Celebrate! Holiday Entree


Photo by Robert Levin. Tableware courtesy of Party Rental, Ltd., Greenwich, and Jordan Caterers, Design, Event Planners, Cheshire and Darien; fabric wall covering courtesy of The Barn, Bridgeport.

Jordan Caterers, Design, Event Planners in Cheshire and Darien has been orchestrating memorable events for more than 30 years. The exclusive caterer for the New Britain Museum of American Art, Jordan welcomed the opportunity to create the entrée and complementary sides for our holiday party, and Executive Chef Kevin Cottle assisted by Executive Sous Chef Van Hurd came through with a splendid table indeed.

14-16-Pound Turkey

½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3 T. kosher salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 T. chopped fresh thyme
8 carrots
8 stalks celery
1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) butter
½ cup Grade A maple syrup
½ tsp. black pepper

Preparing the Turkey:
1. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey, reserving them for use in stuffing or gravy if desired.
2. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat dry and sprinkle the entire bird and cavity with 1 T. coarse salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, 2 T. kosher salt, cayenne pepper, minced garlic and thyme to create a rub.
4. Massage the inside of the turkey with half of the rub.
5. Season underneath the turkey skin with the rest of the rub, using your hands or a small serving spoon.  

Roasting the Turkey:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add maple syrup and black pepper to create a glaze.
3. Create a raised bed of carrots and celery
on the bottom of a large roasting pan.
4. Place the turkey in the roasting pan breast side up and brush liberally with maple glaze. Add 1 cup water to the bottom of the pan and tent the turkey with aluminum foil.
5. Place the turkey in the center of the oven and roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
6. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting for approximately 3 hours, basting once halfway through.
7. Uncover the turkey, return oven temperature to 425 degrees and baste every 5 minutes until skin is golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
8. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest on a carving board for about 30 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before serving. Serves 10-12.

Note: Poultry is cooked through when probe thermometer inserted in thigh or breast measures 165 degrees, or juices run clear when skin is pierced.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

1 bag fresh cranberries (12 oz.)
1 can whole cranberry sauce (16 oz.)
½ cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice (with pulp)
2 large oranges, peeled, segmented and diced

1. Mix ingredients in a saucepot, bring to a simmer over medium heat and reduce by half, about 30 to 45 minutes.  
2. Chill and serve. Serves 8-12.

Corn Bread Cranberry Pecan and Sausage Stuffing

7 cups crumbled corn bread
1 sweet white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper
1 T. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 T. olive oil
6 T. unsalted butter
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 ½ cups dried cranberries  
2 cups candied pecans (rough chopped)
2 ¼ cups chicken broth

1. Crumble corn bread, place on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until dry.
2. Remove sausage from casing and chop into small pieces. Add 2 T. olive oil to a large sauté pan and raise temperature to medium-high. Render the sausage in the pan with the olive oil. Once brown, place meat aside, saving the juices.
3. Using the same sauté pan with the sausage juices, sauté the chopped onions over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté two to three minutes more.
4. Add the butter to the sauté pan. When butter is melted, remove from heat and add dried cranberries, pecans and chicken broth.
5. Empty contents of sauté pan into a large bowl and fold dried corn bread crumbles into wet ingredients.
6. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking sheet, cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Or stuff into turkey and cook until turkey is done.  

Potato Gratin
2 lbs. Yukon gold and 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced as thin a possible
1½ cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In medium saucepan, combine 7 T. butter, cream, garlic, salt, white  and cayenne pepper and bring to simmer over medium heat.
3. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 T. butter. Arrange a layer of Yukon gold potatoes, overlapping slightly, then salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with sweet potatoes. Continue until all potatoes are used.
4. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
5. Pour cream mixture on top of potatoes, pressing potatoes down to submerge.
6. Tightly cover baking dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
7. Remove foil and bake 25 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and top is brown. Serves 12-16.

Vegetable Strudel

12 oz. cleaned spinach
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
4 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 T. butter
2 cups panko bread crumbs
¼ cup white flour
1 sheet puff pastry
1 cup white wine
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for three minutes over medium-high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Add spinach and sauté until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.  
3. Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce for five minutes or until liquid has been reduced by two-thirds. Add bread crumbs and remove from heat.   
4. Place mixture in mixing bowl and refrigerate.
5. Once chilled, fold cheese into the mixture.
6. Beat egg and set aside to use as pastry wash.
7. Flour clean counter surface and roll out puff pastry to about 15 inches by 8 inches.
8. With egg wash, brush edges of puff pastry.
9. Place chilled filling in the center and create a log measuring approximately 13 inches.
10. Fold edges over to create a sealed log, pinching the dough to ensure a tight seal.
11. Place raw strudel on a baking sheet with the fold side down and brush with remainder of the egg wash. Score the strudel every three inches with a sharp paring knife.
12. Bake at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes or until strudel is golden brown. Serves 12-14.

Celebrate! Holiday Entree

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