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Stuffed Locally

A Texas farmers' market Thanksgiving

By Rachel Feit, Kate Thornberry, Mick Vann, Wes Marshall, Gracie Salem, and Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Nov. 23, 2012

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

There is a certain natural affinity between Thanksgiving, a festival of the harvest, and area farmers' markets, where our own local harvest is to be found. Unlike other regions, Central Texas never has a time when food isn't growing, and November is one of the most bountiful seasons for us. Along with the expected winter squash, pumpkins, apples, pecans, and potatoes, we are flush with kale, green beans, carrots, spinach, lettuces, turnips, radishes, fennel, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, sweet potatoes, beets, collard greens, persimmons, and even a few lingering eggplants. This year, the citrus harvest is in early as well, bringing us oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and Meyer lemons. And, although cranberries do not grow around here, area jam and jelly makers usually have tempting cranberry sauces just for the holidays, such as Confituras' Tipsy Cran­ber­ry Pecan Sauce, which is a bona fide flavor revelation.

In recent years, local livestock ranchers have begun raising turkeys for the holidays as well. Richardson Farms is the leader in turkey sales, offering organic, pastured turkeys in both modern and heirloom breeds. The Richardsons sell hundreds every year, and their turkeys are world-class: deeply flavorful and tender. Smith and Smith Farms is another fine turkey supplier, and Dew­berry Hills Farms offers very large holiday chickens. Usually, one must reserve a turkey or large chicken weeks in advance and pick it up on the previous Saturday. This year, it may still be possible to pick up a last minute turkey at the SFC Triangle Market on Wed­nes­day. Smith and Smith will be there from 11:45am-1:15pm, and Richard­son Farms will be there from 4pm-7pm for preordered turkey pickup, and both say they may have a few extra to sell.

To celebrate the harvest this year, we asked our food writers to prepare their favorite Thanks­giving dishes that rely on ingredients from local farmers' markets. We then got together and enjoyed an early Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, and I can vouch that these dishes are fabulous. Descrip­tions are on the following pagers; all the recipes – and lots of photos – are on the Chron­icle website. Wes Mar­shall and Ivy Le have provided wine, beer, and cocktail pairings from the ever-growing array of Texas wine, brews, and spirits.– Kate Thornberry

Appetizers

Thai Dumplings (Khanom Jeap)

A buddy and I were talking the other day about some of our favorite dishes at Toy and Em's original Thai Kitchen back in the old days when it was at William Cannon and I-35. Surprisingly, we both said the dumplings. Thai dumplings are steamed pockets of dough-wrapped, porky goodness, matched with a rich, spicy, sweet sauce. Pork tends to be underrepresented on the Thanksgiving table; odd, since it is the season for the pig slaughter, and the meal is all about the harvest. Since the dumplings get folded at the last minute, they also present a good opportunity for some hands-on action, getting a group involved in the process. It's fast and easy to prep, simple to cook, impressive to view once it's plated up, and great to eat. Consider it some twisted aberration of mine, but I try to slip some Thai or Asian cuisine into a menu whenever I can, and this dish is one that folks never turn down.  – Mick Vann

Wine: Becker Vineyards Prairie Rotie

Beer: Jester King Das Wunderkind! Sour Saison

Cocktail: Texas Bishop

(serves 8; 24 dumplings total; 3 per serving) 

 

For the dipping sauce (yield ~ ¾ cup or 3 fluid ounces):

3 tablespoons dark sweet soy  

2 tablespoons white vinegar  

1 teaspoon sugar 

½ teaspoon finely sliced fresh ginger  

1-2 Thai or serrano chiles, seeds removed, finely minced 

½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper 

 

For the filling: 

¾ pound ground pork (Full Quiver, Richardson Farms, Pioneer Farms, etc.)   

2 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, finely chopped (Texas Organic Mushrooms) 

1 scallion, minced 

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 

2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves and tender stems 

1 free-range egg white 

Salt and black pepper to taste 

24 gyoza, shao mai, or small wonton wrappers 

Dried red chile threads for garnish

Assemble all sauce ingredients in a small pan and warm over low heat until the sugar is dissolved completely. Reserve for service.  

Mix all filling ingredients together and chill thoroughly. Form a circle in the left hand between the thumb and forefinger. Lay a wrapper on top of the circle. Place a 1 tablespoon mound of the filling in the center of the circle, and using a finger dipped in water, wet the outer edge of the wrapper. Using the fingers of the other hand, loosely pleat the top of the wrapper, and gently pat down the top to smooth the filling. Once the dumplings are all filled and formed, place them on a lightly greased surface, on a thin carrot slice, on a blanched Napa cabbage leaf, or on a flame-seared banana leaf, and steam them about 8 to 10 minutes, or until firmly set. Place a small pool (about a tablespoon) of the sauce in the center of the plate, arrange three dumplings around the pool, and garnish with dried chile threads.  

Note: Any chopped, ground, or minced meat/seafood can be substituted for the pork – i.e., Dewberry Hills Farms chicken thigh meat, Richardson Farms free range heritage turkey, shrimp or fish from K&S or San Miguel Seafood, etc. – or they can be vegetarian, using mushrooms and bok choy (or other vegetables) substituted for the pork. Dense vegetables are best diced and pre-steamed before adding to the filling mix. A stackable Asian steamer is the best tool to use for steaming the dumplings, but they can also be steamed on a platter resting on ramekins inside a large covered pot. – Mick Vann

Main Course

Roasted Organic, Pastured Turkey

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Buying and eating locally raised, pastured meats is pretty much the definition of "enlightened self-interest." The meats are lower in cholesterol and contain higher amounts of essential fatty acids. They're also more flavorful, and, as an added bonus, the animals themselves live happier, healthier lives. There can be some changes in cooking technique required, however, as pastured meats tend to be leaner. Turkey is one of those meats; an outdoor-living, comparatively athletic turkey is indeed going to be leaner than a penned one. Also, many conventionally raised turkeys come to market injected with saline solution, eliminating the need for brining, a crucial step in preparing most poultry whether pastured or not. For a truly succulent bird, a few hours immersed in a brine solution is key. The flavor and texture of the pastured turkey from Richardson Farms that I roasted for this article was truly superlative: dense, moist and savory, with none of the mealy, pasty quality sometimes found in conventionally raised birds. – Kate Thornberry

Wine: Salt Lick Cellars Tempranillo

Beer: (512) Pecan Porter

Cocktail: Tequila Daiquiri

Because this is a multiple-day process, I decided to write out the recipe in a timeline, including the steps required to make the stuffing. (The recipe for Texican Cornbread Stuffing follows.)

You will need: a roasting pan, a V-shaped roasting rack, a 5-gallon plastic bucket, garden "trug" or very large stockpot, bamboo or metal skewers, kitchen twine, and paper towels. For the brine solution, you will need a cup of salt, a cup of brown sugar, ice, and water. If you like the idea, apple juice, apple cider, or apple cider vinegar can be added to the brine for additional flavor; I added 2 pints of apple cider to my brine with excellent results. You will also need a stick of butter for basting the turkey.

Market day: Obtain your turkey at the farmers' market. Depending on your farmer, it may be either fresh or frozen. The leading cause of Thanksgiving failure is simply not realizing how long it takes a 12-15 pound turkey to thaw; if you thaw it in the refrigerator (the safest way, and the only way recommended by the USDA) it takes 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. For a 15-pound turkey, that's three entire days! I would recommend buying your turkey on Saturday or Sunday (depending on your market) and starting to thaw it immediately in the refrigerator. It should be thawed in its packaging (usually a plastic bag) with a pan underneath to catch any drips.

Tuesday: Bake the cornbread for the stuffing, which will need to become slightly stale in order to make the stuffing. I used the recipe from the Homesick Texas blog. (www.homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/01/iron-pan-perfect-cornbread.html)

Wednesday: In the morning, break up half the pan of cornbread on a cookie sheet and set somewhere out of the way to dry out and become stale. (If you don't plan to use the oven that day, inside the oven is a good place.) In the afternoon, make a weak brine: In a medium saucepan, combine a cup of salt and a cup of brown sugar and enough water to fill the pan three-quarters full. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the brown sugar and salt have fully dissolved. Fill your stockpot or bucket (one that is large enough to contain your turkey) with two gallons of water, then add the hot salt water solution. Add roughly a quart of ice; this will keep the turkey cool enough so that you don't have to try to fit the entire bucket into the refrigerator while it is brining. (If you choose to add apple juice or cider, this is when you would add that as well.) Immerse the turkey in the brine solution, breast side down. If you wish, you can weight it with a heavy bowl or plate to keep it submerged. Brine for four to six hours.

Remove the turkey and discard the brine. Thoroughly rinse the inside and outside of the turkey in cold running water (if you don't, your gravy will be unbearably salty), then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up on the roasting rack, over a platter in your refrigerator to air-dry overnight. Air-drying is the secret to a nice, crisp brown skin.

Thanksgiving Day: Start roasting your turkey four to five hours before you plan to eat. Since you will also be making the stuffing, you might want to start the process roughly six hours before mealtime. The turkey must be stuffed immediately before it is put in the oven; by all means DO NOT try to stuff it the night before to save time, as this can result in severe food-borne illness.

Heat your oven to 400 and remove all but the lower shelf, which should be positioned in the lower third of the oven. Then, make the stuffing according to the following recipe (or any other recipe that you would like to use!) While it is hot, spoon stuffing into the cavity until it is packed full; then close the cavity as much as possible using the skewers. Then, use the kitchen twine to "lace" the opening shut, much as you would in lacing a boot or sneaker. Move to the neck opening and fill that much smaller cavity with stuffing and, folding the loose skin over, secure with a skewer. Melt the stick of butter; then rub or brush melted butter onto the skin of the entire turkey. Reserve remaining butter for later basting.

Place the turkey in the roasting rack breast side down. Add two cups of water to the roasting pan under the turkey to keep the drippings from burning. Roast for one hour at 400, then reduce heat to 250. (Make sure that your pilot doesn't go out if you have a gas stove, sometimes they do when you reduce the heat so drastically). Roast for one and a half more hours at 250, adding more water as needed.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, and, using hot pads and big bunches of paper towels, turn the turkey over so that it is breast side up. Baste the breast thoroughly with the remaining melted butter. Raise the heat to 400again, return to the oven, and roast for another hour and a half, until the breast is nicely browned.

Using the hot pads and paper towels again, remove the turkey to the serving platter and allow to rest while the potatoes get mashed and the gravy is made from the drippings; the meal generally comes together in anywhere from 20-30 minutes. – Kate Thornberry

Texican Cornbread Stuffing

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Seeing the sorts of things available at the farmers' market in Texas in mid-November, I was strongly reminded of the foodways of early, pre-statehood Texas, when most of the state was settled by prosperous Mexican ranchers, and Texans were called Texians and Texicans (the name Texan not yet having been settled on). The "el rancho" style of cooking predominant back then made full use of onions, jalapenos, pecans, and raisins to dress up festive dishes. Onions, pecans, and jalapenos all are basics of classic Texas stuffings and are all plentiful at this time of year. Once I had secured stone-ground organic cornmeal from Richardson Farms, all that remained to be decided was the savory component: sausage or tamales? Either would work beautifully with this stuffing, but I decided in favor of the tamales, having been intrigued by Claudia Alarcón's Tamale Stuffing recipe years ago. – Kate Thornberry

Wine: Becker Vineyards Prairie Rotie

Beer: (512) Pecan Porter

Cocktail: Spiked Apple Pie

4 pork tamales (I bought mine from the Gardener's Feast, Barton Creek Market)

Half a skillet of cornbread, broken and somewhat stale

4 jalapeños, or more, if you like it spicy (I bought mine from Simmons Family Farms)

2 onions (bought from Winfield Farm)

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

1 cup pecans (bought from Pecan Shop, Downtown SFC Market)

1/3 cup raisins

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. Place pecans in a small iron skillet or on a cookie sheet and place on upper rack. In a large dutch oven, melt the stick of butter over medium heat. Peel and dice the onions, and start them sautéing in the butter. Check on pecans to see if they are finished toasting; they are done when they are fragrant and darker, possibly sizzling a little, but nowhere near burned. An aromatic, toasted pecan aroma is your best indicator.

Add salt and pepper to the onions and stir. Remove the stems and the seeds from the jalapeños and slice. Add to the onions. (If the pecans weren't done before, check on them again). Remove the corn husks from the tamales and slice. Add tamale slices to the onion mixture and stir. By now, the pecans really ought to be done! Add the toasted pecans and raisins and stir well. Finally, add the crumbled cornbread and fold it all together, making the attempt to evenly distribute the pecans and jalapeños without causing the cornbread to completely disintegrate. Allow the stuffing mixture to grow fairly hot, then turn off the heat and pack the turkey as directed. – Kate Thornberry

Side Dishes

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Glazed Baby Turnips 

Consider the lowly turnip: reviled by many, but when they're properly cooked, folks love them. Mix them with spuds, boil them up, and they make a killer mash. Like the much sweeter beet, turnips come with a second dish attached at the top: the greens. There are many who love the robust greens but hate the root. These haters have probably never feasted on a tender, sweet, young baby turnip, with its shock of tender, tasty greens. This is the perfect time of year to catch them at their juvenile peak. Cook them until just tender, glaze them with a buttery-sugar syrup, and you'll love every morsel of this vegetable veal.  – Mick Vann

Wine: Duchman Vermentino

Beer: Rogness Yogi (Spiced Amber)

Cocktail: Spiked Apple Pie

3 bunches baby turnips (~ 2 pounds total), trimmed and scrubbed, greens reserved (Boggy Creek Farms, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Tecolote Farms, etc.) 

Water to cook turnips  

¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)  

3 tablespoons sugar  

Sea salt to taste  

Dusting of powdered white pepper 

Trim the greens of any tough stems and reserve. Place turnips in a large skillet; add water or chicken stock to cover turnips halfway. Add butter, sugar, a large pinch of salt, and a light dusting of white pepper; bring to a boil. Cook on a low boil, stirring periodically, until liquid is syrupy and turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. If turnips get tender before all of the liquid has reduced, remove and reserve the turnips, and reduce liquid until syrupy. To the syrup, add the greens and cook over medium heat until wilted, about 3 minutes. Just before service, return turnips to pan and stir to coat well.  – Mick Vann

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Festive Kale

Festive Kale is a dish created by my wife, Emily. She's an inventive cook who loves healthy foods, especially if she can manage a way to slide in some seriously rich flavors. The olive oil and pancetta provide richness, the garlic and red pepper give it some kick, and the pomegranate offers added crunch and sweet acidity. We usually serve this dish as a bed for a piece of thick broiled salmon, but it also works perfectly as a side. For the first half of my life, I had no interest in kale. Now, I look forward to it at least weekly while in season. – Wes Marshall

Wine: Duchman Vermentino

Beer: St. Arnold's Christmas Ale

Cocktail: Texas Bishop

½ pound pancetta – chopped into small cubes (1/2 pound thick-cut bacon can be substituted)

1 tablespoon dried thyme (2 tablespoons fresh)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cans Goya brand cannellini beans – drained and air dried

½ whole shallot – finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced (less if you prefer)

1 each, orange, red and yellow bell pepper (cut into matchstick-sized pieces)

2 heads fresh kale (stems removed and leaves cut into edible sizes)

5 – 6 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ripe pomegranate – seeded, set aside (if serving kale as a salad)

1 large stainless steel, high-sided pan

Cook chopped pancetta until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Pour off fat and reserve. Wipe out pan.

Add to pot 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and chopped shallots. Cook herbs until fragrant (approximately 3 minutes). Add the minced garlic and cannellini beans, and sauté until beans are all coated with herb mixture (approximately 2 minutes). Add the remaining olive oil – or, if you wish, you can add 1 tablespoon of the reserved pancetta or bacon fat to bean mixture. Remove bean mixture from pot and set aside.

Cook matchstick peppers in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft. Remove from pan and set aside.

Rinse cut kale and drain.

Add vegetable broth to pot and heat to deglaze bottom of pot. Add kale (a half-batch at a time) and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add rest of kale and 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Mix and heat until kale until wilted.

Add the bean mixture, bell peppers and pancetta (or bacon bits) to the kale. Toss to mix well.

At this point you can keep warm and serve as a side vegetable (it's also wonderful as a bed to poached or broiled salmon). Or you can remove from pot immediately, cool, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, and serve as a salad. – Wes Marshall

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Swiss Green Beans

Growing up, there was one dish, and one dish only, that I cared anything about on Thanksgiving day, and it was this one. I was eventually put in charge of preparing it at the ripe age of eight. It's that easy to make, especially in its original incarnation. By now, I've tweaked this longtime family recipe. No canned Del Monte beans this year; look for fresh, lovely Chinese long beans from Tecolote Farms, or three bags of mixed colored beans from Johnson's Backyard Garden. The deep, nutty Swiss cheese came from Mill-King, a dairy outside Waco that sells in the Austin markets. Instead of dried onion flakes like the ones my mother always kept in her cabinet, grab a couple of local yellow onions from any one of our many farmers' markets, and follow the recipe. These are easy to make, quick to bake, and a sure-fire side dish for the big day.  – Gracie Salem

Wine: McPherson Cellars Roussanne

Beer: Karbach Bodacious Double IPA

Cocktail: Tequila Daiquiri

3 pounds fresh green beans (Tecolote Farm, Johnson's Backyard Garden)

1.5 pounds Swiss cheese, grated (Mill-King Dairy)

32 ounces sour cream

2 large onions (Johnson's Backyard Garden)

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt

pepper

paprika

Quick-steam the green beans in batches, three minutes, just until tender. Set aside. 

Chop onions and caramelize slowly in the olive oil over low heat, adding a little water as you go, until they are deep brown and sweet. Set aside. Season the sour cream with salt, pepper and paprika. In a deep casserole dish build layers of sour cream, beans, and cheese, three times, ending with the last of the cheese on top. Finish with a good amount of paprika. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until bubbly. – Gracie Salem

Low Country Sweet Potatoes

Funnily enough, the inspiration for this dish comes from an old episode of Throwdown! With Bobby Flay, in which the Iron Chef went head-to-head with the Lee Brothers in a Country Captain challenge. An extremely delicious chicken curry, Country Captain is an Anglo-Indian fusion dish marrying the flavors of India with a deeply comforting Southern chicken stew. So, in developing a locally focused, more sophisticated variation on the traditional marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, I turned to my spice cabinet and assembled a savory garam masala blend that would add depth to a typically one-note dish. The pecan-studded topping turns this side dish into something approximating a crustless sweet potato pie, but we wouldn't want the pies to feel threatened, so let's keep this one on the dinner table. This recipe can easily be adapted to accommodate vegan or gluten-free diets. – Melanie Haupt

Wine: Texas Saké Company Rising Star Nigori Junmai Sake

Beer: Circle Brewery Envy Amber

Cocktail: Moonshine and Bat Creek Apple Cider Cocktail

Sweet potato mixture:

2 pounds peeled and roasted sweet potatoes (Johnson's Backyard Garden)

2 backyard eggs

1 cup of 2% milk

¼ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Garam masala blend:

            1 teaspoon cinnamon

            ¾ teaspoon cardamom

            ½ teaspoon ground ginger

            scant 1/8 teaspoon cloves

 

Topping:

1 cup chopped pecans (Pecan Grove Plantation, Bastrop)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the roasted sweet potatoes in a bowl with the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, and blend with a potato masher or immersion blender. Once the mixture is smooth, sprinkle the garam masala over the mixture and stir it in carefully. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, assemble the pecans, brown sugar, butter, and flour. Using your (clean) fingers or a pastry cutter, blend the ingredients together until the mixture forms moist clumps. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. – Melanie Haupt

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Dos Lunas Seco Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

I frequently make these for my family for Sunday breakfast, and they disappear before they even have a chance to cool. The cheese and chives are not essential, but do add extra flavor to the biscuits, especially when paired with other savory foods. The key to really flaky biscuits is to keep all the ingredients very cold, and to work the dough as little as possible. I freeze the butter before mixing it with flour, and then freeze the uncooked biscuits themselves for ten minutes before popping them in the oven. These taste best right out of the oven, so don't try to cook them in advance and reheat. Instead, the biscuit dough can be made and cut in advance, frozen or chilled, and then cooked just before serving.  – Rachel Feit

Cocktail: Moonshine and Bat Creek Apple Cider Cocktail

Makes about 8 biscuits

½ cup of shredded Dos Lunas Seco cheddar cheese

¾ cup of Mexican crema agria (sour cream will do, if you cannot find crema agria, but it is not as good)

4 ounce stick of very cold unsalted butter, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller

1¾ cup of flour

1 tablespoon of sugar

2½ teaspoons of baking powder

¼ teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of kosher salt (use less if you are using iodized salt)

2 tablespoons chopped chives

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place all ingredients except the chives in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds to one minute or until the dough begins to form large sticky granules. Add the chives and pulse for another few seconds until the chives get mixed in. The dough should still be loose and not wet, but should be sticky enough to hold together when you try to form it into a ball. If it is not sticky enough, then drizzle in a small amount of chilled water to get it to the right consistency. Remove the dough from the processor and form it into one large ball. Working quickly on a floured surface, roll the dough out into a half-inch disk. Then fold the dough like a letter, first from one side, then the other. Roll it out again to half-inch and fold it over, letter-style, again. Repeat this process at least two more times. Roll out the dough only enough to flatten and fold. This is what gives the biscuits layers – but if you spend too much time rolling the dough, it will make the biscuits heavy and glutinous. After the final fold, roll the biscuit dough to a thickness of one-half to three-quarter inches. Using a round cookie cutter or just a knife cut out the biscuits to the desired size and shape. If you are using a cookie cutter, gather up the extra dough and re-roll to use it all.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for a few minutes (or up to several hours if you are preparing them ahead of time). Meanwhile, turn the oven down to 450 degrees. Once the biscuits have been well chilled in the freezer, put them in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until they turn light golden brown on the outside. Serve hot, with lots of butter. – Rachel Feit

Dessert

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Deep-Dish Creamy Apple Pie with Granola Pecan Topping

This isn't the first time I've written about this particular pie in this paper, and it may not be the last. It's a trusted old friend that everyone always loves. With our focus on farmers' market ingredients this year, I decided to adapt the recipe that my friend Susana Trilling shared with me way back in the Seventies. I made some substitutions based on what is available in Texas this fall, and guests moaned with pleasure the way they have for more than 30 years. If you'd like to compare this recipe with the first version we published, it appears with this story online. – Virginia B. Wood

Beer: Independence Bootlegger Brown Ale

Cocktail: Spiked Apple Pie

1 deep-dish 9-inch pie shell

Filling:

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

1¼ cup Mill-King Greek yogurt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

6-7 medium apples - Gala apples from Top of Texas

Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup Dad's Premium Granola - Austin Manna is my favorite

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

3-6 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Roll out pie dough, place and form in a deep 9-inch pan, and chill. Alternatively, thaw a deep-dish 9-inch frozen pie shell and have it ready to fill on the cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour, and then add the yogurt, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the egg and vanilla until the egg is well incorporated into the mixture. Peel, core, and slice apples a few at a time, placing slices directly into the custard. (Acid in the yogurt keeps them from turning brown.) Pour the apple slices and custard into the prepared pie shell, mounding them up high in the center, and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes more. While the pie is baking, make the topping.

Assemble all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together well. Pour half the melted butter over the dry mixture and work it in with your hands. The goal is to have a crumbly topping that adheres to the nuts but is not so greasy that it bakes together in a layer. If the topping doesn't come together in clumps, add more butter and work in again. If it feels too greasy, sprinkle in a little more flour. Set aside until the 40 minutes are up.

Remove pie from oven and carefully pour the topping over the apple-custard mixture, making sure not to burn your fingers or leave any apples uncovered in the process. (I use the same clear, plastic 2-cup measuring cup I've used for years for this job.) Return the pie to the oven and bake 10-12 minutes more at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack at least an hour before cutting. This pie is great warm, but the slices will be messy. It's also good at room temperature or cold. If you serve it cold, the slices will look more uniform, but they won't taste any better. Yield: 8-10 slices. – Virginia B. Wood

Cocktail Recipes

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Texas Bishop

3 ounces Railean White Rum

1 ounce red wine

1 teaspoon simple syrup

Juice of half a lime

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled red wine glass.

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Spiked Apple Pie (courtesy of Spike Vodka)

1 ounce Spike Vodka (a fascinating vodka made from cactus!)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 ounces Bat Creek apple cider

Stir cider, Spike Vodka, and sugar until sugar dissolves. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Serve in sugar-rimmed martini glass with apple slice on side of glass and garnish with a stick of cinnamon.

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Moonshine and Apple Cider Cocktail

2 ounces Fitch's Goat Moonshine Corn Whiskey

4 ounces Bat Creek Apple Cider, refrigerated

4 ounces ginger ale, refrigerated, preferably a strongly flavored version

Pour cider and bourbon into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Add ginger ale to bourbon and cider, stir gently and serve in highball glass over crushed ice.

Stuffed Locally
Photo by John Anderson

Tequila Daiquiri

4 ounces Dulce Vida Organic Reposado Tequila

2 ounces lime juice

1 ounce simple syrup

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass.– Wes Marshall

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