All Star Thanksgiving 2014

Despite my being three different kinds of sick this week, Steven and I still managed to have a delicious Thanksgiving! This is almost entirely due to Steven’s skillz.

As usual, we bypassed the usual subpar Thanksgiving fare and each chose 2 favorite foods to cook. This year’s lineup:

Me: Biryani and peach smoothies
Steven: Spinach pomegranate salad and cherry pie



I’ve chosen biryani before, but I can’t help it–it’s one of my favorite things Steven makes. And it’s so warm and filling once it gets cold outside! See his recipe after the cut.

The spinach pomegranate salad also had pear, pecan, and feta. A really easy (and Christmas colored!) salad that tastes delicious. I modified it from the one found here.

I’d never made a cherry pie before, and Steven had never had one made with fresh cherries instead of that questionable filling from a can. But I’m not going to dump can filling into my beautiful crust, so I had to try it! We used this recipe for the filling, and both agreed that it was pretty good, but needed something to combat the intense cherriness. Cinnamon? Vanilla ice cream? Steven will have to perform experiments to find out. My easy-awesome crust tutorial can be found here. Steven helped roll it out! Like a pro, of course.

Smoothies don’t need recipes, they are delicious no matter what!!!! This one had frozen peaches, frozen mangoes, peach nectar, vanilla yogurt, honey, and almond meal.

I’ve never really looked at this recipe before, and am surprised that it seems like a beast. Steven always makes it look so simple! I guess it is if you have a pressure cooker, and are well-stocked in the spice department, which we usually are anyway. We tried whole spices before (minus the cheesecloth/twine) and got sick of picking whole cardamon out of our food so now we usually use ground.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Biryani

A hearty chicken biryani which, despite its lengthy ingredient list, requires surprisingly little preparation and tastes even better the next day! An instant addition to your comfort food list.
1.5 lb boneless chicken breast
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
1.5 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
0.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 onion, quartered or roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
3 Tb canola oil or ghee
1.5 cups basmati or jasmine rice
6 cloves (whole) or ½ tsp cloves (ground)
6 cardamom pods (whole) or ½ tsp cardamom (ground)
1 cinnamon stick (whole, broken in pieces) or ½ – 1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 – 5 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ – ½ cup mixed raisins (jumbo, golden, flame, black, etc.)
juice of 1 lime

Pressure cooker (variable pressure electric preferred)
Saucepan (if pressure cooker does not have a “cook” or “brown” option)
Food processor or blender
Mixing bowl
Cheesecloth (if using whole spices)
Kitchen twine (if using whole spices)

Cut the chicken into bite sized chunks. In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and chili powder until well blended, then mix in the chicken to fully coat and set aside to marinate.
Combine onion, ginger, garlic, and jalapeño or serrano pepper in the food processor or blender and puree until mostly smooth. Set aside. (If you don’t have access to a food processor or blender, these can be minced finely or ground in a mortar and pestle)
If using an electric pressure cooker, set to “cook” or “brown” mode and heat the oil or ghee until a dropped piece of the puree sizzles on contact. Add the pureed paste from step 2 and cook, stirring periodically, until paste has reduced and begun to brown, about 7 – 10 minutes, depending on your cooker. (If your pressure cooker does not have a “cook” or “brown” option, this step can be performed in a saucepan over medium-high heat)
Add puree to the pressure cooker, if using the saucepan method. Add in the rice and stir. If using whole spices, combine the whole spices in a pouch of cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine, and add to the rice/puree mixture. If using ground spices, add clove, cardamom, and cinnamon directly to the rice/puree mixture and mix well.
Smooth the mixture and layer the marinated chicken in a single layer on top, along with all of its yogurt marinade.
Gently pour in salt, garam masala, and chicken broth. Cover pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes on High Pressure (at ~9 psi; times may vary for higher pressure cookers) or until chicken is cooked and rice is tender. Release the pressure on your cooker and add in the cilantro and raisins. Mix thoroughly and re-cover the cooker.
Cook at Low Pressure (~5 psi) another 5 minutes to steam the raisins and integrate the flavors. If not using a variable pressure cooker, steam in a saucepan on low heat, covered.
Release pressure and uncover the cooker. A small amount of liquid may remain unabsorbed by the rice mixture; this is normal and will disappear on refrigeration (in the case of leftovers).
Add the lime juice, fluff the biryani with a fork to combine, and serve hot. Refrigerate any leftovers promptly.

Optional: garnish with more cilantro, fried onion slivers, and cashews.

8 – 12 cups, or approximately 6 – 8 servings.

Thanksgiving 2013
Thanksgiving 2011
Thanksgiving 2010

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