Wednesdays suck -- except when it's the hump day before Thanksgiving. The five-day weekend is just around the corner. But this time can also be stressful, particularly if you're still scrambling for the perfect holiday recipes.
Fret no longer. From organic turkey to butternut squash soup, Miami's leading chefs have given us recipes for their tasty Thanksgiving offerings.
David Bracha of Oak Tavern and the River Seafood & Oyster Bar, Andrew Carmellini of the Dutch, Brian Nasajon of Sushisamba, and Paula DaSilva of 3030 Ocean will make your home-cooked meal taste like a restaurant feast.
Paula DaSilva's butternut squash soup with maple creme fraiche and fried leeks
For the soup:
1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and chopped; approx. 2 lbs.)
2 yellow onions (chopped)
2 leeks (chopped white part)
6 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp garlic (chopped)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cloves (ground)
1 tsp nutmeg (ground)
Sauté onions and leeks with the butter in a small stockpot until soft. Add the chopped
garlic and lightly sauté. Add the molasses and squash flesh and cook for 2 more
minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the
pumpkin is cooked. Add the cream and bring the soup back to a boil. Season, with the
clove, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Blend the soup in your bar blender, strain, and reserve.
The soup can be held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For the maple crème fraîche:
1 cup creme fraiche (use sour cream for substitute)
1/4 cup maple syrup
Whisk together with a touch of water to achieve the consistency of heavy cream. Keep
the cream in a squirt bottle until needed.
For the fried leeks garnish:
Thinly slice the green part of the leeks left over from above. Fry
the leeks in 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a small pot on medium high heat. Remove the
leeks and drain on a paper towel when they are lightly browned. Season with salt.
To assemble, warm the soup and ladle it into your serving bowls. Drizzle the cream on top
and place the fried leeks on top in the center.
Andrew Carmellini's baked squash with radicchio, walnut, and parmesan salad
For the squash:
1/2 cup dried cherries or raisins
2 large butternut squash (about 6 pounds total), split in half lengthwise, seeds and guts removed
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 medium apple, cored and diced large (about 11/4 cups)
1/8 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the cherries or raisins in the cavities of the squash halves, distributing them more or less evenly. Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and put 1 piece in the cavity of each squash half.
Distribute the apple pieces in the squash cavities. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the squash cavities. Spoon the brown sugar into the squash cavities. Sprinkle the salt and pepper all over the squash-cavities and flesh. Place the squash, cavity side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/4 cup of water onto the bottom of the sheet (to help the squash to steam a bit).
Cover the baking sheet fully with tin oil, set it on the middle oven rack, and bake for about 1 hour, until you can stick a fork in 'em.
For the salad:
1 medium head radicchio, bottom cut off chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for sprinkling (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
Pull the radicchio leaves apart and distribute them in a large bowl. Mix the walnuts in the radicchio, tossing with your hands. Add Parmesan, olive oil, both vinegars, salt, and pepper, and mix everything well with your hands, so that all the leaves are coated.
To assemble, pick up the squash half with both hands (so you don't lose any of the good stuff) and place it on a plate. Put the salad on the side. Use a spoon to scoop out about half of the mixture inside the cavity and spoon it over the rest of the squash. If you'd like, sprinkle some more parmesan over the top. Put a scoop of the squash and some of the radicchio salad in your mouth at the same time. The sweetness of the squash, then texture of the cherries, the tartness and texture of the radicchio... awesome.
Brian Nasajon's mojo-roasted organic turkey
1 organic turkey breast
For the mojo: (Yield 3 cups)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup white onion, minced
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients for mojo, reserving a small portion (without oil) as a final marinade. Rub the breast with mixture and marinade for three hours.
In a large pan, gently sear turkey skin until its golden. Place the turkey, covered with foil, in the oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover for a final 20 to 30 minutes (or until the turkey is cooked through). Baste every five to six minutes. Finish with the final coating of mojo that you'd reserved in the beginning.
David Bracha's pumpkin maple cheesecake
For the graham cracker crust:
4 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a spring form pan with the crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the filling:
1 lb cream cheese
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Separate the eggs, and beat the whites with 4 tbsps of sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, ricotta, and yolks. Add vanilla, rest of sugar, spices, pumpkin puree, and blend. Fold in beaten egg whites until smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake for at least an hour. Check with a toothpick -- if it's not clean, check in 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 4 hours or until thoroughly chilled.
For the topping:
1 cup maple syrup
½ lb unsalted butter, diced into chunks
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Warm the maple syrup over medium heat and add the butter until it melts. Pour over cheesecake before serving.
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