An inspired feast: 7 crowd-favorite recipes to share on Thanksgiving
Editor’s Note: “See the original version of this story in the Aspen Times Weekly to view the QR codes for recipe links: http://origin.misc.pagesuite.com/pdfdownload/087f9b66-5eef-4c0a-88b2-af7b7b1523be.pdf
In the spirit of ‘giving, the Farm Collaborative is offering a free bag of local ingredients to folks who sign up online before pickup at the FarmPark at Cozy Point Ranch (Highway 82) on Nov. 20 from 2 to 6 p.m. Each farm-to-fridge share contains enough produce—mostly winter root vegetables, grown within 35 miles of Aspen—to feed five or six people. The program was created in lieu of the annual Farm Collaborative (formerly Aspen TREE) Farm to Table Community Meal, held for the past 11 years in the Hotel Jerome ballroom, as the landmark venue is currently under renovation.
While the seated dinner for 1,500 at the Jerome requires some 250 community volunteers as cooks, hosts and servers, this year do-gooders can sign up to prep and jar food the weekend before, Nov. 16 and 17, in the Bumps kitchen at the base of Buttermilk, or to distribute bagged shares at the Farm Collaborative on Nov. 20. Then, in an effort to create a “virtual” community celebration, participants are urged to share photos of their home feast on social media.
Aspenites who pick up a Farm Collaborative free farm share box this year will find recipes curated by farm director Ben Armstrong and Bosq Aspen chef-owner Barclay Dodge.
Here are a few other crowd-pleasing favorites to inspire your Thanksgiving meal or Friendsgiving soirée—just scan the QR code with a mobile device (QR code reader app required) to view each link. Bon app!
Scan this QR code to reserve a free farm-to-fridge share from the Farm Collaborative.
If a turkey walked into Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro after 2 p.m., this is what it might taste like. Offered on recommendation from an Aspen Times colleague who prepared it years ago to major kudos, this recipe makes an herb-crusted turkey stuffed with savory vegetables (and orange segments) and bathed in bubbly. It’s covered with foil for the first part of cooking to create epic oven steam; a finishing blast of naked heat turns skin extra crispy. Ryan Lesar suggests doubling the quantity of rub (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and lemon pepper) and using a disposable, foil roasting pan for transport and easy cleanup. Choose a bottle of cheap stuff, and save the Veuve Clicquot for sipping during three-plus hours of roasting time.
SOUR CREAM MASHED POTATOES
In 2015, Alison Roman—Instagram-famous kitchen queen, New York Times columnist, and author of the bestselling cookbook “Dining In” and the new “Nothing Fancy”—published a buzzy guide for first-time Thanksgiving feast home cooks, including an aerial photo of all ingredients necessary to make a traditional meal for eight people. Her step-by-step pictorial, “Potatoes and Butter: A Love Story,” breaks down a lush, winning formula for the starchy staple, including what a fork-smashed test potato should look like when cooked properly. Of the finished dish, Roman says, “maybe plop some extra butter on there, because you deserve the best.”
SQUASH & RADICCHIO SALAD WITH PECAN DRESSING
Chopped toasted pecans, citrus juice, shallot, maple syrup and Dijon mustard unite in a zippy, nutty vinaigrette for this salad of hardy winter vegetables (sliced and roasted butternut squash; wilt-resistant radicchio). This “Absolutely, Positively Perfect Thanksgiving Menu” recipe from the Bon Appétit test kitchen offers a clean counterpoint to other rich dishes. Find all notes of flavor and texture within; crunchy, sweet Asian pear; shaved piave or Parmesan for a welcome dose of umami salt; and whole parsley leaves lend brightness.
SPIKED CRANBERRY SAUCE
While homemade cranberry sauce is super simple to prepare (fresh cranberries, sugar, and citrus simmered until berries pop), you’ve likely got a long list of Thanksgiving prep ahead. Here’s a cheat-to-win tip from Ree “The Pioneer Woman” Drummond, hailed as one of the first American bloggers to make it in mainstream media: use canned cranberry, jazzed up with maple syrup, orange zest, thyme, and Port wine. (Sticklers for an all-scratch feast can make a base sauce also from her Food Network TV show, “The Pioneer Woman.”)
PARKER HOUSE ROLLS
Introduced when element 47 opened in late 2012, these fluffy, chewy dinner rolls topped with a generous sprinkle of flaky Maldon sea salt have been a mainstay of The Little Nell’s dining program ever since. An original recipe dating to Boston’s Parker House Hotel circa 1870, the doughy pull-aparts are served at e47 in a piping-hot cast iron pan, complimentary before lunch and dinner.
This year the Nell features a three-course plated Thanksgiving feast (not buffet) with choices of appetizer, entrée, and dessert plus four family-style sides on Nov. 28 from 3 to 9 p.m.—infamous Parker House Rolls included, natch. ($100++, wine pairing optional, children’s pricing available; RSVP required: 970-920-9330, thelittlenell.com)
SOUTHWEST CORN BREAD STUFFING WITH GREEN CHILE
Anyone else haul down to Carbondale specifically to eat the Santa Fe Corn Cakes with pure maple syrup at The Village Smithy? This Southwestern stuffing recipe using day-old cornbread, corn kernels, and green chile showcases similar flavors. Though generally I prefer sausage stuffing, I’ll bake this one—in a glass dish for browned, crispy edges; stuffing the bird is for amateurs—and add a sprinkle of homemade maple-bacon bits for familiar Smithy flavor. Because, really, what isn’t made better by bacon?
APPLE PIE WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST
I baked this America’s Test Kitchen twist on classic apple pie once for the John Bemis Community Potluck Dinner, and it was a hit. While it did not nab top honors—good ’ol apple pie, apparently, is no match for chocolate desserts—I did receive a Great British Baking Show-style handshake from at least one stranger. Use yellow cheddar for a brilliant golden crust.
This year’s community potluck, hosted by the town of Snowmass and the Snowmass Village Rotary Club, is Sunday, Nov. 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., again at the Westin Snowmass Resort conference center. A buffet of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing will be provided by an on-site kitchen brigade; the rest is requested based on last name: A-H, salad; I-P side dish; Q-Z, dessert. Labeled dishes delivered before 6 p.m. will be entered to win $50 in each category, as selected by celebrity judges. See you there!
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Perhaps it’s because we are in the abbreviated days of winter and I instinctively know that the sun is shining down-under. But every January I go through a nostalgic period where Australian wine dominates my mind.