a collection of pictures + recipes from our annual Friendsgiving Feast!
featuring Wine Pairing Suggestions + Winter Gathering Menu Ideas
It’s nearly impossible to believe we have another Friendsgiving behind us, and that it’s the second one we’ve hosted in this house! Last year our guest count reached 25, which was a feat in itself for this little house. It felt like a game of tetris to make sure 25 could eat comfortably, so when I saw that our guest list was 18 this time around, even when the house was at its fullest it felt completely manageable.
Time has been truly flying since we started all of our usual holiday prep. The Christmas decorations have made their way throughout our tiny house, and we are about to start working on a feature of my families Christmas Eve Menu, something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time. As we head towards the rest of the winter merriment we have lined up, I’m reminded of how much we love to take the time to put together these menus, host our friends and family, and really dive head first into wine pairings. We added some new recipes this year, and served some of our old standbys that will undoubtedly be featured at these gatherings for years to come. We made an executive decision that due to deliciousness and popular demand, our Gluten-Free Maple Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Squash and Leeks, and Classic Green Bean Casserole are definitely menu staples, and can be found in last year’s post. I cannot recommend them enough!
Busy November schedules hindered us from hosting our Friendsgiving gathering ahead of Thanksgiving this year, which is why I’m hoping you may still find some inspiration here for the rest of your winter holidays, or will tuck these away for next year! Interested in seeing the menus of years past? Head over to the Entertaining + Holidays archive here.
wine pairing suggestions
(a dry, light, red wine from the Jura wine region)
Robert loves this wine because it is very light in body, very high acidity,
and a great balance to the heavy flavors and the luxuriousness of the food that you find on a holiday menu.
It’s light and refreshing, while remaining earthy and arid. It has the characteristics that many people
love in a heavy red wine, while being bracingly light.
(simple, Austrian wine)
Since it’s a cold climate red, Robert loves this for its “natural funk”. It has high acidity, with notes of cherry that also
help to balance out a heavy winter meal. There’s a spiciness to Zweigelt that makes it feel entirely appropriate to drink
during the colder months, even though it’s light in body.
(sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France)
Bubbles are never not festive, and never not fun. Champagne is great to have here, because it’s the best of the bubbles.
The high acidity, and profile of Champagne is very round and full bodied, which rather than playing to the opposite of the meal,
it will compliment the meal in its similarity. A traditional French Champagne will be rich in the mouth feel,
with notes of toasted bread that will nod to the stuffing, and be reminiscent of many of the heavier ingredients used in the meal.
Citrus & Fennel Dry Brined Turkey
with Sherry Rosemary Glaze
12-14 lb organic turkey
6 tbs European butter
2 sprigs rosemary
1 small bunch sage, divided
1/2 cup turkey stock, or water
Sherry Rosemary Glaze (recipe to follow)
Citrus & Fennel Dry Brine (recipe to follow)
To prepare turkey, remove from packaging, pat dry, and clean cavity. Rub turkey with dry brine and chill, uncovered on a baking sheet for 6-10 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°. Remove turkey from refrigerator and let stand for up to 1 hour as it comes to room temperature. Working carefully, separate skin from meat.
Rub butter in between meat and skin and stuff with half the sage leaves. Fill cavity with onion, lemon, rosemary and remaining sage leaves. Tuck wing tips under bird and truss legs together. Roast for 45 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350° and continue roasting for up to 2 hours additionally, basting with glaze at 30 minute intervals, until fully cooked or when an instant read thermometer reads 160° when inserted into the deepest part of the bird.
Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Carve to serve.
Citrus Dry Brine Recipe
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs citrus powder (recipe to follow)
2 tbs fennel powder (recipe to follow)
2 tbs whole black peppercorns
1 tbs crushed black pepper
To make citrus powder, clean and peel 3 lemons and 3 oranges. Set dehydrator to 140° and arrange lemon and orange peels on trays and dry for 8-12 hours.
Transfer dried peels to spice grinder and grind into a powder.
To make fennel powder, clean and slice 2 bulbs of fennel (including stalks). Set dehydrator to 140° and arrange on trays and dry for 8-12 hours.
Transfer dried fennel pieces to spice grinder and grind into a powder.
Sherry Rosemary Glaze
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp orange juice
4 tbs butter
3 sprigs rosemary
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 2x1" strips orange zest
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat too low and keep warm.
with sour cream topping + Maple Pecans
recipe adapted from Taste of Home
1 cup gluten-free graham cracker crumbs,
or GF ginger snap crumbs (I used 1/2 cup of each)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 15 oz. can solid-pack pumpkin
1 + 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
maple pecans (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 350°
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker or ginger snap cookie crumbs and sugar. Stir in the melted butter.
Press the cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth.
Change the speed to low and beat in the eggs on at a time, stirring until just combined.
Stir in the pumpkin, spices and salt.
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and place the pan on a baking sheet, and bake 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, to prepare the sour cream topping, combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread the sour cream topping over the filling once the 50 minutes is finished, and return the cake to the oven and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.
Cool the cake on rack for 10 minutes. Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen, and continue to cool for an additional hour.
Refrigerate the cake overnight.
When ready to serve, remove sides of the springform pan. Top with prepared maple pecans.
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
Prepare a sheet pan with parchment and place chopped pecans evenly across.
Drizzle maple syrup over top evenly.
Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned.
Maple Glazed Delicate Squash
with Ricotta Salata & Pomegranate
4 Delicata Squash, halved & cleaned
1 wedge ricotta salata
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tbs olive oil
4 tbs butter
4 tbs maple syrup
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Slice halved squash into small half moon segments about 1/4’’ thick. Place in a large bowl with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
While squash is roasting, melt butter in a small bowl and whisk in maple syrup until emulsified.
Remove squash from oven and brush with about 1/3 of maple butter glaze. Continue roasting an additional 5 minutes. Remove squash and brush additional 1/3 of maple glaze. Roast an additional 5 minutes and remove from heat (reserving remaining glaze for reheating).
To serve, top squash with shaved ricotta salt and pomegranate seeds.
Classic Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs Russet potatoes, washed and peeled
4 tbs butter
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 bunch sage
2 bunches thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp white pepper
salt and pepper
Cut potatoes into rough 2’’ chunks. Place potatoes in a large dutch oven and fill with cold water until covered. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Drain potatoes and set aside (do not let cool).
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter and herbs. Let sit, covered as herbs steep in milk.
Using a food mill, pass the potato chunks back into warm dutch oven.
After all potatoes have been processed, discard herbs from milk mixture.
Add the milk back into the potatoes, working in small additions, stirring to combine.
Season with white pepper, salt and black pepper.
Sourdough & Pumpernickel Stuffing
with Prosciutto and Dried Cherries
1/2 loaf pumpernickel bread
1/2 loaf sourdough bread
6 oz prosciutto, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup parsley leaves, torn
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 cups turkey stock
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 300°. Cut bread into approximate 3’' chunks and bake on baking sheet until toasted, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 350°. In a large skillet over medium high heat, warm olive oil until shimmering. Add celery, carrot and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add arugula, dried cherries and prosciutto. Continue cooking for 2 minutes additional.
In a large bowl, whisk two eggs and add 2 cups turkey stock. Pour in vegetables mixture and add bread.
Toss to combine and pour into an oiled casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and top with parsley leaves.
Cool and serve.
Roasted Shallot & Cranberry Relish
12 ounces fresh cranberries (1 package)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup orange juice
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine all ingredients in a 13x9 baking dish and roast, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have burst and softened, and juices are thick, about 30-45 minutes.
Cool to room temperature, and transfer to a bowl to serve.
Parmesan Gruyere Sweet Potato Gratin
8 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 1/2 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cups heavy cream
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 sprig thyme, leaves removed from stem
2 tbs olive oil salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°
Combine cheese in a large bowl and set aside 1/3 of mixture. Add cream, garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Add potato slices and mix thoroughly using your hands, or carefully with a spatula until all slices are well coated.
Using olive oil, grease a 7x11’’ or similarly sized circular pie dish. Working in small batches, transfer potato slices to baking dish, standing straight up and down. Working from the outside in, arrange potato slices carefully until all are incorporated. Pour remaining cream and cheese mixture over until dish is half filled. If there is extra, discard.
Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 30 minutes. Add reserved cheese and finish baking for 30 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy on top.
Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Brussel Leaf Salad with Spicy Seed Brittle
& Lemon Za’atar Dressing
3 lbs brussel sprouts, cleaned
6 multi-colored carrots, scrubbed
1 tbs za’atar
Spicy seed brittle (recipe to follow)
Lemon Za’atar Dressing (recipe to follow)
Divide brussels sprouts by roughly half. Using a mandoline slicer, food processor, or a very sharp knife, shred half (about 1.5 lbs) and set aside. With the remaining brussels sprouts, working one at a time, peel outermost leaves from the sprout and combine with shredded sprouts.
Using a mandoline slicer or vegetable peeler, carefully peel ribbons from the carrots, alternating between the different colors. Toss to combine carrot ribbons with shredded brussels sprouts and leaves.
In a large bowl, toss brussels and carrot mixture with dressing. Transfer to serving dish and top with seed brittle and sprinkle za’atar on top.
Spicy Seed Brittle
3 tbs raw pepitas (pumpkin seed)
2 tbs raw sunflower seed
1 tbs raw sesame seed
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350°. In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together 1 tbs water, honey, chili and garlic powders. Set aside.
In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, toast pepitas, sunflower seed, and sesame seeds until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. When seeds have browned, add water & honey mixture and cook until evaporated and seeds are sticking together, about 1 minute. Carefully pour mix onto parchment paper set inside a sheet pan and spread with spatula to form a single layer.
Transfer to oven and bake for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Lift parchment from sheet pan and break brittle into pieces with your hands.
Lemon Za’atar Dressing
1 lemon, zested & juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
2 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tbs za’atar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
In a small nonreactive bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, honey, za’atar, and salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
When combined slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.