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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

RSJ’s Thanksgiving Feast

November 22, 2019

Asparagus Casserole

  • 1 Tbl Olive oil, light
  • 2 Tbl Onion, minced
  • 1 Tbl Shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbl Celery, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic, granulated
  • 1/8 tsp Thyme, dry
  • 2 cups Mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/3 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 bunches Fresh asparagus, cut on a bias into 2 1/2” long pieces
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbl Fresh Parsley
  • 3 Tbl  Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz Crackers, crushed into crumbs (about 35 crackers)

Preheat oven to 350

Heat oil in a two-quart saucepot over low heat. Add onions, shallots, celery, and salt. Cook vegetables until tender. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken broth, garlic and thyme. Bring back to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes.

In a separate skillet, make a light-blonde roux by melting butter and stirring in flour. Add to simmering broth mixture. Cook three to four minutes and add cream. Add the Worcestershire sauce and Hot sauce.

While the sauce is cooking, bring 2 quarts of water with 1 Tbl salt to a boil. Cook the asparagus for one minute, drain and run it under cold water for 5 minutes. Using paper towels, dry the asparagus completely.

In a mixing bowl, combine the asparagus with the sauce, cheeses and parsley. Place the mixture in a 2.2 quart baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Combine the melted butter and cracker crumbs. Spread the buttered cracker crumbs over the top of the casserole and bake for 10 more minutes.

Allow casserole to set for 10 minutes before serving.


8 servings

Cranberry Relish

  • 12 oz. bag Fresh Cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Shallot, minced
  • 1 cup Madeira Wine
  • 1 /2 cup White sugar
  • 1 /2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 /4 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup Cranberry Juice
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbl Cold Water

Combine cranberries, shallot, Madeira, sugars, orange juice and cranberry juice in a 1-quart sauce pot and simmer over low- medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until the cranberries become soft. Separately, mix the cornstarch with the cold water then add it to the cranberry mixture. Turn up heat to a heavy simmer and continue to cook, stirring well, for another 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.


8-10 servings

Deep South Cornbread Dressing

  • 1 Cornish (Game) hen
  • 2 quarts Chicken broth
  • 1 /2 Onion
  • 1 /2 Carrot
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Tbl. Bacon grease (or canola oil)
  • 1 /4 cup Bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup Celery, diced
  • 1 cup Onion, diced
  • 2 tsp Celery salt
  • 2 tsp Poultry seasoning
  • 1 recipe Cornbread, crumbled
  • 2 cups Mushroom Béchamel Sauce
  • 2 cups Heavy cream
  • 1 1 /2 cups Chicken broth, strained from cooking hen
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Eggs, hard-boiled

Place the hen, broth, onion, carrot and bay leaf in medium sized stockpot. Simmer one hour and 20 minutes over medium heat. Remove hen and strain the broth. Allow hen to cool and pull meat from the bones. Chop meat.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium sized skillet, melt bacon grease over low heat. Add vegetables and seasoning and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add Mushroom Béchamel Sauce, cream, broth and eggs mixing well. Add crumbled cornbread and hen meat. Mix until all is well incorporated. Pour into a three-quart baking dish. Bake one hour 15 minutes. Do not overcook dressing (it should be moist but not runny). Yield: 8-12 servings

Mushroom Bechamel

  • 2 tsp Olive oil, light
  • 2 Tbl Onion, minced
  • 1 Tbl  Shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbl Celery, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic, granulated
  • 1 /8 tsp Thyme, dry
  • 3 oz Mushrooms, cleaned, sliced (1 cups)
  • 1 cup Chicken broth
  • 3 Tbl cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/3 cup Whipping cream

Heat oil in a three-quart saucepot over low heat. Add onions, shallots, celery, and salt. Cook vegetables until tender. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken broth, garlic and thyme. Bring back to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes.

In a separate skillet, make a light-blonde roux by melting butter and stirring in flour. Add to simmering broth mixture. Cook three to four minutes and add cream. Freezes well. Yield: three cups

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 quart Chicken Broth
  • 4 cans Green Beans, drained (14.5 oz cans)
  • 1/4 cup Bacon, very small dice
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Onion, small dice
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, small dice
  • 1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, small dice
  • 2 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, freshly chopped
  • 2 Tbl Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large saucepot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Place green beans in the broth and gently simmer 10 minutes. Drain the green beans.
Heat a medium sized sauté pan over medium- high heat. Place the bacon in the pan and cook it until it become brown and crispy. Stir often to prevent burning. Add the onion and peppers and sauté for three minutes. Add garlic, Creole seasoning, black pepper and cook for an additional three minutes.
Combine green beans, sautéed bacon and vegetable mixture, sour cream, and cheddar in a large stainless steel bowl. Place in a 2 quart baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley and melted butter. Remove the foil and top with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the topping is light brown in color. Let casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings

Sweet Potatoes and Not a Marshmallow in Sight

  • 4 cups Sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed
  • 1 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 cup Brown Sugar, divided
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 3 sticks Butter, divided
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Corn Flakes
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup Slivered Almonds
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly butter a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Combine prepared sweet potatoes, sugar, honey, one cup of the brown sugar, eggs, cream, half of the butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl; mix thoroughly. Place sweet potato mixture to lightly buttered casserole dish.

Combine Corn Flakes, pecans, almonds and remaining butter and brown sugar into a bowl. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until center is hot.

Yield:10-12 servings

Roasted Turkey and Giblet Gravy

  • 1 Turkey, giblets reserved
  • 2-3 cups Chicken broth
  • Brine
  • 1 /3 cup Salt per gallon of water.

Dissolve the salt in a small amount of hot water; add ice and cold water to equal a gallon.

In an ice chest, place the thawed turkey and enough brine to completely submerge.  For best results let turkey sit in brine for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Roughly chop one onion, one carrot and one stalk of celery and place vegetables in cavity of the turkey. Truss turkey. Sprinkle skin of the turkey with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (about one tablespoon of each for a 14-pound turkey). Place turkey in a roasting pan on a roasting rack. Place two cups of chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan and place all in the oven. Roast turkey for 12 minutes per pound. Do not baste or open the oven door during cooking process.

When done (turkey has reached 180 degrees on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh), remove the roasting rack and place turkey on a cookie sheet.

Remove the drippings from the pan, using a fat separator, remove fat from the juices. Place the turkey fat into a medium-sized skillet (you should have one quarter cup fat, if you do not; add a bit of oil to make up the difference). Chop the giblets into small pieces. Add the giblets to the hot fat and cook for 5-6 minutes. Heat the broth in a microwave. Add 1 /4 cup flour to the fat and giblets and cook over a medium heat for four to five minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the hot broth and simmer until thickened. Add canned chicken broth if gravy is too thick. Add one tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet.

Let turkey rest for two minutes per pound before carving. Yield: one hungry family and a few unwanted relatives.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees

Place softened cream cheese in large mixing bowl and beat using paddle attachment on medium speed until VERY smooth. Scrape sides and beat again to ensure there are no lumps.

Add sugar and mix well. Add in eggs and yolks a few at a time, allowing them to incorporate well before adding more.

Place the mixer on slow speed and add vanilla, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Blend well for another 2-3 minutes.

Cheesecake Crust

  • 2 1/4  cups  graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4  cup melted butter
  • 1/2  cup sugar

Combine crumbs, cinnamon and sugar and mix by hand Add butter in stages, mixing well before each addition.

Evenly distribute the crust in a ten-inch spring form pan, pressing it firmly on the bottom of the pan, and building crust up two inches on the sides of the pan.

Pour in the cheesecake batter and bake for 1-1 1 /2 hours. The cheesecakes should jiggle slightly when tapped.

Remove and cool refrigerate overnight before serving.

To cut, run a thin knife under hot water before cutting each slice.


10-14 servings

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