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It's time for Thanksgiving, delicious turkey, your favorite pie, football and beer!

When it comes to beer, there’s no one better to talk to than our very own Heather Burns. Not only is she responsible for keeping The Zweben Team on course, Heather is and expert on all things beer. Heather and her husband Ray Darmstadt are the proprietors at the St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Here are Heather's thoughts on the holiday and beer.

I look forward to that huge, comforting, sweet and savory Thanksgiving meal every year.  For me, a lot of what makes holidays so much fun with my family is our mutual appreciation of good drinks and good laughs.  We drink more wine than beer in my family, but I've never really thought wine tasted particularly good with Thanksgiving foods. 

The less acidic quality of beer is better suited to pairing with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweets like cranberry sauce, and all of the fixings!  Plus, it's fun getting my parents in their 70s and 80s to taste different beers.  While Mom has decided she likes IPAs since they smell like flowers, my step-Dad is still digging in his heels over English ales.

If you would like to do something different this year and pair your Thanksgiving meal with beer instead of wine, I've got some great suggestions. 

Allagash Saison

If you know you prefer a lighter (colored) beer, this is a really terrific choice.  Allagash is one of my favorite breweries.  It's an established brewery in Maine and the Saison is their classic, farmhouse-style ale.  It's easy drinking, lightly bitter with a bit of spice.  This would go well with a variety of foods and is just a lovely beer for daily drinking!

Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter

If you are a Guinness drinker and would like to have something darker to pair with your meal, this Long Island brewery's porter is a perfect choice.  This is a delicious, rich beer with hints of roasted coffee, with a nice dry finish. It can easily pair with both the Thanksgiving meal and all of the holiday pies too!  

Heather Burns, St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe, Brooklyn, NY

Nothing makes Thanksgiving dinner better than steaming turkey gravy poured over the bird and creamy mashed potatoes. That said, I know that every year there are people around the country crying over lumpy gravy.

Gravy is as easy as pie. I'll share with you how to make perfect turkey gravy to go with a juicy bird you can cook in hour. This recipe makes about 2 quarts of gravy.

Ingredients:

First, you'll need to make the turkey stock. You can do this ahead the day before and keep it in the fridge. You can also buy it in the grocery store, but it's so easy to make and I promise that you won't regret the results.

Making the Turkey Stock

Rough chop the carrots, celery and peeled onions, aka the mirepoix.

Place vegetables in a roasting pan with a touch of olive oil and roast at 375F until golden brown.

Place turkey bits in a roasting pan with a touch of olive oil and roast at 375F until gold brown. If you make the turkey like in the video below, ask the butcher for the bones and roast those.

Place the mirepoix and bones into a large stock pot and cover the ingredients with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 60-90 minutes.

Strain the beautiful broth into a bowl and discard the bones and vegetables. They have served their purpose!

When you're ready to make your gravy, it'll be a snap.

Making the Gravy

Put the delicious stock you made into a pot and bring it to a simmer.

In a small sauce pot, heat the vegetable oil and whisk in the flour. Cook until it gets a nutty aroma and then whisk into your delicious turkey broth this will then the broth to make your gravy.

Make sure you add all of the drippings from your turkey roasting pan!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Now, as an added bonus, here's how I cook a 20 pound turkey in about an hour.

Every year Michelle serves pumpkin pie and this amazing pecan perfection as an offering at her Thanksgiving table and it's always a hit. Of course, she holds a slice back for breakfast the next morning.

First things first. Make your your favorite pastry. Because she loves Fall so much, Michelle likes to decorate the edge with hand-cut leaves. Put the pie pan in the fridge to keep it cool.

Now for the good stuff.....

Put a generous 1 1/2 cups of pecans on a cookie sheet and roast them at 350F for just a few minutes.... you don't want them to brown, but the oils will come out. When you pull them out of the oven cover them with about 1 T. of flour and coat them well. Let them cool down 🙂 (have a glass of wine)

While they are cooling, melt 6 T of butter and turn up the oven to 450F.
Mix 3 lg. eggs, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 c. light brown sugar and 1 c. light corn syrup (most people use dark sugar and syrup -- Michelle thinks that is where hers is different).

Add the butter, 1 tsp. vanilla and the nuts (including the loose flour on the pan). If you like, you can add a couple of T. of bourbon at this point. In anticipation of breakfast pie, Michelle likes to leave the bourbon out.

Turn the oven down to 350F, pour the goo in the pie crust and bake for 40-50 minutes. THEN.... you have pie 😉

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Carolyn Zweben, Licensed Associate RE Broker
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