Ever since I published my last menu, A Gluten-Free Italian-Inspired Menu, I began to seriously think about what I was going to prepare for Thanksgiving. After pouring over all the November issues of foodie magazines & articles in my inbox, I noticed one common theme…there weren’t any gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes. Gosh. Gluten-free folks need interesting recipes & menus, too. So, I went on a mission…I was going to create a gluten-free Thanksgiving menu…that was creative…delicious…fun.
After much reading & thinking, I became inspired.
…& Roasted Five Spice Pumpkin Seeds were on the short list…all you need is a nibble before dinner…there’s a lot of food coming…I promise.
…both are incredibly easy to make, are gluten-free, & are totally delish. Now onto dinner.
I was debating whether or not to brine my turkey. The problem I have with brining is that I always feel like I’m eating pastrami rather than Thanksgiving turkey, there’s just too much salt for me. I then came across an article from Tasting Table, who featured Chef George Mendes’ recipe for a smoky beer-soaked turkey adapted from his Portuguese heritage. The turkey recipe sounded delicious, but I really wanted to use a gluten-free beer…or, what about a stout? Guinness & turkey sounded intriguing. But, didn’t Guinness contain wheat? Nope. Malted barley. Malted barley…really? That’s when the experiment began…I scoured the pantry & threw in mulling spices…orange peel…paprika…peppercorns…a little salt, no more than a ½ cup…& maple syrup…with one bottle of Guinness. I then let all the ingredients steep, added more Guinness…a turkey…voilà…the brine marinade was done.
The real trick, though, was to roast the turkey upside-down for about 45 minutes at 450° before I decreased the temperature to 350°. You know what? This was the best turkey I ever made. I wish I thought of the “upside-down” trick, but one of my medical colleagues shared this idea with me. I was so excited to try this. Everyone loved it at #Friendsgiving this past Saturday, so I prepared my next turkey the same exact way for our annual Ya-Ya Book Club #Friendsgiving Dinner. The response was the same. Yes! I love it when an experiment works. You must try Upside-Down Roasted Stout-Brined Turkey this year. All you need are about 8 hours of brining as the alcohol in the stout tenderizes while the amount of salt is sufficient to add moisture into the breast meat…plus, roasting upside-down allow all those delicious juices from the dark meat to seep into the breast meat…OMG.
Next, stuffing. When I was in Williams-Sonoma last week, I noticed that my favorite pumpkin bread mix now had a gluten-free version! I got to thinking…what if I used this bread in a stuffing? I also wanted to try the cornbread recipe on the Cup4Cup website…how about if I combined both bread cubes? Then I read an another article in Tasting Table…this one was about a chef in Philadelphia, Eli Kulp, who created a stuffing with potato bread, charred veggies, bacon & jalapeños…hmmm. My spin on his stuffing instead used bacon fat to sear all the veggies…plus, lots more bacon…the pumpkin bread & cornbread cubes, both toasted, which added another layer of flavor…& hard cider. I’m telling you, this stuffing is the bomb. At both #Friendsgiving dinners, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing with Bacon & Charred Vegetables was finished, gone, not a crumb left in the cast-iron skillet…no one believed this stuffing was gluten-free…
…Nor did they believe that 4-Onion Gluten-Free Stuffing with Fennel & Chestnuts was either. If you are a traditionalist, then you will love this…buttery & rich, with sautéed leeks, shallots, sweet & red onions, fennel & chestnuts…& WIlliams-Sonoma’s Gluten-Free Stuffing…if you don’t have access to this product, simply use Udi’s gluten-free bread instead & toast the bread cubes…it’s all good. If you want to make the Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing & do not have access to the mix, go to the Cup4Cup website & make their pumpkin bread recipe.
Onto sweet potatoes…Émilie is very fortunate to attend the school she does, as the school has on staff a trained chef who is fabulous, and one of Émilie’s favorite teachers. Apparently, she & Matt created this sweet potato dish one day, and she made it for #Friendsgiving this year. OK, with everything else having to be made, a dish with only 4 ingredients that can be made by a 13-year-old is going on the menu. Period. What I really like about Émilie’s Sweet Potato Casserole is that it isn’t sweet like most sweet potato casseroles. Smart Balance Butter is used to mash the potatoes, which adds a nice touch of salt…cinnamon sugar is the sweeter…& lots of mini marshmallows are fastidiously placed on top, which I think drove all the adults crazy as they watched Émilie arranged the marshmallows perfectly. She definitely has a little OCD in her…I wonder where she got that from 😉?
Next…brussel sprouts…these have to be served on the BIG day. Typically, we toss shredded brussel sprouts with olive oil & kosher salt. This year, we added maple syrup & quartered the little guys. As the brussel sprouts roast. the maple syrup caramelizes, which deepens the roasted flavor from the olive oil. I think olive oil & maple syrup may be my new favorite flavor combination…the kosher salt & maple syrup reminded everyone almost of salted caramel, but even better. I may need to roast some more now…they’re that good. This dish also has only 4 ingredients, too, & can be prepared in less than 30 minutes…Salted Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts will definitely be served this year!
What would Thanksgiving be without cranberry sauce? This year, I substituted red wine for water & I think I’m onto something…Cabernet Cranberry Sauce is delish! The key to this recipe is to allow the cranberry sauce to reduce a smidge once the cranberries have all popped so you get more of a jellied consistency rather than a runny sauce on the plate. This will rival “canned cranberry sauce” everytime, I promise….plus there are only 3 ingredients…yahoo!
Lastly, dessert…is there anything better than pumpkin pie? Every year, we serve Pumpkin Pie à la Aunt Bebe…it’s the BEST! This year, though, to make the pie gluten-free, we are substituting the crust from Fig & Honey Goat Cheese Tart for the pie crust…all you need is a cup of Cup4Cup Flour, Cinnamon Chex & butter. Nothing else. Make the tart crust, pour in the pumpkin filling, bake & you are done. How easy is that?
Please accept my apologies in getting this menu out a little late…mommyhood and medicine have to be done as well…Émilie is a busy bee & the bills need to be paid. You have time to make all these dishes, I promise…I made this menu in 8 hours…pop the turkey in the stout brine today, make the cranberry sauce, pumpkin & cornbreads as well….do some chopping…cook the bacon & keep the fat…do not tell a soul…that bacon fat will make the stuffing…pour yourself a glass of something…enjoy the Holiday whether you’re celebrating #Thanksgiving with family or #Friendsgiving…remember the #KISS Principle…have fun…make good memories…Cheers!
A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu