News & Politics

Thanksgiving Menus: Eric Ziebold’s Traditional Menu

CityZen chef Eric Ziebold suggests roasting one or two capons (castrated roosters) instead of a turkey—they have better flavor, stay moist, and take less time to cook. His dessert uses musquee de provence, a winter squash available at Wegmans in season.

This article is from 2006's Thanksgiving Dining Guide. To see 2007's guide, click here.
Périgord Truffle-Stuffed Capon With Pan Gravy
Serves eight

48 black Périgord truffle slices (about 2 medium truffles)
1 capon, about 12 pounds
2 ounces vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic
8 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons flour
1 liter chicken stock
Salt to taste

Set the oven to 350 degrees.

Slide the truffles underneath the skin of the capon to completely cover the breasts. Truss the capon and season generously with salt.

Pour the vegetable oil into a hot roasting pan, set over high heat. Carefully place the capon in the roasting pan (take care not to splash the hot oil) and sear the bottom of the bird for about 45 seconds. Shake the pan to make sure that the capon is not sticking, add the garlic and thyme, and place it in the oven for about two hours. Turn the oven down to 250 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes, basting frequently.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and gently lift out the capon. Discard the garlic and thyme.

Set the pan on the stove over medium heat and allow the juices to begin caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. Drain off all but two tablespoons of the fat (being careful not to lose the juices). Add the flour to the roasting pan and cook until it is light brown, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Stir the mixture vigorously with a whisk, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, until it turns to a smooth paste. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and whisk until the paste is smooth again. Add another cup of chicken stock and keep whisking until smooth. Slowly add the remaining two cups of chicken stock and simmer gently for 30 minutes over very low heat. Strain the gravy and serve alongside the capon.

English Thyme Bread Pudding
Serves 10 to 12 (makes one terrine)

1 1/2 loaves brioche, cut into 1” cubes
1 small onion, minced
4 stalks celery, minced
20 chestnuts, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 teaspoons English thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3-by-4-by-10-inch terrine mold

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Place the brioche into a large bowl.

Sweat the onion, celery and chestnuts in the butter over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent. Add the vegetables to the brioche and mix evenly.

Crack the eggs into a bowl. In a large pot, bring the milk and cream to a boil. Very slowly whisk the hot milk and cream into the eggs. Pour half of the dairy mixture into the bowl with the brioche and toss to coat evenly. Add the thyme. Add enough of the remaining dairy mixture so that the brioche is fully moistened but not floating. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the bread pudding into the terrine mold and bake until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes. Check to make sure that the pudding is done by inserting a knife—it should come out clean.

Green Bean Casserole

Serves ten

8 ounces button mushrooms, diced to 1/4-inch pieces
2 small onions, 1 minced, 1 very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 pounds haricots vert, chopped to 1-inch pieces
2 cups flour (there may be some left over)
Vegetable oil, as needed for frying
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
10-by-10-inch shallow baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a pan set over low heat, sweat the minced onion and the diced mushroom in the butter. When the onions are translucent, add the cream and reduce by half, stirring occasionally so that the mushrooms and onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Set up a large bowl of ice water. Blanch the haricots vert in boiling water, then shock them in the cold water. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil to 250 degrees. Place the thinly sliced onions and flour in a large bowl and toss the onions until they are completely coated. Shake off the excess flour and fry the onions in the oil. When the onions are a light golden brown, remove them from the oil and drain them on paper towels.

In a bowl, combine the beans with the mushroom cream, then add 1/2 of the fried onions. Spoon the mixture evenly into the baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes.

When ready to serve, pile the rest of the fried onions onto the center of the casserole and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Cranberry-Tangerine Marmalade
Serves 12

3 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups cold water
2 pounds cranberries, preferably fresh
1 cup water
6 tangerines, segments only
Zest of 3 tangerines

Mix two cups of sugar with two cups of cold water. Pour over the cranberries and let stand for a day.

Drain the cranberries in a colander for three minutes. Discard the strained juice. Mix the cranberries in a bowl with 3/4 cup of sugar. Cover with plastic and set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a simmer and set the bowl of cranberries over it. Let steep for two hours. Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid. Reduce the liquid slowly over medium heat until it becomes a glossy syrup.

Mix one cup of water with one cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Place the tangerine segments in a bowl. Remove the mixture from heat and pour over the tangerine segments. Cool the segments in the refrigerator, then drain them and pat them dry.

Stir the reduced cranberry syrup and the tangerine zest into the cranberries. Gently fold in the tangerine segments. Serve chilled.

Musquee de Provence Pumpkin Tartlets With Swiss Meringue, Caramel Ice Cream, and Banyuls Vinegar Reduction
Makes 10 to 12 tartlets

For the tart crust:
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Gradually add the egg yolks, flour, and fleur de sel and mix until just combined. Form the dough into a mass, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for three hours. Roll out the dough and cut it into 10 or 12 squares. Lay the squares on a Silpat-covered baking sheet and bake until they are light golden—about ten minutes.

For the tart filling:
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 large musquee de provence, sliced into 3-inch cubes (sugarpie pumpkin may be substituted)

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

Place the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for a few minutes, and when sugar has dissolved and syrup has thickened, remove from the heat and cool.

Place the musquee in a shallow roasting pan, cover it with the syrup, and cook in the oven until tender about 45 minutes to one hour. Cool in the refrigerator.

Swiss Meringue

6 ounces sugar
4 ounces egg whites
Pastry bag with star tip

Place the sugar and the eggs in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the sugar and eggs until they’re warm. Remove the bowl from the heat and keep whisking until the mixture is light and fluffy and has tripled in size. Place the meringue a pastry bag with a star tip.

Caramel Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk, warmed
2 cups cream, warmed
10 egg yolks
Ice cream machine

In a saucepan set over medium heat, caramelize 3/4 cup of sugar. When the sugar turns a dark amber, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the butter, then stir in the warm milk and warm cream. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks.

Very slowly add the warm caramel mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return this mixture to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat, strain the mixture, and cool. Mix in the ice cream machine according to instructions.

Spicy Banyuls Reduction

1 3/4 cups red wine
3/4 cup Banyuls vinegar
1/2 cup Armagnac
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon juniper seed
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
3 cloves

Place all the ingredients in a medium pot over medium-low heat and let simmer until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Assembling the tartlets:
Arrange a few pieces of the cooled confit over each tartlet square. Pipe the meringue overtop and brown under the broiler. Spoon the ice cream and Banyuls reduction alongside each tartlet.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.