Social Hall Cookbook: Southern Egg Gravy

So we’ve got the turkey recipe covered here. Now it’s on to the gravy. Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve always believed gravy needs to be perfectly smooth to be good. If you have lumps, you’ve done it wrong. And you certainly are not throwing eggs in there. Who in the world puts eggs in their gravy?? Well apparently, the whole Southern half of our country does, and it is AMAZING. For any of my Yankee friends who are reading, let Claire and I introduce you to the last gravy recipe you will ever need for Thanksgiving.

Southern Egg Gravy

Southern Egg Gravy

Ingredients:

  1. All of your turkey drippings
  2. 4 tablespoons flour
  3. 2 – 3 tablespoons minced shallots (you could also use a yellow or white onion)
  4. Chicken stock
  5. 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  6. Salt & pepper

Equipment:

  • Large pot
  • Large measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Tablespoon

Steps

  • Skim 4 tablespoons of fat from the turkey drippings and add to the pot over medium-high heat
  • Add your minced shallots/onion and sauté until they turn translucent
  • Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture turns a medium brown color, only a few minutes
  • While that’s cooking, pour the rest of the turkey drippings into the measuring cup, and then add enough chicken stock until you get to 4 cups total
  • Slowly whisk in the drippings/stock mixture – it’s important to keep whisking and add the liquid slowly. This prevents the flour mixture from clumping.
  • Bring to a boil while still whisking
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how thick you want your gravy (longer time = thicker gravy)
  • Once it’s reached your desired consistency, stir in the eggs, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve it up!

This will give you enough gravy for 8 to 10 people. You can always double it if you have a larger crowd.

So we’ve got our bird and gravy covered, which leaves us with side dishes. And maybe a festive cocktail recipe. Or two :)

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Social Hall Cookbook: Easy 5 Ingredient Turkey (promise!)

Turkey. I don’t know if there’s a more notorious food than this bird. Frozen birds, burnt birds, burnt husbands who tried to deep fry the bird. The turkey has a bad rep. However, when done correctly, turkey can be juicy, delicious, and EASY. We get turkeys at work every year as a little Thanksgiving gift, so I decided to cook one up 2 years ago and have a Thanksgiving dinner with friends before the actual holiday. Having never cooked a whole bird before, I scoured the internet for techniques and recipes. Thankfully, Food Network was showing a Thanksgiving special, and Claire Robinson was demonstrating a “foolproof” method of cooking a classic, juicy turkey. It looked perfect, so I took notes and decided that her recipe was going to be my plan of attack. It didn’t hurt that she only used FIVE ingredients.

So I gathered everything up the morning of the party and got to prepping. Claire wasn’t kidding when she said it was simple. Prep took about 15 minutes. I baked it off for about 3 and a half hours. When I pulled that bird out, oh my heavens, it was PERFECT. I was thoroughly impressed with myself. And with Claire. It was so easy. Way easier than I ever thought possible. If you want a classic, delicious, and simple turkey, follow this recipe and you’ll be golden!

Turkey

Easy 5 Ingredient Turkey

Ingredients:

  1. 1 turkey (I used a 16 pounder, but you can adjust the ingredients and cook time up or down for a bigger or smaller bird)
  2. 2 big onions, cut into quarters (I used Vidalias)
  3. 2 lemons, cut in half
  4. 4 sprigs of rosemary (get the little plastic pack in the refrigerated veggie case – you can use the extras as garnish or cut them up and use them as part of your place settings)
  5. 1 stick butter (get the real stuff – Thanksgiving is not the time to skimp on calories)

You’ll also need salt and pepper and 4 cups of water. But I figure you probably have those on hand :)

Equipment:

  • Roasting rack and pan
  • Meat thermometer

 

Prep:

  • Preheat your over to 325 degrees.
  • Remove the giblets from the inside of the turkey, rinse the bird, and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Salt the inside of the turkey cavity.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemons inside of the cavity.
  • Stuff the turkey cavity with the squeezed lemons, rosemary springs, and 2 of the onion quarters.
  • Place your turkey on the roasting rack inside of the roasting pan.
  • Add the giblets, the remaining onion quarters, and 4 cups of water into the bottom of the roasting pan. Do not pour the water over the turkey.
  • Generously sprinkle the skin of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  • Rub the stick of butter all over the skin of the turkey. Really massage it on there. This will ensure juicy meat and a brown, crispy skin.

Roasting:

  • Put the turkey in the oven and roast for about 3 – 4 hours, depending on the size of your bird.
  • You’ll want to baste the skin of the bird every half hour. I just used a big serving spoon to scoop the juices from the bottom of the pan, but you could use a turkey baster too. If the skin is getting too brown for your liking, just cover the pan with foil.
  • In order to be sure the bird is done, you want the breast meat to be at 170 degrees. So when you think it’s getting close (around the minimum suggested cooking time), pull it out, stick the thermometer into the chubbiest part of the breast and get a good reading. If it’s not 170, put it back in for another 15 minutes and repeat that process.
  • Once the meat is up to temperature, remove the turkey from the pan and set on a cutting board to rest for about 20 minutes. I made a loose, foil tent over it just to keep the heat in a little better. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, so every bite is juicy and delicious. This step is VERY important. Otherwise, you’ll cut into the bird and all of the juices that settled to the bottom will just end up on your cutting board, and you’ll have drier meat.
  • Finally, carve that turkey and serve it up on a platter. You can garnish with the extra rosemary sprigs, and you could add a couple of lemons to the platter for a little color.

 

This recipe may not be the fanciest or the ‘chef-iest’, but it is truly foolproof, and you’ll end up with a delicious, juicy turkey that everyone will love. I tried to break it all down the best I could, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll be glad to help you out.

Later this week I’ll have a gravy recipe to die for, and also some great side dish and dessert ideas. All of the recipes work well together and can be spaced out so your day is easily manageable. The goal is a simple, foolproof, yet absolutely delicious feast that everyone will be raving over. You can do this!

 

Social Hall Cookbook: Easy Feta Dip

This recipe has become my go-to easy appetizer for holiday parties and work potlucks. FIVE ingredients. NO cooking. Easy peasy. And delicious! Even my fussy dad liked it.

Feta dip

recipe via

EASY FETA DIP

Serves 4 – 8

  • Olive oil (I use EVOO, but any variety is fine)
  • 1+ package feta cheese, block or crumbled (I usually use 1 and half packs)
  • 3 – 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • Greek seasoning (I don’t keep this in my pantry, so I just use salt, pepper, and oregano)
  • 1 fresh baguette (you want it to be squishy enough to sop up the yummy oil)

EQUIPMENT: 1 large platter and 1 spoon

1. Pour enough oil on the platter to cover the bottom.

2. Dice your onions and tomatoes and throw them on the platter.

3. Crumble your cheese on top. Stir it all up.

4. Add your seasoning to taste.

And that’s it! You can adjust the amounts of any of the ingredients to your liking. I usually cut back on the onions a bit so the feta stays the prominent flavor. But you can do whatever suits your fancy. Serve it up with fresh baguette slices and enjoy!

Social Hall Cookbook: Berry Ricotta Pancakes

Guys. These are the like….the BEST pancakes ever. Swear.

Berry Ricotta Pancakes

via

I made these a while back for Ben, and they are amazing. So good in fact, that I ate the leftovers for lunch the same day. The recipe is included in Glamour magazine’s “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know.” They weren’t kidding about this one. I followed the recipe to a T, and it was perfection. It’s a bit more involved than regular pancakes, but it’s totally worth it. So go surprise your sweetie with an impressive chef-y plate of pancakes this weekend!

Berry Ricotta Pancakes

Serves 2 to 4

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Butter and good maple syrup for serving

EQUIPMENT: 4 mixing bowls (I know, I know – but it’s still worth it), hand mixer, wooden spoon, non-stick skillet, measuring cup

1. Zest the lemon into a medium-sized mixing bowl, being careful not to include any of the bitter, white pith.

2. Add the raspberries to the bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, gently crushing the raspberries with a wooden spoon. Set aside while making the pancake batter.

3. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1 tbsp. sugar and the baking powder.

4. In a third bowl (use a larger one here), beat the ricotta cheese with the milk and egg yolks. Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture, and stir until just combined. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

5. In a fourth bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld mixer until they hold soft peaks.

6. Gently fold the raspberries with their juices into the batter, and then fold in the egg whites. (You want little clumps of egg whites in the batter. The important thing is not to overmix it.)

7. Heat a large non-stick skillet over moderately low heat. Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter at the center of the skillet, where you will spoon the batter.

8. Spoon the batter into the hot skillet, directly onto the melted butter.

9. Cook each pancake until the bottom is golden brown and the bubbles on the surface begin to break, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the pancake quickly. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute longer.

10. Serve finished pancakes with butter and maple syrup.