What better way to think of an eco-friendly Thanksgiving menu than to recycle one from last year? Bryant Terry is The Root's resident eco-soul chef, and his Thanksgiving feast is sure to satisfy any appetite. The original article is reprinted below.
You might have noticed that harvest celebration née Thanksgiving is this week. If you have not started planning and shopping for your gathering, look on the bright side. You still have plenty of time! I hope that this menu will help guide your sustainable celebration. I offer a recipe for a Spicy Citrus-Herb Harvest Turkey that will blow your guests away. (Trust me.) I also recommend several sides to complement the bird to ensure that vegetarians aren't stuck with rolls and salad.
On the menu:
Mac 4 Cheese (with Leeks)
Fresh Apple-Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Yam Purée with Coconut Milk
Citrus Collards with Raisins
Brussels Sprouts with White Wine and Thyme
Agave-Sweetened Double-Orange Pekoe Tea
Chocolate Pecan Pudding Pie
All of these recipes use fresh, whole, best-quality, health-supportive ingredients and cooking techniques with an eye on local, seasonal, sustainably grown food. Feel free to add, omit or substitute suggested ingredients for those that make more sense for you. For example, if you want to source your meal locally, use chard from your backyard garden instead of collards or use sweet potatoes from your winter CSA instead of yams. As Chef Daniel Boulud reminds us, a recipe is never entirely proprietary, but ripe for re-interpretation by any creative chef. So be creative and make these recipes your own.
Spicy Citrus-Herb Harvest Turkey
Prep Time: 1 hour
Inactive Prep Time: at least 4 hours or overnight
Cooking Time: 4 hours
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Soundtrack: "The Parasite (For Buffy)" by Eugene McDaniels from Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse
The key to this off-the-hook turkey is brining and basting. Brining, soaking poultry in salty water for several hours, is the first step to ensuring that your turkey has a rich flavor. Basting, pouring juices over the turkey while it is cooking, will keep it moist. I promise you, your effort put into these two procedures will pay off nicely when you take the first bite of this bird. Visit Local Harvest to learn more about sourcing organic, pastured and heritage turkeys raised by U.S. family farms.
1 (10- to 12-pound) turkey
24 sprigs thyme
12 sprigs oregano
12 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs sage
Fine sea salt
1 3/4 cup raw organic cane sugar
16 large oranges, zest removed
4 lemons, zest removed
1 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths
· If necessary, remove the neck, giblets and liver from the cavity of the turkey and discard. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water. Set aside in a clean roasting pan.
· In an upright blender, combine 12 sprigs thyme, 6 sprigs oregano, 6 sprigs rosemary, and 6 sprigs sage with 2 cups of water. Blend well for 1 minute.
· In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, combine the herb-water, with 1 gallon of fresh water, 1 3/4 cup salt, the sugar, 1 tablespoon orange zest and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Stir well until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
· In a large non-reactive container (such as a stockpot, sanitized plastic bucket, or clean, heavy-duty plastic bag), combine the brine with 2 gallons of fresh water. Transfer the turkey to the brine. The turkey should be completely submersed, so if you have a big turkey and need more brine, use 1/2 cup sea salt and 1/2 cup raw organic cane sugar for every additional gallon of water.
· Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Cooking the Turkey
· Preheat the oven to 325°F.
· Remove the turkey from the brine, and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out.
· Loosen the skin from the turkey breast by gently inserting your fingers between the skin and the flesh. Rub the turkey on all sides with the olive oil, and season lightly (inside and out) with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Be sure to oil and season beneath the skin on the breast. Tuck 6 sprigs or thyme, 3 sprigs or oregano and 3 sprigs of rosemary beneath the skin of the breast. Place the turkey, breast side down, in a large heavy roasting pan and set aside.
· Squeeze the juice of 8 oranges to make about 4 cups of juice. Cut the remaining oranges in quarters. Squeeze the juice of 4 lemons to make about 1/4 cup of juice.
· Stuff the turkey with the orange quarters, the remaining herbs and onions. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
· Pour the orange juice in the bottom of the roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to the oven, and roast, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.
· Remove from the oven. Turn and baste with 1 cup orange juice from the pan. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165° F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone) and juices in the thigh run clear when pierced with a fork, about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every 30 minutes with 1 cup of orange juice from the pan.
· Remove from the oven. Place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
· Carve turkey, as desired, and serve with sides.
All recipes for 4 to 6 unless otherwise noted.
Mac 4 Cheese (with Leeks)
Soundtrack: "Amampondo" by Miriam Makeba from Africa
This is a reinvention of the macaroni and cheese that my mom made when I was growing up. With leeks, too.
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 thinly sliced large leeks*, white and light green parts only
2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
· Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
· Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add 2 teaspoons salt. When the water returns to a boil, stir in the pasta and cook until al dente (about 6 minutes). Drain the pasta and set aside.
· Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until they start browning. Set aside.
· Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds, until a darker shade of brown.
· Raise the heat to medium. Add the milk, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened.
· Reduce the heat to low, add the balsamic vinegar, paprika, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of the cheddar, 1/2 cup of the pepper jack, the mozzarella, and Parmesan to the white sauce and stir until smooth. Season with black pepper to taste.
· Add the leeks and macaroni to the white sauce. Gently stir well and pour into the baking dish.
· Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup pepper jack over the top and garnish with the chopped rosemary.
· Bake 35-40 minutes until lightly brown and crispy on the top. Serve hot.
Cut the greens off, leaving only the light green and white bottom, then cut off the roots. Slice the remaining part in half lengthwise, and thinly slice them horizontally. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add the leek slices, and swish around well, vigorously, rubbing any dirt and sand off of the pieces. Lift from the water and set them aside. Rinse the bowl of any residue and repeat if necessary.
Fresh Apple-Cranberry Sauce
Soundtrack: "You" by Q-Tip from The Renaissance
After eating this, you'll never eat canned cranberry sauce again. This version uses fresh cranberries, apples and tangerine juice. It's so naturally sweet and yummy you could even eat it as dessert.
1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cup peeled and diced sweet-tart apples such as Braeburn, Early Crisp or Gala
1/2 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (or fresh orange juice)
2 tablespoons organic raw cane sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch ground cinnamon
· In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until soft with some chunks remaining, stirring every 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature. Refrigerate. Serve cool.
Soundtrack: "Sorcerer" by Miles Davis from Sorcerer
This dish tastes like creamy orange bliss. Often confused with sweet potatoes, yams contain more natural sugar and have a higher moisture content. When buying yams, select smaller ones (they're sweeter) and ones that are unwrinkled with few blemishes. If you can't find yams, you can substitute sweet potatoes.
4 pounds yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 tablespoons maple syrup
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 cup canned coconut milk, warmed
· Preheat oven to 375° F.
· In a large bowl, combine the yams, maple syrup, olive oil and sea salt. Toss well.
· Transfer the yams to a lightly oiled baking dish or roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
· Remove from oven. In a food processor, combine the yams with 1/2 cup of warmed coconut milk. Puree, adding additional coconut milk for your desired consistency, and transfer to a serving dish.
Citrus Collards with Raisins
Soundtrack: "Sodade" by Césaria Évora from Miss Perfumado
This recipe was the seed of my new book, Vegan Soul Kitchen. Dedicated to my home city in the mid-south—Memphis, Tennessee.
2 large bunches collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a chiffonade*, rinsed and drained
Coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
· In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.
· Prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.
· Remove the collards from the heat. Drain. Plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. Drain.
· In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the collards, raisins and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
· Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should be bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately. (This also makes a tasty filling for quesadillas.)
The chiffonade cut is used to produce very fine threads of fresh herbs, leafy greens and other leafy vegetables. First, remove any tough stems that would prevent the leaf from being rolled tightly (reserve them for stocks or salads). Next, stack several leaves and roll them into a tight cylinder. Slice crosswise with a sharp knife, cutting the leaves into thin strips.
Baked Brussels Sprouts with White Wine and Thyme
Soundtrack: "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West from 808s & Heartbreak
Unfortunately, a lot of people have bad childhood memories of being forced to eat overcooked, bitter Brussels sprouts. So I have to be very careful when describing this dish: "So, you like white wine, right?" "How do you feel about thyme?" "What if you combined them with some fresh baby cabbages?" Try to repress any personal Brussels sprouts trauma, and give these baby cabbages a try.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed of stems and cut in half lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, minced
7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
Coarse sea salt
White pepper to taste
· Coat a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts arranging them cut side down, making one snug layer. Turn the heat to high and sauté until the cut side of the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme. Sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring to ensure that the garlic and thyme are evenly distributed. Add the vegetable stock, white wine and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil and stir well. Immediately, set temperature to low, cover and braise until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the thyme stems.
· Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Soundtrack: "Se Me Van Los Pies" by Susana Baca from Susana Baca
Inspired by Myra Kornfeld's "Amaranth-Studded Cornbread" from her brilliant book, The Voluptuous Vegan, this recipe uses quinoa flour as well as whole quinoa, which give it a rich, nutty flavor and some crunch. You can find them both at health-food supermarkets. Up until now, quinoa didn't show up often in African-American-inspired cuisine, but this is a new day…
5 tablespoons unrefined corn oil, plus more for oiling the pan
1/4 cup quinoa
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup original unflavored rice milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup agave nectar
· Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
· Grease an 8-inch square bread pan and set aside.
· In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the quinoa, shaking the pan occasionally, until the grains start to pop, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
· Add the cornmeal, quinoa flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl with the toasted quinoa. Whisk to combine.
· In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice milk, apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, and 5 tablespoons of corn oil.
· Transfer the bread pan to the oven to preheat until sizzling, about 5 minutes.
· After the pan has heated for 4 minutes, combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture with a large spoon and quickly mix just until the dry ingredients are moist. Do not over mix or the bread will be dense.
· Immediately remove the pan from the oven and scrape the batter into it. Return to the oven and bake on the center rack for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden-brown and firm to the touch (and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean).
· Serve immediately.
Agave-Sweetened Double-Orange Pekoe Tea
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
Soundtrack: "Hi Sun" by J*Davey from The Beauty In Distortion / The Land of the Lost
Margie, my maternal grandmother, would sun-brew gallon jars full of sweet tea on sweltering hot summer days. Recollections of those containers full of cinnamon-colored tea sitting on her back porch bring back sweet memories of simpler days. This version will satisfy the snootiest of sweet-tea connoisseurs (read: my mom) and won't give drinkers an insulin spike since it is sweetened with agave nectar.
12 cups cold water
2 2-inch sticks of cinnamon
12 orange pekoe black tea bags
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cup agave nectar
Thin orange wedges, garnish
In a stockpot, combine the water and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and immediately add the tea bags, orange juice, lemon juice and agave nectar. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the tea to cool. Remove the tea bags with a slotted spoon. Ladle into pint-sized canning jars filled with ice and garnish with orange wedges.
Soundtrack: "Mississippi Goddamn" by Nina Simone from Anthology
After coming home from Memphis a few years ago, I stumbled upon an immediately mouth-watering recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie (in of all places the airport). The recipe had all the usual unhealthy trappings of Southern food: lots of "bad" fat and highly processed sugars. But by the time I got home, I had figured out which health-supportive ingredients could be substituted for the less healthy ones. I decided to use maple syrup, for instance, instead of light corn syrup. In the end, the only resemblance that my pie had with the original one was chocolate and pecans.
For the nut crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut
8 large dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil
For the filling:
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup arrowroot
3/4 cup organic chocolate chips
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut
For the crust:
· Preheat oven to 325°F.
· Combine the almonds, pecans, flour and salt in a food processor with a fitted metal blade, and grind to a fine meal. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the coconut. Add the dates and coconut oil to the food processor and mix until the dates form into a gooey mass, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients back into the food processor and process until all ingredients are mixed well and starts to form into dough.
· Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin. With clean hands, knead for a minute or so to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed. Press the dough into the pan, making sure that the bottom, sides and rim are covered. (The sides should be slightly thicker than the rest of the tin.) With a fork, prick several holes into the bottom of the crust. Set aside.
For the filling:
· In a blender, combine the soy milk and arrowroot and purée for 30 seconds. Add the banana and purée for 15 seconds. Set aside.
· In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate chips. In a large bowl, immediately combine the melted chocolate chips with the soy milk/banana/arrowroot mixture, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, pecans and coconut. Mix well. Scrape into the crust with a rubber spatula and spread evenly.
· Place the pie on a cookie sheet. Cover the crust with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, until filling is firm.
· Remove from oven. Cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least two hours.
· Garnish each slice with a few mint leaves.
Bryant Terry is an award-winning eco-chef, food justice activist, and Food and Society Policy Fellow.He co-authored "Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen" (Tarcher/Penguin), and he is the author of the forthcoming "Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine" (Da Capo/Perseus March 2009).