Storm the Cassoulet

Curtis Stone’s Cajun-Roasted Turkey



2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

4 teaspoons cayenne pepper


6 quarts cold water

One 12-ounce bottle amber ale beer, room temperature

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

3 rosemary sprigs, divided

One 14- to 16-pound whole turkey

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

2 green bell peppers, seeded, coarsely chopped

2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided

4 cups homemade turkey stock or reduced-sodium chicken stock

3 thyme sprigs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour


To make the Cajun spice mixture:

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients to blend.

To brine the turkey:

In a large pot, bring 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Add the beer, salt, sugar, and 1/3 cup of the spice mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 rosemary sprigs and remove from the heat.

Pour the hot brine into a container large enough to hold the turkey and add the remaining 5 quarts of cold water to cool the brine. Place the turkey into the brine, making sure it is entirely submerged. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 12 hours or overnight.

To roast the turkey:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine, reserving the rosemary sprigs, and then pat the turkey skin dry with a clean towel. Stuff the main turkey cavity with half of the chopped celery, bell pepper, onion, and reserved brined rosemary sprigs, and tie the turkey legs together with butcher’s twine.

In a small heavy saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture.

Place the remaining celery, bell pepper, and onion in a large roasting pan with a rack. Set the roasting rack in the pan and place the turkey on the rack. Brush some of the spiced butter all over the turkey.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast the turkey for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Baste the turkey and continue roasting uncovered for about 1 hour and 20 minutes longer, or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F when inserted into the part of the thigh nearest to the thigh and hip joint.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board (do not clean out the roasting pan), and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, to make the gravy:

Set the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the chicken stock, thyme sprigs, and remaining rosemary sprig to the pan drippings in the roasting pan, and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often to scrape up the brown bits. Strain the pan juices, and discard all the solids. Spoon off the fat that has settled to the top of the pan juices.

In a medium heavy saucepan, melt the remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter over medium heat. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture (reserve any extra spice mixture for another use) and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant and toasted. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the pan juices and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the gravy thickens slightly. Season the gravy to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve:

Carve the turkey and serve it with the gravy.

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White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream


Recipe from Southern Living



1 (12-oz.) jar cherry preserves

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 1/2 cups fresh cranberries*


1 cup butter, softened

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 (32-oz.) package powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (optional)


Basic White Cake Layers


Prepare Filling: Bring first 3 ingredients and 3 cups cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop. Transfer 1 cup cranberry mixture to a small bowl, and stir in remaining 1/2 cup whole cranberries. (This will be the Cranberry Topping.) Transfer remaining hot Cranberry Filling mixture to another small bowl. Cool both mixtures completely (1 hour). Cover; chill 8 hours.

Prepare Buttercream: Beat butter and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with orange juice. Beat at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Stir in vanilla. If desired, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Place 1 Basic White Cake layer on a serving platter. Spoon 1 1/2 cups buttercream into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a ring of frosting around cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread cake layer with half of chilled Cranberry Filling (without whole berries), spreading to edge of piped frosting. Top with second cake layer. Repeat procedure with frosting and remaining Cranberry Filling (without whole berries). Top with third layer. Spread remaining buttercream over top and sides of cake. Pipe a ring of frosting around top cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread Cranberry Topping (with whole berries) over top cake layer, spreading to edge of piped frosting.

*Frozen cranberries, thawed, may be substituted.


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French Onion Soup



3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided evenly into 3 pieces

6 large yellow onions, halfed and cut root to stem into 1/4″ thick slices

2 cloves garlic, chopped


2 cups water, plus extra

1/2 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup dry red wine

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups beef broth

6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with twine

1 bay leaf

black pepper

baguette slices cut 1/2″ thick (1 per bowl).

8oz shredded Gruyere cheese


Preheat the oven to 400F

Generously grease the inside of a large Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the butter into the Dutch oven, then add the onions with 1 teaspoon salt.

Cook covered for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and stir onions, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot.

Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown (about 1 1/2 hours). Make sure to stir the onions and scrape the sides of the pot after 1 hour.

Remove the pot from the oven and place over medium-high heat.

Cook the onions, stirring frequently and scraping the sides of the pot until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown (use oven mitts to handle the pot), or for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the bottom of the pot is coated with a dark crust (another 6 or 7 minutes).

Once the onions are a very dark brown, add the garlic and continue to stir for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Stir in the sherry and red wine, and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid evaporates (another 7 to 10 minutes).

Stir in the broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you do to loosen everything up.

Increase the heat to high until simmering, then reduce the head to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes in the oven.

Remove and discard the herbs from the soup, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, adjust oven to boiling.

Ladle soup into the bowls, then top with 1 or 2 baguette slices. Sprinkle with Gruyere cheese, then broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges (3 to 5 minutes).

Let cool 5 mintues before serving.

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Corn Bake



1 small onion, diced

½ small green pepper, diced

½ cup butter

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 can cream style corn

1 can whole kernel corn (don’t drain)

1 8-oz box corn muffin mix

1 cup sour cream

3 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté onion and green pepper in butter.

Mix both cans of corn, muffin mix, and eggs.

Add the sautéed mixture and pour into a 2-qt casserole dish.

Mix sour cream and grated cheese.

Spoon on top of the corn.

Bake for 45 min.

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Roasting Turkey in a Convection Oven

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Follow the cooking times below for a roasted turkey in a convection oven.

6 to 10 lbs.: 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours.
10 to 14 lbs.: 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours.
14 to 18 lbs.: 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours.
18 to 22 lbs.: 2 1/2 to three hours.
22 to 24 lbs.: 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

Proper preparation prior to cooking is important. Roast your turkey in the center of the oven, so that the air can properly circulate around the bird. If you’re using two oven racks at the time, put the bird on the lower rack, and if more than one pan is used, place them at opposite sides of the oven so that the pans do not overlap. Your bird will need plenty of room for the air, so make sure that there is at least 1 ½ to 2 inches of free space surrounding the pan. Place the turkey breast on a turkey lifter in the roasting pan. Cover the wings and drumsticks with foil, as they brown more quickly than the rest of the bird

Using a convection over requires lower temperatures than conventional ovens; set the oven temperature for 300 degrees F. You don’t have to baste the turkey during cooking, but if you’re using a marinade or sauce, wait until the end of cooking to baste.
Cooking time varies by weight, but an unstuffed bird of 14 to 18 lb. should cook for about 2 ¼ to 2 ½ hours. If the unstuffed turkey is 18 to 22 lb., extend the cooking time to 2 ½ to 3 hours. Stuffed birds take a little longer; allow for a cooking time of 2 ½ to 3 hours for a 14 to 18 lb. bird, or 3 to 3 ½ hours for a stuffed, 18 to 22 lb. bird. If you need to open the oven door often during cooking, the time required will be increased due to heat loss.

There are a few other variables to keep in mind that may affect cooking times. If your turkey is partially frozen, cooking time will be extended and the turkey may over-brown. To slow browning, cover the turkey with a foil tent; this will extend cooking time as well. Shinier metal pans cook turkey slower than darker roasting pans, and the larger and deeper the roasting pan, the greater the cooking time, due to reduced heat circulation around the turkey. Finally, if you use a lid on your roasting pan, the cooking time will be reduced.

Your turkey is finished when the temperature at the center of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F, and the thigh temperature is 180 degrees F. Juices from your bird should be clear, and are easily checked by deeply piercing the thigh muscle. If the juices are reddish pink, the bird will need a bit more time in your oven. Place your turkey onto a platter, remove the lifter and let the bird stand for about 15 minutes for the juices to set.

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Cranberry Christmas Cake



3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
12 oz fresh cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting into small slices. I cut mine into fairly small pieces, about 1″x2″, so that they could be easily eaten at a party. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin and Cranberry Risotto



2 14 1/2-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup Libby’s® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/2 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
Additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired


Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; keep warm.

Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add wine; simmer until all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in pumpkin.

Add 3/4 cup chicken broth to rice. Reduce heat; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more broth. Rice should be tender but still firm to the bite and mixture should be creamy. This should take about 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in dried cranberries and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

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Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars



1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon (or dark rum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups pecans, toasted, chopped coarse
4-6 oz. coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (or you could use semisweet)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 square baking pan with foil making sure there is some overhang (so you can lift out the bars to cut them). Spray the foil with cooking spray.

Put the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and pecans in a blender or food processor. Process the mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal, then add the butter and pulse until combined. Pat the mixture into the pan and bake the crust for 20 minutes, until golden.

While the crust is baking, mix up the filling. Whisk together everything but the eggs, pecans and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until combined.

When the crust is done, pour the filling over the hot crust. Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate evenly over the top. Gently push the topping down into the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack or trivet for 1 hour. Lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars.

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Pumpkin Crunch


1 15oz. can pumpkin

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1 1/2 C. sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 t. cinnamon

Combine above ingredients and pour into greased 9×13 pan.

1 Yellow Cake Mix

1 C. melted butter

2 cups of Crushed pecans (optional)

Sprinkle cake mix on top of pumpkin mixture and pour melted butter over top.   Sprinkle the crushed pecans on top.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.


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Ritzy Brussels Sprouts



1 (16 ounce) bag frozen Brussels sprouts (could use fresh, too), cooked according to package directions

1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of celery soup

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon minced onion

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup (or more) of Ritz cracker crumbs

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice

3 or 4 tablespoons slivered almonds


Cook Brussels sprouts according to package directions, drain. Spray 1 quart casserole dish and add Brussels sprouts. In a bowl combine soup, milk, minced onion, garlic powder and pepper. Pour over the Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle Ritz crumbs, cheese and almonds on top. Bake uncovered in preheated 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Makes about six servings. Enjoy!

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