Thanksgiving Feast

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Cooking | 0 comments

Thanksgiving Feast

Have I ever told the story of how husband doesn’t like onions? He doesn’t like onions. That’s the end. It’s not a good story, but it is one that changed my life. I love onions. I used to put them in everything. I married Husband in spite of his onion aversion because I told myself he could change, and I secretly held out hope that it was a purely psychological issue. As a newlywed, I would finely mince a small amount of onion, sauté it beyond recognition, then sneak it into a dish and wait for him to sing praises over my onion studded dinner – instead, he would take one bite, call me out on my onion lies, and say he couldn’t eat anymore.

For a while it seemed like it would break us, our irreconcilable onion differences, but over time I slowly adapted. Some situations, though, still pose a unique challenge… Spaghetti. Chili. Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner. It’s an onion packed meal. My favorite Thanksgiving side is dressing, but that, my friends, is basically just onion casserole. In an attempt to create an onion free holiday, I tweaked the traditional sides and came up with some onion free options that Husband and I can both agree on.

Here are two: Texas Cornbread Pudding and Spinach Madeleine. Neither is technically onion free if you go by the recipe, but I substitute a couple garlic cloves for the onion and both dishes turn out delicious. Texas Cornbread Pudding is a recipe from Brennan’s Restaurant in Houston. Spinach Madeleine was in the Junior League of Baton Rouge cookbook (River Road Recipes) about a hundred years ago, and my mother has served it at Thanksgiving since before I was born – the original recipe includes ingredients no longer sold at the store, so I updated it here. Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Texas Cornbread Pudding

4 1/2 cups crumbled cornbread

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 c finely chopped yellow onion (or 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced)

1 1/2 c corn kernels

4 eggs

2 c whipping cream

1 1/2 c shredded pepper jack cheese, divided

Salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)

Prepare cornbread a day ahead of time and reserve. Preheat oven to 325. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion (or garlic) and corn; saute until onion is translucent (or until corn is lightly browned). Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and cream in a large bowl. Stir in reserved crumbled cornbread, reserved corn mixture, and 1 cup of cheese. Add salt and pepper; pour into a greased 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and set in hot water bath (a larger pan of hot water that comes within 1/2 inch of top of baking pan). Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until firm in center.

Serves 8. I always double the recipe, put it in a 9x13x2 inch pan, and increase the baking time to closer to 2 hours.

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Spinach Madeleine

2 packages frozen chopped spinach

4 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp chopped onion (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)

1/2 c evaporated milk

1/2 c cooking water from spinach

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp celery salt

3/4 tsp garlic powder

Salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)

6 ounces pepper jack cheese, cut into small pieces

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Dash cayenne pepper

1/2 c bread crumbs

1 T melted butter

Cook spinach according to directions on package in shallow bowl or dish (I follow microwave directions). Drain spinach and reserve cooking liquid. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until soft – or garlic and cook about 1 minute. Combine evaporated milk and cooking liquid from spinach – add liquid slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick, stirring constantly. Add pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, salt, and cheese, Worcestershire, and cayenne; stir until melted. Stir in cooked spinach until combined thoroughly with sauce. Pour into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Combine butter and bread crumbs and sprinkle over top.

Serves 5-6. I always double this and put it in a 9×13 inch baking pan. It can easily be made ahead (and tastes better if it is) and refrigerated or frozen, then reheated in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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I love changing up our holiday meals with new recipes – if you have one you love, please share it in the comments!

 

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