We prefer to roll deep when it comes to Thanksgiving menus. Mash and roasted root vegetables? No problem. Two different batches of stuffing? Why not? Seitan meatloaf wrapped in seitan bacon… sure, we’ve considered it. In fact, it is rare to find an inch of empty space on our table. Which is cool of course, except that coming up with hot, new shit every year starts to get puzzling! We do, however, realize that some people are less obsessive and, yes, gluttonous, than us. And for those people, we give you one dish to rule them all – one that boasts the four cornerstones of an all-American Thanksgiving meal all on the same plate: mash, stuffing, root vegetables and cranberry sauce. We even threw beer in there for good measure.
Mashed potatoes, even done perfectly, is an admitted snoozer. We whipped parsnips with garlic oil and almond butter instead and folded a sage-kissed mirepoix into the mash for the crunch of stuffing. Finally, scoops of this two-headed comfort-food beast got dressed with thick drizzles of a cranberry coulis — reduced with cherry beer. We used a cheap middle-of -the-road kriek: Kasteel Rouge. It’s sweet and clean, and very cherry. If you’re feeling spendy, any kriek-style beer would do: think Three Philosophers on the dark end, Rodenbach on the ‘sour red’ side.
All in all, not a bad substitution for the Hungry Man TV dinner!
2 cups kriek-style beer
1 cup water
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 tsp. sea salt
1. Empty your beer into a medium-sized pot. Add water and agave and stir. Put pot on medium heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Then drop in the cranberries and let cook for about 25 minutes, or until most of the berries have popped and liquid has reduced by an inch.
2. Remove cranberries from the heat and pulse with a blender so you have a thoroughly puréed mixture. Using a fine colander, strain the sauce into a mixing bowl to remove any bits and pieces of berries.
3. Add the salt; this will help eek out the flavor of both the beer and the cranberries. Return the mixture back to your pot and heat for another 5 minutes. Remove and cool for one hour before using.
Root Whip Stuffing
1 head garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium potatoes
2 medium carrots
1/2 white onion
2 stalks celery
1 tsp dried sage
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup soymilk “creamer” (or plain soy milk)
2 Tbs. almond butter
1. Make a garlic confit for garnish, and in the process garlic oil for sautéing. Place whole garlic cloves and olive oil in a small saucepot on low heat and let it cook for close to 20 minutes or until the cloves are browning at the edges, just short of being crisped. Remove the pan from heat and separate garlic from the oil and set both aside.
2. Chop your parsnips into rough 2-inch chunks. Chop the potato the same way. Fill a large pot with salted water, add the parsnips and potatoes and set to boil.
3. While your pot o’veg heats, prepare a mirepoix by finely chopping the carrot, onion, and celery. Toss that in a large pan on medium heat with one-fourth of the garlic oil. Add sage, salt and pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes and keep warm until the last step.
4. In a small saucepan, heat your soymilk creamer only until it is warm. Add almond butter and whisk. Set aside.
5. Once the water boils in your parsnip-potato pot, continue to boil for another five minutes, then strain the vegetables in the sink.
6. In a large bowl, dump your strained veggies and set upon it with a masher. Mash by hand, adding garlic oil as you go. Once there are no awkward chunks or strands, add the soymilk-almond butter mix. Keep mashing. When you get a mostly smooth consistency add the mirepoix and stir well. Season to taste with salt if needed. Serve with an ice cream scoop and garnish with swirls of cranberry coulis and confited garlic clove on top.
Soundtrack: Thanksgiving’s Welcome Nowhere
Beverage: Rodenbach Grand Cru