold running water then pat it dry inside and out. This helps make the skin extra crispy when cooking. The turkey should sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes before placing it in the smoker.
Brush the outside of the turkey all over with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Stuff the turkey cavity with lemon, onion, rosemary and butter. Place the turkey in a roasting rack with the breast side up.
For the gravy, place the wine, broth, garlic and rosemary in the roasting pan.
If available, insert a meat thermometer (the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet includes one with the pit computer) into the thickest portion of the turkey thigh, making sure to not get it close to the bones. Set the meat thermometer alarm to 165°F.
For the Kalamazoo smoker cabinet, remove the top shelf. Place the roasting pan on the bottom shelf, and place the turkey with the roasting rack on the shelf above the roasting pan. If your smoker does not have multiple shelves, place the roasting rack in the roasting pan, but make sure the turkey is not touching the liquid in the pan.
Smoke the turkey, maintaining moderate smoke, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
Once the turkey has reached 165°F, measured at the deepest part of the thigh, remove it from the smoker and let it rest on a carving board for 20 minutes before carving.
To make the gravy, start by making a roux. Brown the flour in a large pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, once it has darkened almost to the color of light brown sugar, add the butter, combining thoroughly. Add the liquid from the roasting pan. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the gravy has thickened to the desired consistency.