Up the Octane This Thanksgiving With Kentucky Bourbon
Imagine it now: A large, sprawling farmhouse with an epic kitchen complete with a six-burner stove, unencumbered views of rolling Kentucky hills, and plenty of space for everyone to stay the night should they feel like having a few extra old-fashioneds. We’re thinking something like this 6 bed, 7 bath behemoth nestled in the hill country. Is there really any better place to spend Thanksgiving? We didn’t think so, which only leaves room for improvement in the food itself. Try one or all of these bourbon-based twists on classic Thanksgiving dishes.
How do you want to give ‘em the bird? This recipe for apple-bourbon turkey, originally from Southern Living Magazine, calls for a whole cup of octane booster. The brand is up to you, but since we’re cooking up the bird, we’d have to go with Wild Turkey 101.
4 cups of apple juice
1 cup of bourbon
½ cup of light brown sugar
1 (12 to 15-lb) whole turkey
4 celery ribs
4 large carrots
3 small apples (quartered or halved)
1 large onion (sliced Cheesecloth
First, stir together the apple juice, bourbon, and brown sugar until fully incorporated, meaning the sugar has dissolved.
Next, remove the neck and giblets. You can set these aside, either to make a tasty treat for your pets or whatever else your heart desires. Rinse the bird with cold water before draining the cavity well and patting everything dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Dip the cheesecloth in the bourbon/apple juice/brown sugar mixture, then drape it over the turkey. Pour the remaining marinade mixture over the cheesecloth, coating completely. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, occasionally basting with marinade.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the turkey from its pan. Discard the cheesecloth but save the marinade mixture. Salt and pepper the turkey cavity and outside skin. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine and tuck the wing tips under to allow for even cooking.
Arrange the carrots, celery, apple chunks, and onion slices in a layer at the bottom of a roasting pan. Arrange the turkey breast side up atop the mixture. Pour 3 cups of the marinade over the bird in the pan.
Lastly, bake at 325 degrees for 3 hours and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Baste every 30 minutes with roasting pan juices and shield with aluminum foil after 2.5 hours. Remove your magnificent bird from the oven and patiently allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Then carve and serve.
Candied Bourbon Sweet Potatoes
Don’t feel like messing with your tried-and-true turkey method? No problem. Sneak a little of your favorite hooch into the sweet potatoes with this candied bourbon sweet potato recipe originally from Food & Wine Magazine.
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 pounds of sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1.5-inch pieces)
¾ cup of dark brown sugar
¼ cup of fresh apple cider
3 tablespoons of bourbon (though we might add one or two more...)
First, set your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Boil salted water in a large saucepan, then add the sweet potatoes and blanch for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and spread the sweet spuds in an even layer in a baking dish.
Next, melt 5 tablespoons of butter along with the ¾ cup of brown sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk in the cider and bourbon. Season with salt, then bring the mixture to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Pour over the sweet potatoes and gently mix to coat all pieces.
Lastly, place your baking dish in the oven and bake until the sweet potatoes are tender and perfectly glazed, which should be about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.
Pecan Pie Bourbon Shake
While it’s always perfectly acceptable to have a few fingers of Blanton’s neat or with an ice cube, we say save that bottle for another time when you don’t have to share. Better yet, if you want to be close to the distillery in Frankfort, it’s actually quite affordable. This 4 bed, 2 bath house, priced at $184,000, is less than a mile from the Buffalo Trace Distillery where Blanton’s is made. Until then, though, grab a bottle of Evan Williams and go to town with this Delish Pecan Pie Bourbon Shake.
3 scoops of high-quality vanilla ice cream
½ cup of milk
2 oz. of bourbon
½ cup of chopped pecan pie Crumbled pecan pie for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until your desired consistency is reached. For a thinner consistency, add more milk; for a thicker consistency, add more ice cream. Pour your delish dessert into a tall glass, then top the mixture with crumbled pecan pie. Of course, some whipped cream might not be a bad addition if you’re looking to score extra brownie points.
Whether you try one, all, or none of these recipes, having a good bottle of bourbon on hand is a must — if not for drinking, then certainly for cooking. Not sure which bottles to grab, looking for a closing gift, or do you have a client who loves bourbon? We’ve got you covered!
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