Thanksgiving Greek Style
Hello beautiful people! I am a bit behind this year with my Thanksgiving recipes but hey better late than never.
I haven’t had the best week, to be honest, and this is due to some news we received from family friends. I know MANY people are hurting this year, especially now more than ever, and I hope we can all get through this together. One thing I learned is, worrying won’t help the situation one bit. Just be there for your family and friends even if they live across the seas or oceans. Life is short, make sure to tell your loved ones you LOVE them and appreciate them.
Let’s get to the cooking! Thanksgiving is quite different this year because my sister and family won’t join us due to the pandemic. We are trying to stay as safe and healthy as possible and abide by the pandemic rules, as we all should. Anyway, our menu is a bit smaller than usual so here it is.
Ps: I am not sharing all the recipes on the menu as most of you are quite familiar with the traditional green beans, potatoes, and things.
Kouzounas Kitchen Menu
I will include the recipes for the following dishes. Caramelized carrots, spanakopita, citrus turkey, and bougatsa dessert. I hope you enjoy it!
- Mediterranean Greek Salad
- Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Carrots
- Green Bean Casserole
- Citrus Turkey
- Bougatsa with a pumpkin whipped cream
I will start the recipes from sweet to savory this time. 🙂
From my kitchen to yours, Kali Orexi. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Bougatsa (Sweet Custard Phyllo Pie)
This recipe is from my second cookbook A Drop of Ladi & My Greek Soul. Available on Amazon and for signed copies please send me a direct msg.
Ah, the famous northern dessert; bougatsa! You can find it in almost every corner in Thessaloniki. Bougatsa comes sweet or savory. Sweet bougatsa is one of the best Greek desserts and I like it served with cinnamon and powdered sugar on top. You may also find the savory cheese-filled bougatsa delightful.
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- ½ cup organic sugar
- ¼ cup semolina
- pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring
- juice from a lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ cup butter melted
- 14 sheets phyllo dough
- cinnamon and powdered sugar (to serve)
- Heat milk in a pot over medium heat. While the milk is heating beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and frothy. Set aside.
- Once the milk gets hot (don’t let it boil!) remove from heat. Whisk it into the egg mixture fast, making sure not to cook/curdle the eggs.
- Pour custard back into the pot and place it over low heat. Whisk constantly until it becomes thicker (about 4 minutes).
- Gradually add semolina and salt to the custard and mix well to combine. Continue stirring until it becomes thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Cook for approximately 5 more minutes while whisking constantly. Add the butter pieces into the custard and remove from the heat.
- Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Place custard over an ice bath to cool it. Preheat the oven at 350° F.
- Open up your phyllo sheets on a large working surface. Brush a large pan or baking dish with melted butter and layer half the phyllo sheets making sure to brush each separate sheet with butter. Pour the custard over the phyllo making sure to make an even layer.
- Add the rest of the phyllo sheets on top of the custard, making sure to each sheet with butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350° F, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool a few minutes. Serve warm with powdered sugar and cinnamon. (You can also serve with Nutella.)
You can make “bougatsa parcels” for a fun twist! Brush one phyllo sheet with butter and add 2 tablespoons of custard to the lower bottom of the phyllo. Fold the right and left edges into the center. Then fold the lower and top parts into the center as well so that you end up with an envelope shape. Repeat with the rest of the phyllo sheets—you’ll have 14 parcels.
Place parcels onto a baking sheet, lightly brush with butter and bake at 350° F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Pumpkin Whipped Cream
This tasty pumpkin cream is so good! You can serve it over pies, ice cream, cakes, and of course bougatsa when it is warm out of the oven. Add a little bit to the bougatsa for Thanksgiving.
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- In a blender add all ingredients and blend on high until stiff peaks form.
- Remove from mixer pour into a sealed container, and chill until ready to use.
Citrus Turkey Brine Recipe
4-6 (This depends of course on the weight of the turkey)
Keep in mind that the cavity is filled with FENNEL, APPLES, AND ORANGES. 🙂
My friends told me to follow the Pioneer Woman for her awesome citrus brine and I had a look and added my own special touch to the original recipe. You can find the original recipe here. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/my-favorite-turkey-brine/Ingredients
- 1 23 pound turkey (You can use a turkey anywhere from 15-23 pounds for this.)
- 2 Gallons cold water
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme+ rosemary
- 3 tablespoons oregano
- 3 tablespoons coriander
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup sea salt, fine grind
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons pink peppercorn
- 2 apples chopped
- 3 oranges peeled and chopped (Set peel aside)
- Optional: Use 2 tablespoons of Herbs De Provence to replace rosemary and thyme
Combine all ingredients in a large pot, over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, stir all ingredients together, and remove from heat. Set aside and let cool.
- In this step, I did not use a brining bag. I didn’t have one, so I used a bucket lined with a large plastic garbage bag. (I know fancy right?!) Do keep in mind, once your turkey and brine are in the bucket, make sure your bucket is sturdy enough to hold everything.
- Add your turkey to the bucket, and pour cool brine over the top. Keep the orange peel, and apple slices in the brine. Adds a lovely flavor to the turkey.
- I brine my turkey for 2 days, but I recommend 1 day if you can hold the turkey in your fridge that long. (You can do up to 2 days, but that’s if you have time.)
- Let your turkey brine on one full side for about 8 hours, then flip over and brine the other side for 8 hours.
- Once you’re ready to roast your turkey, remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse off your turkey in cool running water for 10 minutes. This process cleans off the salt, and I highly suggest this.
- I did NOT fill my turkey with stuffing. I didn’t want my stuffing to be salty from the drippings, so instead, I added fresh apple, orange, and fennel to the cavity of the turkey. (Keep in mind that the brine has salt, so if you stuff your turkey, then do not add too much salt to your stuffing.)
- Now it’s time to cook your turkey. According to the turkey instructions, follow the baking time. I baked my turkey at 325 degrees for 6.5 hours.
- Make sure to use an aluminum tent for your turkey, to prevent the top from burning. You want a nice golden brown color all over.
- Every two hours, I actually brushed butter and olive oil over the top of my turkey. It adds a nice flavor, and the color is perfect. (A secret I am sharing with you all. The last hour the turkey was roasting, I used an orange marmalade to brush over the turkey. The final results… AMAZING!!.)
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Yield: 25 pieces
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 6 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 large leek
- 3 pounds fresh spinach
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp of cumin
- 1/2 cup basil, minced
- 1/2 cup anise, minced
- 1/2 cup parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup mint, minced
- 6 ounces feta cheese
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 package phyllo
- Optional- Sesame seeds
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your garlic, fresh herbs, scallions, and leeks. Cook, stirring, until scallions and leeks are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Cook your spinach on medium heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add it to your herbs’ mixture. Add feta to your spinach and herb mixture. Make sure it has cooled down before you add in your beaten eggs. Mix in the condensed milk and whisk. Now add in your salt, pepper, and cumin. Set aside in the fridge.
- Brush a large baking dish with butter. Trim the phyllo to the size of the pan. Work quickly and keep the remaining phyllo covered with a plastic wrap, topped with a warm towel to keep it moist: place one sheet of phyllo on the baking dish you’ve prepared and brushed it with butter; top with another sheet. Repeat the process until you have 10 sheets of phyllo in the baking dish.
- When you have used half the phyllo sheets, pour the spinach mixture into the dish. Add the remaining layers of phyllo over the top.
- Make sure you brush the top layer with butter or olive oil. Score the top phyllo layers in triangles. If you want to use sesame seeds, sprinkle a bit over the top of the phyllo before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375 ◦F degrees. Cook for about 45 minutes, until the phyllo is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
Some tips when making a delicious spanakopita!
- I like to use a mixture of spinach and swiss chard for a rich flavor of greens! Most of the time I will do this to give it a heartier green taste.
- You can use a mixture of butter and olive oil if you like to brush the phyllo sheets. This too will give your sheets a rich flavor.
- Sprinkle white or black sesame seeds over the top!
- Use as many fresh herbs as you possibly can! The more the merrier.
Roasted Carrots Recipe
- 1 pounds of carrots
- 3 tablespoons of Anthos Foods Phileos extra virgin olive oil (Did I mention this is on SALE)
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- half a lemon reserve the juice
- 2 tablespoons of Cretan Thyme Honey
- 1 pinch of salt and cracked pepper
- Place oven at 400 degrees.
- Peel the carrots and place them in a single layer lined on parchment paper and a baking sheet.
- Whisk together the olive oil, honey, brown sugar, lemon juice, and seasoning.
- Cook carrots in middle rack of oven. Cook carrots until tender approximately 30 minutes. You can test with a fork to make sure they are ready.
- Serve warm.
I hope you enjoyed all the recipes! If you do make any of these please tag us using #cookingwithkouzounaskitchen.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!