Friday, October 1, 2010


With a nod to my American friends and readers for whom Thanksgiving is still something of a distant blip on the radar, I'm blogging about the holiday that is next weekend here in Canada.  For a while there it seemed like September was hurtling at breakneck speed.  I wasn't ready to contemplate Thanksgiving being so soon.  But then somehow it slowed and I breathed in the cooling air laden with the scent of woodstoves in the neighbourhood, early fallen leaves and a decided lack of humidity, and all became right with the world.

I've begun putting up Autumn decorations.  When I was first married there was a local craft show where I'd seen some lovely placemats and table coverings.  My grandmother generously gave me the money for a set of them.  I have a half dozen placemats and serviettes, a table runner and a hot pad in a pattern that is a lovely explosion of harvest colours.  I set them out every year in the living room (I don' t have a dining room).  We put corn stalks and Mums outside, and we'll get pumpkins in the coming weeks.

As far as our menu goes, I've ordered a capon from a local butcher.  We had one earlier this year and found that its size was perfect for our small family.  6-8lbs of juicy meat that tastes how chicken should.  I can get behind that.  As much as I love turkey, it's all but impossible to get one from a butcher that's under 11lbs.  Often they're closer to 15lbs.  We just don't use up the leftovers from a bird that big.  I mean, I guess we could, but the capon is far more manageable.

Along with Mr. Bird, we'll have mashed potatoes and gravy, even though the kids don't like them.  They're still a must for hubby and I.  I've been looking at my Thanksgiving cookbook (literally "The Thanksgiving Cookbook" by Holly Garrison - one of my favourite cookbooks).  There are so many great ideas in this book.  As I've been going through it this year I've been asking the kids what they'd like to have for Thanksgiving dinner.  So far they've settled upon Broccoli with Bacon and Chestnuts.  We just bought chestnuts from a local nut tree nursery, and I've had a few. They're wonderfully sweet and full flavoured.  Hubby doesn't care for broccoli, but "bacon makes everything better" right?

I'm not sure what dessert will be, though last year I made a butterscotch apple cheesecake that I may repeat.  For now I'll share the broccoli recipe with you (I'll be halving it for us).

Broccoli with Bacon and Chestnuts

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 Tbsp butter (honestly I'll just keep enough bacon fat back)
2 large bunches broccoli
1/4 lb chestnuts, roasted or steamed, peeled and cut into small pieces
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon in a medium size skillet over medium-high heat until it's crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat and add the butter to the skillet (seriously?  I'll be using all bacon fat) and set aside.

Rinse the broccoli and cut off the main stems.  Break the bunches into even size flowerets, leaving short stems.  Cook in a large saucepan of lightly salted water until tender-crisp.  While it's cooking heat the bacon fat over medium high heat.  When it's hot, stir in the chestnuts and cook until heated through. 

Drain the broccoli and rinse it briefly in cool water to set the colour and stop the cooking.  Return it to the saucepan.  Add the hot chestnut mixture and reserved bacon.  Stir gently over low heat until combined and warm.  Add pepper to taste and serve in a warm bowl.

Serves 8

Sounds simple enough.  And quite tasty.  I love that my kids have chosen this.  They're also considering creamed leeks, though that requires a bechamel and cheese, neither of which I think would go well with gravy.  They're also pondering glazed carrots.  We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are going to have a great Thanksgiving. Happy Autumn.