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Ric Orlando's Thanksgiving Recipes for 2018

Thanksgiving Recipes for 2018

-Butternut Squash Hummus

- Turkey 101 Ric’s perfect brined and roasted turkey, step-by-step

- Cider-laced gravy

- Blue corn and chorizo dressing

- Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

- Insane Buttery Mashers

-Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles

- Pumpkin Cheesecake with bourbon ganache

Holiday Butternut Squash Hummus
Here is a perfect way to get the holiday feast started. A hummus platter, yes, but witht he flair and flavors of Thanksgiving. Any winter squash can be used in this recipe.
1 smallish butternut squash, seeded and roasted (yield about 2 cup cooked pulp)
1 cup Tahini
2 tbls lime juice
pinch allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
I/2 teaspoon garam masala or pumpkin pie spice
Salted water as needed

1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Bake cut side down on baking sheet for 30 minutes or until the flesh if soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.
When the squash is cooked and cool enough to handle, scrape the meat from the skin and add it to your food processor or electric stand mixer.
Whip it up until very smooth, adding a bit of salted water to make it fluffy.
Serve with pita chips and fresh crudites as an appetizer platter

Ric Orlando's Turkey 101

The secret is in the brining!

When you are done frying, grilling and otherwise messing around with that big bird,
try my tested, tried, and true method for brining and roasting!
Brining and the high/low cooking technique is the trick to making the perfect turkey.

Ric's Turkey Brine

(Ratio up to make enough brine to cover the bird entirely.)

Use a cooler to hold the turkey so that you can brine it over night.
Clean it really well and line it with a trash bag or food-safe plastic if you are squeamish.
Put four frozen icepacks or ziplock bags of ice in the cooler and cover to make sure it stays
cold enough. (Using a really big cooler? Increase ice accordingly to keep that bird at a
safe temperature.)

1 gallon cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
3-4 allspice berries
8-10 peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Stir the salt into the water to dissolve. Add all other ingredients and you've made the brine.
Cover the turkey completely with brine for as short as two hours or as long as 48 hours.
Remove from brine and dry that bird well.
*NOTE. If you plan to brine your bird for more than 24 hours, cut back the salt by ¼ cup

Ric Orlando's Basic Turkey Roasting Recipe

Massage the turkey with melted butter, olive oil, duck fat or sunflower oil before seasoning.
Then rub turkey with the following mix. You may not use all of it, but this rub makes for great

1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white pepper
4 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons dry thyme
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix well and massage into the entire bird.

Fill the cavity with the following:
1 Apple, split in half
1 Lemon, split in half
1 onion, split in half
1 head of garlic, split in half
2-3 spring each of thyme, sage and parsley

Let turkey stand at room temperature for 30 minutes minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Have a quick read thermometer and a kitchen timer handy.
This method should take about 12 minutes per pound or about 4 total hours for a
20 pound bird.

Put turkey in a roasting pan set directly in the bottom of the oven–not on a rack or mirepoix.
Set timer for 30 minutes. When timer goes off, check turkey. You are looking for a golden
brown skin and a nice sizzle in the pan. If it is still pale, reset timer for 15 more minutes.
If it is still not golden, do it again. The goal at this stage is to have a turkey that looks
perfectly cooked, though we know it is raw inside still.

When the skin does look golden brown (and the pan is doing that nice sizzle), reduce
oven to 300 F and loosely cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Pour enough
water into the pan so there's a 1/4 inch of liquid covering the bottom of it.

Set timer again, this time for about 10 minutes per pound.

When the timer goes off, check the internal temperature of the bird by putting the probe
thermometer between the thigh and breast. When it reads 165-170 the bird is done.
It will continue to cook as it rests and its internal temperature will increase by about 7%.
Woo hoo!

Let the turkey stand for 30 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and use the juices in the
pan to make amazing gravy!

Have a nice holiday! Be thankful, friends!

Cider Laced Gravy
This gravy is not sweet at all, but the essence of apple adds a brightness to the gravy
that cuts through the rich protein of turkey. You are enriching chicken broth with turkey
giblets here to maximize the turkey flavor.
Makes 4 cups

6 cups chicken or turkey stock or broth (fresh is best, boxed is fine)
1 set turkey giblets and neck (not the liver, save that for another snack)
3 tbls chicken or turkey fat or veg oil
2 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
2 cups apple cider
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour if you are not gluten free)
  1. Make the enriched stock. Cut the neck into three or four sections.
  2. Season the neck and giblets well with salt and pepper.In a heavy pan (cast iron is great),
  3. Add the oil and over medium heat brown the neck and giblets all over well.
  4. Pour off most of the oil and add a ½ cup of the stock.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that are sticking to the pan.
  6. Transfer everything to a sauce pot and add the remaining stock and the thyme sprigs.
  7. Simmer at medium heat until reduced by about 20%, strain and reserve.
  8. Nibble the neck and heart, It is the chef’s treat.
  9. When your turkey is cooked and has rested, transfer the bird to a platter.
  10. Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat.
  11. Put the pan on the stove top with the heat off and whisk in the flour or cornstarch.
  12. Now turn on the burners to medium and whisk in the cider
  13. Incorporate the cornstarch paste well.
  14. Add the reserved stock and whisk well, dissolving any lumps and bring to a boil.
  15. Carefully transfer it into a sauce pot and simmer until lightly thickened.
  16. Taste for seasoning and serve with the bird.

Blue Corn-Chorizo Stuffing
This is a great tasting Southwestern take on basic sausage dressing.
If you can’t get blue corn meal, yellow works just fine.
This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored chilled.
Reheat to serve.

1 pan blue cornbread, made to package specifications
(this can be done two to three days in advance
1 pound soft Mexican chorizo, crumbled
(available at any Mexican market or make your own (see recipe below)
2 tbls turkey, chicken or duck fat, or butter
1 Medium onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 jalapeno, minced, seeded or not (optional)
3 sprigs cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
1.Heat a heavy pan add the oil.
2.Add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking it up until it is lightly browned all over. Remove from the pan and reserve.
3.Pour off about half of the fat and return to the heat.
4.Add the onions, celery, pepper and jalapeno to the pan.
Cook over medium heat until softened.
5. Add the chorizo back the the pan and stir to incorporate.
6. Crumble the cornbread into this and mix it well to blend it together.
7. Add the stock and stir it in well, making a muddy mess in the pan.
8. Transfer to a casserole pan, smooth the top and cover with foil.
Bake at 300 for 30-45 minutes covered.
Remove foil and cook 10 minutes or so more to lightly brown the top.

This is pretty easy. I make it by the 5 pound batch and freeze it.
You never know when you’ll want chorizo tacos, omelettes, burritos or hash.
Just saying.
1 lb ground pork or turkey
2 tbs chile powder (Ancho chile powder or pure chile powder is the best)
2 tbls paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp oregano (Mexican is best, but any will do)
Scant pinch ground cloves
Using a mixer with the paddle attachment or your hands,
mix very well to incorporate the vinegar and spices through the meat.

Ok, so the “buttery” flavor here comes from a combination of
butter AND buttermilk AND mascarpone cheese.
Add a pinch of nutmeg and you will have the best mashers ever.  
Combining a mix of starchy and waxy potatoes gives the BEST consistency,
Serves 6
3-4 large yukon gold or Maine potatoes, peeled ( about 2 pounds)
3-4 large russet potatoes peeled
2 tbls salt
2 bayleaves
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup mascarpone
½ cup cultured buttermilk or as needed.
Salt and white pepper to taste
Scant pinch grated nutmeg
  1. Peel the potatoes. Cut the in half.
  2. Using larger pieces keeps them from getting too soggy when cooking.
  3. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover by at least two inches with COLD water.
  4. Add the tablespoon of salt and bay leaves.
  5. Cover and bring to a rolling bowl.
  6. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer.
  7. Drain the cooked potatoes VERY Well. Remove the bay leaves.
  8. Transfer to a bowl of an electric mixer.
  9. Start on low speed while adding the butter until it is incorporated.
  10. Now dd the mascarpone and turn the machine to medium high.
  11. Allow to whip for 2 minutes.  Turn the mixer back to low.
  12. Add the buttermilk a little at a time until the potatoes reach your desired consistency.
  13. Season with salt and white pepper to taste

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted, caramelized, luscious!

Some sprouts are wound tighter than others, so the roasting time may vary depending upon the particular batch of sprouts you are cooking. Make sure they are lightly browned, but not black, or you will have bitter sprouts.

Because of the vinegar, this dish pairs well with red meats, venison, beef and lamb. It is also good served family style with hearty salmon preparations.

Serves 4

1 pound medium Brussels sprouts
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 medium shallots, cut in half
6 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare Brussels sprouts by trimming off any dry or loose leaves. Cut off brown end off of the stem to expose the white core of the stem. Cut an "X" into the bottom of the core of the stem, about 2 or three millimeters deep.

In a mixing bowl, toss all ingredients to coat well. Let marinate at least 15 minutes or up to an hour.

Put everything in a roasting pan and loosely cover with parchment paper or foil. Bake about 30 minutes, then check the sprouts. They will begin to soften and become golden. Poke a big one with a skewer or toothpick. It should be tender. If they need a little more time, let it happen. When they are just tender, remove the covering and allow to cook 10 more minutes until lightly browned. They should be very tender when done.

Serve them right in the roasting dish and make sure everyone gets a piece of shallot and a clove of garlic.


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping

This is my wife Liz’s signature Thanksgiving dessert.
It is light and creamy and not too sweet due to the sour cream.
If you are not gluten free, feel free to use graham cracker crumbs in the crust.


  1. For crust
    • 1 ½  cups gluten free ginger snaps, pulsed to crumbs
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  2. For filling
    • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. For topping
    • 2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
    • Garnish: pecan halves




  1. Make crust:
    1. Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan
    2. (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan),
    3. Lock the side and butter pan.
    4. Stir together crumbs, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well.
    5. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan.
    6. Chill crust,1 hour.
  2. Make filling and bake cheesecake:
    1. Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using)
    3. in a bowl until combined.
    4. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in
    5. your stand mixer bowl
    6. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy
    7. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
    8. Pour filling into crust, smoothing top.
    9. Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks).
    10. Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes.
    11. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
  3. Make topping:
    1. Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl.
    2. Spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
    3. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
    4. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.


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