Thanksgiving Dinner: The Starter

Every meal should have a beginning, a middle and end, just like a good story. The appetizer sets the mood and expectations for what’s to come. Consider it foreplay. You want it to make an impression, to tease but not overshadow.

When I thought about the components for this meal, I knew I wanted to incorporate the ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving ingredients. I also knew I would need to befriend the sweet potato, it’s not one of my favorites. You may recall another post where sweet potato was the star, but dressed in different wardrobe. That’s how I trick myself into liking it.

When I thought about a starter for this meal and considered using sweet potatoes, I wanted to remove most of that barely there sweetness and stay away from the common spices paired with it. The addition of chorizo made this soup even more savory and hearty. This soup is delicious! AND light AND easy. You should definitely try it. You can make the components for the cream ahead of time, then reheat and put it together just before serving.

Sweet Potato Cream with Chorizo
serves 6-8

3-4 medium sweet potatoes
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Chicken stock or water
Sea salt
1 tsp cumin
Crema fresca or creme fraiche

For the chorizo:
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sherry or wine
8 ozs Mexican chorizo
Sea salt
Sugar
Black pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes before putting them in a medium saucepan with the stock/water, bay leaf, garlic and salt. Boil and cook until tender. Allow them to cool in the boiling liquid before running through a blender. The sweet potatoes will be very dense, you may need to add additional water in order to puree.

To prepare the chorizo: cook the onions in the oil over medium high heat until softened and the onions begin to turn golden. Add the balsamic vinegar and sherry, cook until it evaporates.

Add the chorizo into the onion mixture, making sure to break it apart so it is a crumble. Chorizo should be thoroughly cooked, but keep the temperature at medium to avoid burning it. Add a couple tablespoons of water and cover with a tight-fitting lid, lower the temperature and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as necessary, if you find it to be too tart, add a pinch of sugar. Allow it to cool. Remove the excess fat once it cools down.

To assemble: Pour the hot soup into a bowl, drizzle with cream, then drop a dollop of chorizo in the center.

Enjoy! Check out the rest of this meal here.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

Autumn in a puff

It’s possible I’m addicted to contests now. I know, I went for years without entertaining the thought of participating in one, to signing up for 2 recipe contests and 3 just throw in your name ones¬†in a 2 week period. Yikes! This might be serious.

In any case, I submitted this entry to Pepperidge¬†Farms. I *literally* threw¬†these ingredients together just so I would have something to submit. That aside, these turned out AWESOME! I wasn’t completely sure of the gorgonzola, I thought I might need something more pungent, but it worked beautifully. There’s something about the sweetness of the potato, combined with depth of the cheese and the meatiness of the sausage that just works.

 

2 sheets puff pastry
2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 lb sage breakfast sausage
1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 cp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove pastry sheets from freezer or fridge and allow to thaw.

Cook the breakfast sausage as directed, making sure it is a fine crumble. Allow it to cool. In the same pan, add the mashed sweet potatoes and cheese, taste your seasonings and adjust as necessary. Now add the yolk and stir it into the mash. Set aside.

I used a 2-inch biscuit cutter, but a smaller one will yield more of these puffs. Lay out the pastry sheets and cut out using the cutter. Moisten the edges of each circle with a bit of water, then drop about 1 tablespoon of filling onto the center of half of the circles.

Now top the filled circles with one of the other halves. Press the edges together and flutter them out or crimp them with a fork.

Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep them about an inch apart. Now brush the tops with the heavy cream. Using a fork or paring knife, pierce the tops of each puff, this will allow the steam to come out and will keep the puffs intact, otherwise they will burst. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Note: If you don’t have a cutter, simply use a knife and follow the folds on the sheets. You will end up with 9 squares per sheet.