CASA GRANDE — As area residents begin to think about the foods they’ll prepare for Thanksgiving, one area chef is sharing some of his favorite recipes with PinalCentral.
Chef Todd, a Casa Grande resident, is known for his efforts every Thanksgiving as one of dozens of volunteers who help Seeds of Hope prepare a holiday dinner for more than 300 people, including the elderly, poor, homeless or those simply looking for companionship.
“For me, it’s a pleasure to volunteer and be a part of preparing the meal,” said volunteer “Chef Todd,” who doesn’t like to use his last name.
Chef Todd, whose culinary career stretches back more than 30 years, helps with turkey roasting and also makes the gravy, using the bones from the recently roasted birds for an authentic from-scratch flavor. Each year, he whips up about 12 gallons of gravy to accompany the meal.
He’s submitted several of his own recipes to PinalCentral to help people prepare for Thanksgiving.
“I’ve made many of these for family get-togethers and literally groups of hundreds and I’ve always had success with these recipes,” he said.
The recipes will run in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Below is his recipe for seared Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, pecans and bacon.
Seared Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, pecans and bacon bits
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 packages (12 ounces each) frozen Brussels sprouts, defrosted and drained or an equal portion of fresh Brussels sprouts, with each sprout cut in half
1 12-ounce package of pearl onions, defrosted and drained
½ cup low sodium chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon fresh or dry whole thyme leaves, minced fine
1 3-ounce pouch precooked bacon crumbles
¼ cup pecan bits and pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Using medium-high heat, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. Add the Brussels sprouts and pearl onions, for about four to five minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are browned in spots.
Add the stock or water, thyme leaves, pecans and bacon then, using a wooden spoon, gently scrape to loosen any browned bits from the pan.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, then cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to low.
Allow the vegetables to continue to cook for about four to five minutes. They are cooked when they are tender enough to be pierced with a small knife or toothpick.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a serving dish, leaving the cooking liquid in the pot.
Increase the temperature to medium high and allow the cooking liquid to continue to cook for about five minutes until the liquid is reduced to a glaze-like consistency.
Pour the liquid reduction over the sprouts and serve hot.