|Jacques Pépin Celebrates!: Episode #201: Thanksgiving Special|
Jacques is fond of saying that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, American, French or otherwise -- after all, it's the one holiday devoted entirely, and unashamedly, to cooking and eating. In this special one-hour tribute to turkey with all the trimmings, we get a peek at how one of the world's greatest French chefs prepares Thanksgiving dinner in his American home. It all begins with salmon served three ways: INSTANT-CURED SALMON, SALMON TARTARE with a delicate cucumber salad and salmon caviar, and velvety SALMON GRAVLAX cured with cognac, served with cucumber, sweet onion and rye bread. Then, it's on to the main event: a plump, juicy ROASTED TURKEY with a beautiful apple cider glaze and buttery BREAD-AND-MUSHROOM STUFFING. On the sideboard, there are Jacques' "must-taste" BRUSSELS SPROUTS and a creamy, bubbly, decadent GRATIN OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH. As an alternative to the traditional cranberry sauce, Jacques serves a spicy CHERRY-GINGER CHUTNEY. Three sensational autumn desserts complete the feast: a moist, rich, CHOCOLATE-BOURBON-PRUNE CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED PECANS and whipped cream; PEARS POACHED IN CITRUS JUICE with a simple, country style "home cake"; and at the last minute, Jacques adds his own PECAN PIE in a puff pastry crust. Along the way, there is a wild-mushroom hunt in the forest, decorating and entertaining tips that make it fun and easy to create an unforgettable Thanksgiving celebration at home.
BREAD AND MUSHROOM STUFFING
Yield: about 15 servings
1 pound crusty bread, from day-old baguettes or a country loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup canola oil
2 medium onions (8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 leek (about 6 ounces), peeled, washed, and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces mushrooms, washed and coarsely chopped (3 cups)
cups coarsely chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the bread pieces on a cookie sheet, and bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are nicely browned. Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl. Arrange the almonds on a cookie sheet, and bake them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet until the butter is melted, then add the onion, celery, leek, and herbes de Provence. Cook over medium to high heat for 5 minutes.
4. Mix the stock, salt, and pepper into the mixture in the skillet, then add the contents of the skillet along with the mushrooms, almonds, and parsley to the bread cubes in the bowl. Mix lightly, then spoon the mixture into two 6-cup loaf molds. Cover with aluminum foil.
5. About 1 hour before serving time, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the molds in the oven, and bake the stuffing for 50 to 60 minutes. Serve with the roasted turkey.