A Skier’s Thanksgiving

Date October 31, 2006 at 11:00 PM

Categories Health & Beauty


This year I'm skiing on Thanksgiving. After disappointing snow last winter, The Farmer's Almanac predicts above average snowfall for New Mexico this season. But I also want to celebrate Thanksgiving, the traditional opening day of ski season. My girlfriend Tera, who lives in New York, will be here, so I decided to invite some friends, all skiers, to come to my place after a day on the slopes. Since I know so many wonderful chefs and cooks in Santa Fe, I asked some of them for recipes, which I'm rounding out with a few other dishes.

Soup makes a great beginning to a meal after a day outside in the snow. It's satisfying, hot, and goes down easily-particularly this recipe. Hearty and flavorful, it's one I begged from David Jacoby, owner of Back Street Bistro, where I often go when I have a hankering for lunchtime soup. "It has this intensity to it, a strong flavor,"€ David told me. He insists on Black Diamond Platinum Reserve aged cheddar, and it's what I'm using. But you can use another cheddar if you can't find it, just as long as it's sharp and creamy.

For this all-American holiday, I'm serving wines from the United States. First up: New Mexico's own Casa Rondeña Serenade, a white wine I first tried at the winery in Albuquerque for another localflavor story. It's got nice fruit and it goes well with the spicy green chile because of its sweetness.

David's Platinum Potato Soup

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes diced and peeled 2 medium onions, chopped 1 stick butter 1/4 cup whole roasted garlic cloves 2 quarts (8 cups) veggie or chicken stock 1 quart (4 cups) half and half 1/4 pound cheddar cheese salt and white pepper to taste

1/4 cup medium-hot Hatch green chiles, roasted. Optional.

Roast several whole garlic cloves in oven at 300° for about 45 minutes until done. (Lower heat prevents them from browning too much.) Sauté onions in butter until soft. Add peeled, roasted garlic, stock and potatoes. Add roasted chiles if using them. Boil until potatoes are soft. Add cheese until melted, then add half and half. Salt and pepper to taste. Purée in blender.

Steven Jarrett is an avid skier who also happens to be the chef and owner of one of Santa Fe's finest restaurants, Tulip's. He won't be on the slopes for Thanksgiving--it's one of his restaurant's busiest days--but he did share this wonderful recipe for a Cornbread and Artichoke Stuffing with us. Along with this stuffing I plan to serve my turkey with Pinot Noir, a versatile wine that I recommend for poultry. Louis Moskow suggested Foxen, which produces several single vineyard bottlings, all very good--and Elk Cove, which does a deep, rich Willamette Valley (if you can still find it on store shelves), and several high end single vineyard cuvees.

Corn Bread Artichoke Stuffing

5 cups chopped onion (medium dice) 10 cloves chopped garlic 2 1/2 cups chopped celery 10 oz butter 2 1/2 cups chopped apples 2 cups chopped red bell peppers (medium dice) 1 cup chopped Italian parsley 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 4 cups chopped artichoke hearts 6 eggs 2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne Corn bread cut into one inch cubes

1 cup Cognac

In large sauté pan or sauce pot sweat the onions, garlic and celery in the butter. Set pan aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl mix the apples, bell peppers, herbs, artichokes, corn bread and seasonings. Then add the butter and vegetables from the pan.

Crack eggs in a separate bowl whisk together with Cognac then pour over ingredients in large bowl. Thoroughly mix together squishing with hands and fingers to break up the corn bread a little.

Bake in a covered casserole dish or loaf pan at 375º for about 45 minutes. Remove cover for last 10 or 15 minutes to brown and crisp top.

Corn Bread for Stuffing

3 3/4 cups corn meal 2 cups all purpose flour 1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

5 eggs 1 1/4 cups buttermilk 2 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup melted butter

Mix together dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

In separate bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk and milk.

Stir egg mix into dry mix until just moistened, then stir in butter. Cook in oiled sheet pan at 375º until top is golden brown. Check in 15 to 20 minutes.

For stuffing cut into cubes and dry for 1 or 2 days.

Louis Moskow, king of comfort food at The Railyard and 315, is also a major ski hound. I asked him for a veggie side dish recipe. "How about traditional green bean casserole?"€ he offered. "You make it from scratch and it's really delicious."€ You want the sautéed onions to be hot and crisp, so even if you prep some of it ahead of time, cook the onions just before serving.

Louis' Green Bean Casserole

2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans 2 oz butter 1/8 cup shallot (minced) 1/8 cup garlic (minced) 1 quart chopped mushrooms 4 oz sherry 1 quart heavy cream 1/8 cup chopped thyme 1 onion a small amount of white flour

salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large heavy gauge pot. Add chopped garlic and shallots. Sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté until done. Add sherry and cook out the alcohol. Add cream and thyme. Simmer another five minutes. Put in blender until smooth. Season to taste.

Mix mushroom cream with green beans and bake at 375º in hot cast iron until bubbling.

While waiting for green beans to cook, finely slice onions and dust lightly with flour. Fry in enough oil on medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove green beans from oven and cover with fried onions just before serving.

A couple of years ago I tried my friend Rhoda Sherry's cranberry chutney, and asked her to email it to me. Her comment: "The first time people have it they go, "€˜Wow!' Usually people just make cranberry sauce or jelly. This recipe has zest to it and it adds a great component to the palate."€ Well-known in food and wine circles in Santa Fe, Rhoda and her husband Howard are big supporters of Santa Fe's best restaurants and count wine distributors, wine importers, and some of Europe's great winemakers among their friends. One of the best cooks I know, she perfected this recipe over time. Since you serve the dish cold, you can make it the day before.

Rhoda's Cranberry Chutney

1 cup water 3/4 cup dark brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 1 cup sliced onions 3/4 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar 2 tart apples (try Granny Smith), peeled, seeded and diced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 or 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger 1/2 teaspoon each of mace or nutmeg and curry powder grated rinds of two oranges 1 pound of fresh cranberries (washed and picked over) 1/2 cup of currants or black raisins the strained juice of the 2 oranges

tiny amount of dried, hot red-pepper flakes, optional

Simmer sugars and onions in the water for about 30-35 minutes. Then stir in vinegar, apples, salt, ginger, nutmeg, curry powder, and orange rinds. Simmer at least 30 minutes more, then stir in cranberries, currants, and orange juice. Continue cooking for at least 10 to 15 minutes or longer until the cranberries burst. Serve chilled.

Instead of serving sweet potatoes with the meal, we're planning to have them for dessert. Sweet potato pie (actually sweet potatoes in just about any form) is a real tradition in the South. James Taylor, who spent much of his childhood in North Carolina, sings: "Softer than a lullaby/ Deeper than the midnight sky/Soulful as a baby's cry/My Sweet Potato Pie."€ I got this recipe from another Southerner, Honey Howard, owner of le Moynes Landing in Santa Fe. I'm serving it with Quady Electra Orange Muscat, a recommendation by Susan Eagan, the owner of Susan's Fine Wines, also in Santa Fe.

Honey's Sweet Potato Pie

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds) 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup milk 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional

Roast sweet potatoes in oven at 375º until soft, about 1 hour. Peel when cool enough.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well, then pour into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake uncovered at 350º for about 45 minutes.

How much of all this I'll be able to do myself, and still hit the slopes, remains to be seen-but I'll have help.