Thanksgiving dinner, 2011

We skipped the usual turkey and went with semi-boneless Cornish hens and semi-boneless quails. The quails were already deboned; I deboned the hens myself. I brined them for eight hours in a brine of:

  • 4 qt water
  • 1/2 C salt
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 Tsps + 2 tsps green peppercorn
  • 4 tsps juniper berries
  • 8 sprigs dried rosemary
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme

I rinsed them, patted them dry, and kept them on a wire rack (over a roasting tray to catch drips) in the fridge for two days. I roasted them brushed with melted butter. I stuffed the hens and quails with store-bought stuffing: cornbread, apple, dried cranberries, and cornbread, walnuts, jalapeno. (We test drove the stuffing the week before and liked them a lot, so we went with them, saving quite a bit of work). I used Oxo’s “Chef’s Digital Leave-In Thermometer”, programmed to roast until the breast temperature reaches 165°F (USDA recommended temperature).

The other dishes were: Sicilian-style green beans with garlic, anchovies and lemon slices; mashed sweet potato and butternut squash; home-made macaroni and cheese; “chicken rice” (rice cooked in chicken broth with a pinch of salt); corn with onions and scallions; and home-made cranberry sauce.

My wife made desserts: blueberry coffee cake, pumpkin cheesecake, and sugar-free apple pie (we had a couple of guests who are diabetic).

More pics here.