Thursday, November 3, 2011

Add New Flavors to the Traditional Thanksgiving Menu from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, the majority of Americans (88 percent, according to the National Turkey Federation) choose turkey as their main course. But why not break tradition this year by adding something new to the menu or enhancing old favorites?

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas offers a variety of ways to wake up menus and wow holiday party guests with unique ideas such as:

- Add a splash of Pure Almond Extract to any type of nut, pumpkin or banana bread for added depth and character.

- Use Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste to glaze crusts for fruit pies.

- Add a quarter teaspoon of vanilla to hot chocolate for a mellow flavor and warming treat.

- After the large Thanksgiving meal, add a few drops of Pure Peppermint Extract to a cup of hot water. This remedy helps soothe an upset stomach.

Adding flavor is an easy way to enhance the menu of a traditional meal such as Thanksgiving without completely changing the foods that family and friends enjoy each year.

“Home chefs who are looking for something new will embrace the added flavor to the traditional family meal,” says Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer at Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. “Vanilla bean paste can be added to a glaze for the meat – whether it is turkey, ham or even duck – and it will create a festive taste that presents beautifully because you can see the gourmet vanilla flakes.”

For home cooks looking to bring a new twist to the traditional Thanksgiving feast, try the vanilla-glazed duck breast recipe below. It may even be the start to a new family tradition.

Roasted Vanilla-Glazed Duck Breast with Vegetables

Serves 4

4 duck breasts
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
2 cups turnips, diced (about 1 pound)
2 cups beets, diced (about 1 pound)
2 cups celery root, diced (about 1 pound)
1 shallot, finely diced
3 teaspoon fresh chervil, minced
1 cup sodium-reduced beef broth
3 teaspoon raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Boil 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla paste. Set aside.

In an ovenproof frying pan, sear the duck breasts in 2 tablespoons butter. Brush the duck with the vanilla syrup and roast in oven 5 minutes for rare, or until desired doneness. Keep warm.

In separate batches, blanch the turnips, beets, and celery root in 1 quart boiling water, about 5 minutes, until tender-crisp. Drain well. Heat remaining butter over medium heat until bubbly. Add shallots and vegetables. Stir in vanilla syrup to glaze the vegetables, approximately 1/2 cup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the duck to a plate and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the raspberry vinegar. Add the beef broth. Simmer and stir until the sauce is reduced by half.

To serve, pool the sauce onto 4 serving plates. Top with the glazed vegetables. Slice the duck breasts and arrange over the vegetables. Garnish with a sprinkle of chervil.

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