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4 Thanksgiving Recipes for a Showstopping Hudson Valley Feast

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Chef Peter X. Kelly’s Brined & Roasted Turkey and Mousseline of Gingered Sweet Potatoes, photographed at Restaurant X in Congers
Photo by Andre Baranowski

Grab some butter, a baster, and an apron to make these easy, approachable Thanksgiving recipes from local chefs and restaurants.

Photo by Jennifer May

– Vadouvan Cauliflower –

Courtesy of The Amsterdam, Rhinebeck

• 2 heads cauliflower
• ½ cup butter
• ½ cup vadouvan spice
• 2 cups milk
• 2 cups cream
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 2 tablespoons capers
• 2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Steam cauliflower until just fork tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the core and cut cauliflower into large, 3- to 4-inch florets (see photo).
2. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter with vadouvan spice until aromatic. Add the cauliflower, and season with salt. Add the milk and cream, and bring to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until fully tender.
3. Strain the cauliflower, reserving the excess liquid. Purée half the cauliflower, using reserved liquid to adjust the consistency, if needed, and set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Smear puréed cauliflower across the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Top with whole cauliflower pieces; sprinkle with raisins, almonds, and capers; and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Photo by Andre Baranowski

– Brined & Roasted Turkey –

Courtesy of Peter X. Kelly, The Xaviars Restaurant Group

• 12-14 lb turkey (recommended: Murray’s or a locally raised bird)
• 1½ cups sugar
• 1½ cups kosher salt
• 6 tablespoons dark soy sauce
• ¼ cup whole black peppercorns
• 1 4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
• 6 whole star anise
• 6 bay leaves
• 4 tablespoons butter, softened

1. In pot or plastic container large enough to submerge your turkey, combine 1 gallon water with sugar, salt, soy sauce, peppercorns, ginger, star anise, and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt.
2. Remove the giblet and neck from the turkey cavity. Submerge turkey in brine, and refrigerate overnight (or up to 24 hours).
3. Preheat oven to 550˚F. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. With kitchen twine, secure the turkey’s legs. Rub the outside of the turkey with softened butter, and transfer to a roasting pan.
4. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375˚F, and continue to roast for 2 hours, basting every 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165˚F.
5. Allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

– Mousseline of Gingered Sweet Potatoes –

Courtesy of Peter X. Kelly, The Xaviars Restaurant Group

• 9 tablespoons butter, divided
• 7 cloves garlic, chopped fine
• 1 1½-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped fine
• 1¾ cups heavy cream
• 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4-inch pieces
• salt
• freshly ground white pepper

1. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add chopped garlic and ginger, and cook for three minutes (do not brown).
2. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Cook until cream is reduced by one third and thickened. Remove from heat and keep warm.
3. Place sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft.
4. Drain sweet potatoes, and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add warm cream mixture and remaining butter, and process until very smooth.
5. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, and serve immediately.

Photo courtesy of The Rare Bit

– Arugula and Apple Salad With Feta Vinaigrette and Candied Walnuts –

Courtesy of Chef Evan Kalogiannis, The Rare Bit, Dobbs Ferry

• 6 cups arugula
• 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 Gala apples, thinly sliced
• ¼ cup thinly sliced chives and/or scallions (optional)
• salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, combine the arugula, onion, apples, and chives/scallions, if using. Add candied walnuts, and toss to combine.
2. Season salad with salt and pepper. Lightly dress with feta vinaigrette to taste, making sure to get crumbles of feta into the salad.

Candied Walnuts 

• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
• 1 egg white
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 cups raw walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne, if using.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg white and vanilla. Toss walnuts with the eggs white to evenly coat. Add the brown sugar mixture, and coat evenly.
3. Spread walnuts into an even layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir walnuts, spread into an even layer, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
4. Allow walnuts to cool for at least 10 minutes before adding to the salad.

Feta Vinaigrette

• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 1 clove garlic
• 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
• ½ teaspoon orange blossom water
• 1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon peel
• ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
• ¾ cup olive oil
• ¾ cup vegetable oil
• ¾ cup crumbled feta

1. In a food processor, purée the lemon juice and garlic clove. Allow to sit for 3-4 minutes, then strain and set aside.
2. Combine the garlic-lemon juice and other vinaigrette ingredients. Vinaigrette will look broken as it sits; mix well before serving.

Related: This Sausage and Apple Stuffing Recipe Is So Classic and So Good