September 20, 2019

A healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my least favorite meal of the year. The problem with the holiday is that it’s difficult to feel thankful when you’re slumped on the couch in a food coma after the meal. It’s hard enough as it is to maintain decent conversation with distant relatives and their straggler friends; I don’t need a digestive drain on my system, to boot.

Let’s be real, people: It’s not the turkey. I know about the supposed effects of tryptophan, but no one complains about the effects of tryptophan while in line for a noontime turkey sandwich every other day of the year. It’s not the turkey. 

The problem is that most Thanksgiving meals are prepared in a way that demonstrates zero gratitude to our bodies. On the contrary, the marshmallows on top of candied yams, the white-bread stuffing, the high-sugar cranberry sauce and the overly sweet desserts are the real culprits. 

Don’t get me wrong: I would never eat “lite” on Thanksgiving — just smart. Enjoy these recipes that I hope will add a healthier indulgence to your holiday. 

 

THE BROTH THAT KEEPS GIVING

This broth is the basis of my Thanksgiving meal. With one fell swoop, I can whip up a root vegetable soup and add the over-the-edge homemade feel that I am looking for in my stuffing. I then freeze the rest to make future risotti, braised meats, and other soups and purees.

If you think store-bought broth is no different than homemade broth, it’s because no one ever taught you differently. Your therapist can’t fix what’s been missing in your food. Love is in this soup. 

16 to 20 cups water

2 parsnips, tops cut off

3 onions, unpeeled

3 whole carrots, tops cut off, unpeeled

1 rib celery

2 celery roots, peeled

1 turnip, peeled

2 russet potatoes, unpeeled

1 yam, unpeeled

4 pounds chicken (I use 3 pounds necks and 2 whole leg-thigh sections )

2 beef marrow bones

2 bay leaves

1⁄2 bunch parsley

6 to 10 thyme sprigs

3 whole cloves

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt in a large stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours, until all vegetables are cooked through. Remove from heat and let broth cool slightly. Remove chicken and marrow bones. Use broth and vegetables for soups and purees, adding salt to taste.

Makes about 6 quarts.

 

ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP PUREE WITH CRISPED SAGE LEAVES

Vegetables from prepared Broth That Keeps Giving: 

1 onion, peeled

1 small celery root

1 russet potato

1 yam

1 turnip

2 parsnips

3 carrots

1 celery rib

10 to 12 cups Broth That Keeps Giving 

Salt and freshly ground pepper

20 to 30 sage leaves

3 teaspoons olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Use tongs to remove the vegetables listed above from the broth. Cut vegetables into manageable pieces and put them, in batches with a few cups of the broth, in a Vitamix, food processor or powerful blender. Puree. To each batch, add salt and pepper to taste. Add more broth for thinner consistency if desired. As each batch is finished, pour into a large soup pot and mix gently. 

To crisp sage leaves, put 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat; be careful not to burn it. Add half of the sage leaves and cook until crisp, about a minute or so on each side. Place on paper towels when done. Repeat with remaining sage leaves and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, reserving a few fresh leaves for garnish. Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, and top each serving with one of the reserved fresh sage leaves. 

Makes 8 servings.

 

MULTIGRAIN STUFFING WITH PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS AND ROASTED FENNEL

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