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A Denver Guide to Thanksgiving: Roasted Winter Squash and Apples from The Kitchen Denver

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On Tuesday, we shared a recipe for Braised Turkey Leg by Gabe Godell, chef de cuisine at The Kitchen Denver (click here to read the post). Today, Chef Godell offers a delicious side that will make your family dinner feel like a feast. The best way to describe this recipe for Roasted Winter Squash and Apples is that it tastes just like Thanksgiving. The aroma of fried sage and roasted hazelnuts blankets a warm dish of acorn squash and apples tossed in honey and butter. Shallots play up the savory profile of the dish, while cider vinegar adds a bright note. It’s perfectly lovely at the same time that it is easy to prepare. This one-pot side calls for two six-inch cazuela baking dishes, but Chef Godell claims that any small ovenproof dish will work well.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups acorn squash, cut into large dice
  • 2 cups granny smith apples, cut into extra large dice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 10 sage leaves, fried
  • 3 medium shallots, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted

Directions:

Start by lightly pan frying sage leaves in olive oil on medium heat in a small sauté pan.  Once moisture is released, pull out and drain on paper towels.

Melt butter in a small sauté or sauce pan until just starting to bubble.  Sauté sliced shallot for 1 minute. Toss in sage and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add in honey, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.  Use this mixture to coat squash and apples and bake in a small ovenproof baking dish at 350 deg for 20 minutes.  Check doneness on squash and apples.  Put mixture in serving dish and top with toasted hazelnuts and fried sage leaves.

A Denver Guide to Thanksgiving: Braised Turkey Leg Recipe by Chef Gabe Godell of The Kitchen Denver

Today we introduce A Denver Guide to Thanksgiving, featuring recipes and advice from local experts. We start off with a two-part series from Gabe Godell, chef de cuisine of The Kitchen Denver. Check back on Thursday for a delicious seasonal side in Part Two. Chef Godell offers a new take on traditional Thanksgiving turkey. This one-pot dish is a play on coq au vin. Slowly braising the turkey in red wine and stock brings out the flavor of the dark meat. The addition of pearl onions, roasted mushrooms, and bacon creates a savory star for your holiday table. Chef Godell claims the dish is perfect for a Thanksgiving bird: “With turkey, the dark meat is super tasty if it’s braised.”

Braised Turkey Leg

  • 2 turkey thighs
  • 2 turkey drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 8 oz slab bacon
  • 8 oz oyster mushrooms
  • 8 oz shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 2 carrots, cut into large dice
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into large dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts turkey stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Heavily season turkey with black pepper and kosher salt. Coat turkey with flour and set aside. Cut bacon into lardons and brown with butter in a large braising pot or Dutch oven. Once some of the fat has rendered out, add in the mushrooms and pearl onions, season with salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the bacon, onion, and mushroom mixture, and set aside to add to the finished sauce. Add ¼ cup canola oil to pot and start browning the turkey on both sides, working in batches if needed. Once turkey is browned, remove from pot and set aside. In the same pot, brown carrots, onions, and celery for 3 minutes. Add in tomato paste and smashed garlic, continue to sauté for another minute. Deglaze pot with red wine and allow to reduce to almost dry. Add browned turkey back to pot along with the turkey stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour. Check turkey after an hour. It should be coming off the bone. Once turkey is done, allow to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. Pull turkey out of pot and strain braising liquid into a saucepan. Reduce by 1/3 or to a consistency that you like, keeping in mind that salt will concentrate as sauce reduces. Add turkey back to sauce along with pearl onion, mushroom, and bacon mixture. Bring back up to a simmer to reheat turkey. Serve in a large bowl with sauce.