Our favorite holiday is finally here! This year Mother Nature is playing right along, it’s chilly and crisp outside, we’ve even seen snow. The seasonal change is just a part of Vermont’s yearly routine and this is the time of year when it feels fresh and exciting. Talk to us in February, it will be a totally different story, but for now let’s embrace this time of year with some delicious food and cider.
The menu. Everyone does Thanksgiving a little different, we picked a few of our favorite recipes to share with you.
Cider Turkey Brine – This one is a bit of an adaptation of a few different recipes we have tried throughout the years. Let’s face the facts, turkey can be dry. Brine is the perfect way to avoid this, it’s easy and makes your house smell like a delightful Yankee Candle. Here’s what we use:
- 3 cans of Unified Press
- 2 gallons water
- 6 tbs of fresh rosemary
- 8 cloves of garlic, just smash those suckers
- 1.5 cup Kosher salt
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 tbs of black peppercorns
- 8 whole bay leaves
- Peel of 3 large oranges
Combine all of these ingredients in a large pot, stirring it all until the salt and sugar dissolve, bring it to a boil and then put the cover on and let it cool all the way down. Once cooled completely pour liquid into large pot and submerge uncooked turkey in liquid for up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, rinse that bad boy off with cold water and prepare however you normally roast turkey. Believe us, it makes a huge difference and because you have already added Unified Press to the brine, might as well pair that turkey with it!
Brussel Sprouts – Everyone’s favorite side to hate, but you know you love it. This one pairs so well with our driest ciders, Wit’s Up and Stan Up will complement the vegetable as well as the salty bacon. For this one, let’s keep it simple:
- 2 1/2 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed
- 4 ounces McKenzie Maple cured bacon coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt
Sautee that bacon up, then add sprouts and sautee until browned. Add a splash of water and cover with lid, cook until Brussel sprouts get soft. While these are cooking, why not crack into a Wit’s Up, you’ve worked hard. Add lemon zest at the end with toasted bread crumbs. Easy Peas-y.
Fancy Schmancy Mashed Potatoes – You can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed ‘tators. We pair this one with Lake Hopper, cause why not? What you need:
- 4 pounds russet potatoes
- Kosher salt
- 2 leeks, white parts only
- 6 tablespoons butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Put them into some water with a toss of salt and let them boil. Give them about 20 minutes or just so you can put a fork thru them. Drain them.
Slice the leeks into small pieces and thoroughly wash to remove any dirt. In a pan over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes add garlic. Cook both until they are very soft, but not browned. Add potatoes into the pan and stir the milk in using a wooden spoon. Mash with a potato masher, breaking up the big lumps. Season with salt and pepper.
Spiced Sweet Potatoes – The finest of all potatoes. We love these because they pair exceptionally well with Dirty Mayor. What you need:
- 3lbs sweet potatoes – cubed and peeled.
- ½ cup of honey
- 3 tbs of grated ginger
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp of cardamom or nutmeg
- 1 tsp pepper
Mix all of these ingredients together and place in large roasting pan. Make sure to give them a stir so they don’t get to browned. Bake on each side for 20 minutes a total of 40 min at 375 degrees. The ginger and honey in these bad boys really takes them to the next level, just like The Dirty Mayor does for cider.
Cider Gravy – say what!? That’s right, we’ve tried it and it’s naughty.
When making your gravy, use all of that roasting pan goodness but this time add cider. Here’s what we do:
- When you remove the turkey from the roasting pan, skim off any visible fat from the pan juices.
- Whisk ½ cup of stock and flour in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
- Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add 1.5 cups of All Times Sparkling Apple cider and 2 tbs cider vinegar; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Depending on how much is left in the pan, you can add stock and cider to thin the gravy out/
- Whisk the reserved flour mixture into the pan. Boil, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Giddy Up!
Last up, dessert. We love to pair any Thanksgiving dessert with AmeriCran, it’s a natural fit, a little bit tart so it pairs perfectly with anything sweet. So many options, but let’s go with the classic Pumpkin, it just makes sense. What you need:
- 1 can of pumpkin (15 oz)
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 9 inch pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool, crack open an AmeriCran and kick your feet up!