Thanksgiving is a time of family, fellowship, and food, enjoying the fall harvest around a table with those you hold dear and giving thanks for family, health and love. Thanksgiving is probably one of my most cherished holidays because of the message it represents. The weather is absolutely gorgeous this time of year, and with the leaves changing colors, is the perfect time for a weekend getaway to the mountains. Asheville is such a foodie town, tucked in the mountains about a four hour drive from Lexington. Asheville is also home to the gorgeous Biltmore Estate. Guests who dine at the Biltmore Estate benefit from its heritage of hospitality, which flavors each season with a unique blend of fresh foods, historic ambience, and gracious service. This leads me to one of my favorite Thanksgiving menus with classic dishes inspired by the Biltmore estate.
Chicken Liver Pâté with Sage, Apple, & Thyme
Makes about 2 ½ cups
1 pound chicken livers
6 tablespoons butter at room temperature, divided
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 small shallots)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup cognac
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons - ¼ cup clarified butter, melted (optional)
Thyme and sage sprigs (optional)
Sliced baguette, crackers or mini toasts, for serving
Trim the livers of any excess fat and tough connective tissue. Set aside in the refrigerator.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are just beginning to brown. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are soft and browning at the edges. Add the livers, apple, sage and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are just barely pink inside when cut and the apple pieces are soft.
Transfer the liver mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pour the cognac or bourbon into the skillet and bring to a boil over low heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for about 1 minute to reduce slightly, then pour over the liver mixture. Add the salt. Process until mixture is very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix thoroughly with the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Add pepper to taste. Pack into small jars or ramekins and smooth tops with a spatula or knife. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap against the surface of pâté. For longer storage, pour enough clarified butter to cover the top of each ramekin and add a decorative herb sprig. Chill until butter is firm and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. For best flavor, refrigerate at least overnight before serving.
Let soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving with crackers or baguette slices. Pâté will keep refrigerated for up to one week, or up to two weeks with the clarified butter seal.
Fresh Mixed Green Salad with Biltmore Vinaigrette
1 egg yolk
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup spicy mustard
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon local honey
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup salad oil
Whirl these ingredients with a wire whisk to make a thin vinaigrette, or use an electric blender for a thick, creamy dressing. To blend, process first 9 ingredients in a blender or food processor; gradually add oil by pouring it through the food chute.
Serve with mixed greens.
Roast Turkey and Cornbread Stuffing
Preparation Time: 4 hours
20-25 lb. turkey
6 buttermilk biscuits–prepared
1 dozen hardboiled eggs
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
¼ cup ground sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Turkey: Rinse turkey and rub with salt inside and out. Using a large boiler or cooker, place turkey in enough water to almost cover it (one gallon or more). Heat to boiling point and cook on medium for about 2 ½ hours or until breast is tender; use a ladle to baste broth over the breast meat to keep it moist.
Cornbread Stuffing: Bake a large pan of cornbread using your favorite cornbread recipe. Bake about six buttermilk biscuits using your favorite recipe, or purchase frozen biscuits and bake. Peel eggs and chop or grate them into large mixing bowl. Add onions, celery, sage, salt, and pepper. Crumble cornbread and biscuits into bowl. When turkey is done, pour turkey broth over the cornbread dressing until the desired consistency is reached. Mix well, using plenty of broth so that dressing will be moist and soft when done. Place turkey in center of large baking pan. Spoon dressing into and around turkey. Bake in 425-degree oven for about 45 minutes.
If turkey browns too soon, cover with aluminum foil. Let rest before serving.
Bourbon and Maple Bacon Green Beans
3 cups cut fresh green beans
1 large onion, chopped
4 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Place beans in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1-inch of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onion and bacon over medium heat until bacon is crisp; drain. Add the beans, cranberries, syrup, bourbon if desired, salt and pepper; heat through
Optional Garnish: Top with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Cheddar & Herb Dropped Biscuits
Once you make Herb and Cheese Drop Biscuits, you will find yourself making them at least once a week. Similar to Cheesy Garlic Biscuits, these are a great way to use up extra fresh herbs and to easily make your own dinner bread. The fresh herb mix can be any combination you have lurking in your vegetable drawer. I also made these into sliders and ate them for breakfast.
Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 12 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, cilantro, dill,
rosemary, oregano etc)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, fresh herbs and garlic. Mix well. Add milk, cheeses and oil. Do not over mix, only until combined.
Drop biscuits onto greased baking sheet. You should have 12 biscuits.
Bake for 15 minutes until until tops are slightly crispy and lightly browned. Lightly coat each biscuit top with melted butter using a pastry brush.
Remove and serve warm.
Old Fashioned Pumpkin Roll
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup self-rising flour
½ cup chopped nuts
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
2 tablespoons softened butter
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
Grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan and then line with wax paper. Grease the wax paper.
Beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add sugar and mix well. Add pumpkin to butter/sugar mixture and mix. Then add your dry ingredients, soda, cinnamon, and flour, to pumpkin mixture. Mix well. Spread cake mixture in wax paper lined pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Immediately turn cake with wax paper onto a cotton tea towel sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Roll up cake and towel lengthwise. Cool.
While cake is cooling, mix all the filling ingredients with a mixer until smooth. After cooled, unroll cake and carefully remove wax paper. Spread cream cheese filling over cake. Roll-up cake and filling. Chill before slicing into one inch slices.