Fam, It’s been an absolute roller coaster of a year but it's finally coming to a close. During the last stretch of 2020, all of us at The Black Girl Doctor are focused on centering peace and stability. And what better way to focus on the things that really matter than embracing the spirit behind Thanksgiving!
While typically our kitchens echo with endless laughter (or arguing) from loved ones and the air is filled with warm aromas of delicious baked goods, our kitchens this year might look a little different. With 'rona reaching its highest peak in the US this month, we’re hoping you'll join us in mitigating risk of exposure by sticking to remote virtual gatherings, small outdoor dinners within your bubbles, and intimate household celebrations only.
I think we’ve all had enough of hearing about what we can’t do this year, so while we won’t have the chance to share as many warm hugs, we’re choosing to focus on what we can share. And on that note, anyone low key excited they won’t have to visit with their in-laws or argue over the travel schedule in a blended family? (lol j/k… sort of!)
Ok, so back to more of what we can share... food! For Black families, Thanksgiving has always been a time to indulge in recipes passed down from generation to generation. From black-eye peas, collard greens, and sweet potato pies, I’ve always managed to struggle leaving the kitchen with just one plate!
And while I’m pretty accustomed to my own family’s highly specialized recipes, this year, we’ll be down a few dishes given the smaller gathering, so I wanted to challenge myself to try my hand at a couple new dishes. I went to our Black Girl Doctors for tried and true recipe recommendations and I’m so excited to share with you what I found! If you too need a little recipe inspiration (maybe because your auntie Jackie wouldn’t share her mac and cheese recipe with you) take a quick peek into the kitchen of our Black Girl Doctors and try one of their mouth-watering dishes!
Dr. J is starting us off with her favorite Southern Candied Yams (AKA Wakanda yams), by Danni Rose over at @stovetopkisses. These yams are perfectly simmered with all things sweet! Dr. J suggests adjusting the cooking time as needed and cooking on medium to low heat to prevent the bottom of the yams from scorching.
Southern Candied Yams
4 large sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar (divided)
1 cup white sugar (divided)
2 tbsp vanilla
1tsp nutmeg (optional)
2 tbs water
1/2 stick butter (cut into cubes)
Peel and slice your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds then dry them off with a paper towel.
Use a medium sized pot add two tablespoons of water to prevent them from sticking on the bottom.
Place half the sweet potatoes into the bowl and add half of the white sugar, brown sugar, salt in layers on top of the potatoes. Add the rest of the potatoes and add the other half of the white sugar, brown sugar, and salt.
Place vanilla and cinnamon on top of the yams
Cut them on medium low heat and put the lid on half the pot. Crack the lid to allow them to steam through. Do not put the lid on the whole pot.
Let the yams simmer for 10-12 minutes then flip only the top part of the yams until coated. Simmer for an additional 6 minutes.
Remove the yams from the heat. Let it cool down then add the butter.
The butter melt over the yams then serve.
While the yam’s are on a low simmer, take a moment to prep for another delectable side dish, Dr. Dom’s Cornbread Dressing! Dr. Dom is her family's (self-appointed) designated dressing chef. Like any good recipe, the following is an estimation of ingredients and modifications of several recipes that she knows will bring you joy!
Dr. Dom's Cornbread Dressing
3 boxes of Jiffy cornbread (prepare according to the recipe on the package) 1 loaf of French Bread cut into chunks 3 large stalks celery, chopped 1 large onion, chopped (2 ½ to 3 cups) 1 large green pepper, chopped 2 tbsp of garlic minced
2 sticks of butter 4 cups chicken broth 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 tbsp of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning 1 tbsp Poultry Seasoning
2 tbsp Fresh Sage chopped
2 tbsp of Rubbed Sage
2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary chopped
1 tbsp Fresh Thyme chopped
Cook cornbread the day before. Cover the cornbread and French bread and let it sit on the counter overnight to dry out or toast bread.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Crumble the cornbread and French bread into a very large baking dish or pan (This is the pan you will cook your dressing in, and you need room to stir it while it's cooking). Cook vegetables (onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic) down in butter until soft. Combine the vegetables with the breadcrumbs and mix well. Add poultry seasoning, Tony Chachere's, sage, rosemary, thyme, and chicken broth. Check the seasoning before adding eggs. Beat eggs, add, and stir. (You may need a little more chicken broth – it's better if it's too moist than too dry; the uncooked dressing should be a little on the slushy side).
Bake until brown, and the top and center have set about 1 hour-1.5 hours.
Can you ever really have too many side dishes on Thanksgiving? The answer is absolutely not! Another recipe that’s sure to complement any Thanksgiving entrée is this copycat Pappadeaux Dirty Rice by Rachel Mccallum, a staple side dish that Dr. Tai swears by!
Copycat Pappadeaux Dirty Rice
2 cups of Long Grain Rice 4 cups of Chicken Broth 1/2 lb of Chicken Liver 1/2 lb of Ground Pork (or substitute ground turkey) 4 Tbsp of Butter 4 cloves of Garlic (diced) 3 Tbsp of Onions (diced) 1/2 tsp of Dry Mustard 2 tsp of Salt 2 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning Pinch of Oregano
Combine your liver and pork together and process it for 3-5 minutes in your food processor. Then melt your butter in a skillet and add the meat mixture to it.
Cook for seven minutes then add in your salt, oregano, Old Bay seasoning and dry mustard and mix into the meat mixture well.
Next add in your onion and garlic to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and set the skillet mixture to the side.
In a large saucepan add your chicken broth and rice and bring them to a boil.
You’ll want to cover and simmer the rice once the broth starts boiling.
Continue stirring the rice while adding your skillet mixture.
Simmer for about 20 mins while stirring the dirty rice. Turn the heat off, serve your rice!
If you’re looking for a main course staple item then look no further. Dr. Shelly’s go-to entrée is Cornish Hens with Homemade Stuffing, by Carla Cardello over @citylifeadventures. This is a perfect option as an alternative to your traditional turkey dish and perfect for smaller gatherings:
Cornish Hens with Homemade Stuffing
1 Cornish game hen, thawed and giblets removed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or herb of choice)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing
Homemade Classic Stuffing
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 slices white bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet, melt the butter. Once hot, add the onion, celery, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
In a large bowl, add the bread, onion mixture, and salt. Mix together until the bread is moistened.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Have a small roasting pan or 8x8 pan ready.
In a small bowl, mix together thyme, salt, and pepper.
Fill the hen with stuffing. If there is stuffing leftover, add it to the bottom of the pan. If there is no stuffing leftover, add a roasting rack to the pan.
Tie the hen's legs together with oven-safe twine (optional but keeps the legs in place) then place on top of the stuffing or roasting rack.
Brush the hen with olive oil then rub the thyme mixture all over, getting underneath the wings, legs, and skin whenever possible.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced and internal temperature reaches 180°F.
Make sure you saved a little room for after your main course! Dr. Akilah’s favorite holiday dessert is Pecan Pie. This Pecan Pie recipe is highly recommended and is brought to you by Ree Drummond better known as @thepioneerwoman!
Pie Crust 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard 3/4 cup salted butter, cut into pieces 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar Filling 1 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 cup corn syrup (light or dark) 1/3 cup melted salted butter 1 teaspoon of vanilla 3 whole eggs beaten 1 cup (heaping) chopped pecans
First, whip up the pie crust: Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the vegetable shortening and salted butter. Work the butter into the flour using a dough cutter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
Add the egg, 5 tablespoons cold water and the white vinegar. Stir until just combined. Divide the dough in half and chill until needed. (You will only need one half for this recipe, reserve the other half for another use.)
Next make the filling: Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and eggs together in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out one dough half on a lightly floured surface to fit your pie pan. Pour the pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour the syrup mixture over the top. Cover the top and crust lightly/gently with foil.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans. The pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven (though it will jiggle a bit). If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes, sometimes it takes 75!
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.
So there you have it! We hope you enjoy this exclusive recipe list from The Black Girl Doctors and find ways to stay focused on all you have this season. We wish you many blessings and safety this Thanksgiving!
Click here to view the CDC guidelines for holiday gatherings.