Thanksgiving Steeped in Tradition
Thanksgiving Dinner is a big part of New Brunswick and Fredericton culture steeped in tradition. Whether a large gathering or a smaller intimate setting, family and friends still get together every October to celebrate the harvest and everything good in their lives.
While turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and veg are the standard fare…we thought we would offer some cool ideas right from our awesome province to make your thanksgiving dinner stand out this year. Don’t be afraid to switch it up a little…your older brother Gerry will still be asleep in the recliner in no time anyway.
First off, you need good libations to offer your guests, as they patiently wait for your award-winning succulent turkey. Even your grumpy old Aunt Hazel will crack a smile with these tasty bevvies. Here are some local offerings to keep with our local NB theme.
Picaroon’s is the heavy-weight contender when it comes to local Fredericton brew. You can’t go wrong with their Harvest Ale, but I would also suggest their Dark and Stormy Night, if you wanted something a little more heavy. The new kid on the brewery block is Gray Stone Brewing. Their Patagonia Pale Ale has already been turning heads and would be an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving table.
If you wanted something a little different, you could try Grimross’ Destrier Farmhouse Stout which is filled with a wild mixture of exciting flavours. If you want something in the Cider category, Red Rover Cider has 3 flavours that are sure to please any palette.
I am not going to get into how to cook your turkey, but here is an awesome traditional stuffing recipe that will be a hit with your guests:
Grandma Smith’s New Brunswick-Style Turkey Stuffing
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried summer savory
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 6 slices bread, cut into cubes
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two, then mash.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook the celery and onion in the butter until the onion has turned translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Fold into the mashed potatoes along with the savory, and allow to cool until just warm.
- Place the cooled mashed potatoes into a large bowl, and stir in the beaten egg. Gently fold in cubed bread, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Use as a stuffing for turkey, or bake in buttered loaf pans at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes.
Rolls are an important part of any large dinner. Here is a cool recipe that is delicious and easy to prepare:
Makes 3 dozen rolls
- 2 pkg. (1/4 oz each or 7 g) dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups (375 ml) warm water
- Dissolve yeast in warm water.
- 1 cup (250 ml) warm mashed potatoes
- 1/3 cup (85 ml) sugar
- 2/3 cup (170 ml) shortening
- ½ tsp. (3 ml) salt
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 7 – 7 ½ cups (1.75 – 1.875 L) all-purpose flour
- Mix until firm dough forms.
- Turn onto floured surface.
- Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 to 7 minutes). Place to rise, punch down once, then put in pans.
- Let rise until double in bulk.
- Bake at 350◦F (175◦C) for 13 to 16 minutes. Makes 3 dozen rolls.
One cool thing about Thanksgiving is when the traditional preserves come out on the table. Here are two classic New Brunswick preserves that are always popular:
- 15 pounds (6.75 kg) green tomatoes
- 5 pounds (2.5 kg) onions
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) salt
- 4 cups (1 litre) vinegar
- 1/2 tsp (2ml) cloves
- 1/2 tsp (2 ml) mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp (2ml) allspice
- 2 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon
- 1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard
- 3 cups (750 ml) sugar
- Cayenne pepper (if desired)
- Cut the tomatoes into small dice, and mince the onions. Mix together and sprinkle with salt. Cover and let stand eight hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
- Drain the vegetable mixture. Discard the resultant brine.
- To 1 cup of vinegar, add the spices, mustard and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add to the remaining vinegar and pour over vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally. The chow is now ready for eating or even better, for bottling and canning.
Original Recipe: http://eastcoastliving.ca/recipes/chow-chow-2/
Pickled or Roasted Beets
- Roasted Beets (recipe follows)
- 1 large red onion, frenched
- 1 cup tarragon wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 6 medium beets, cleaned with 1-inch stem remaining
- 2 large shallots, peeled
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tsp olive oil
1. Remove the skin from the Roasted Beets and slice thinly. Arrange in 1-quart jars alternating layers with the onion. In a small pot boil the rest of the ingredients and pour over the beets. Tightly lid the jars and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 7 days before serving.
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. In a large bowl toss all of the ingredients. Place into a foil pouch and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
Thanksgiving would not be complete without dessert. Here are some traditional dessert recipes that will make your mouth water.
Beignets with Brandy Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour (310 ml)
- ¼ cup all purpose flour, for kneading and rolling (60 ml)
- 1 tsp baking powder (5 ml)
- ¼ tsp baking soda (1 ml)
- ½ tsp salt (2 ml)
- 1 ½ Tbsp sugar (22 ml)
- 1 Tbsp instant rapid rise yeast (15 ml)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk (125 ml)
- ½ tsp vanilla (2 ml)
- 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying (250 ml)
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Cinnamon, for dusting
Brandy Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup sugar (175 ml)
- ⅔ cup whipping (35%) cream (150 ml)
- 2 Tbsp brandy (30 ml)
Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
- 4 oz dark chocolate, good quality, chopped (113.5 g)
- ⅔ cup whipping (35 %) cream (150 ml)
- 1 Tbsp bourbon (15 ml)
- 1 tsp fresh minced ginger (5 ml)
- pinch of mace
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder (5 ml)
1. In a medium bowl, combine the 1¼ cup all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and yeast.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and vanilla.
3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be sticky. Put the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth and slightly sticky the touch, adding more flour if necessary. Transfer the dough to a clean medium bowl dusted with a little flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
4. Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, pat down dough and form into an oval shape, about ¼-inch thick. Cut into 1 ½-inch squares.
5. Preheat oil for frying in heavy skillet – oil should be ¾-inch deep for frying. When oil registers 365 degrees F, fry pieces of dough in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) for 1 minute on each side or until evenly golden brown. Transfer beignets to a tray lined with paper towel to drain. Dust with cinnamon and/or icing sugar. Serve with sauces. Makes 30 beignets.
Brandy Caramel Sauce
1. Heat sugar on high in a tall medium-sized pot. When sugar melts and begins to turn a dark amber colour, remove from heat and add cream. Mixture will bubble up rapidly. Let stand for 5 minutes without stirring. Add the brandy and stir until smooth. Let cool before serving. Serve with the beignets.
Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
1. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Heat whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat until the cream just starts to boil. Stir cream into chocolate. Add bourbon, ginger, mace and cayenne to chocolate and stir. Pour chocolate mixture into fondue pot and keep warm. Serve with the beignets.
Maple Syrup Pie