A Rustic Thanksgiving

For the past few years, we’ve been on a mission to simplify the holidays. Before joining everyone for Thanksgiving, we like to cook a smaller dinner at home for the two of us. It’s an opportunity to slow down, count our blessings and prepare something a little out of the ordinary.

This year, we went for braised short ribs, which Nabol cooked beautifully with wine and veggies. We served them over a bed of couscous with lots of seasonal goodies, including pumpkin and brussel sprouts. To round it up, we baked a veggie moussaka and a traditional pumpkin pie.

For our cheese plate, we picked a simple manchego and a baked ricotta that paired nicely with our olive selection and a sweet brioche. A light Sauvingnon Blanc was our option for wine, with a few lime slices and fresh cranberries for decoration. 

Our table looked very rustic with a large white table cloth from H&M, a burlap runner from Target and a folksy table napkin from World Market that we placed in the center to add a pop of color. For our serving plates, we mixed and matched different materials: clay, wood and white ceramic.

Everything came together with the natural accent of fresh apples, orange pomanders, burgundy Solidago and orange flowers. 

A nice walk along Michigan Avenue was all we needed to end the evening right. We hope you also enjoy the holidays and this well-deserved time off. Up next, we leave you with a couple of our recipes.

Nabol’s braised short ribs – Ingredients
  • 1 ½ Pounds of grass-fed boneless short ribs 
  • 1 sprig of rosemary 
  • 1 spring of oregano
  • ½ Cup of chopped celery
  • ½ Cup of chopped carrot
  • ½ Cup of chopped onion
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 Cup of red wine
  • 4 Teaspoons of tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 Cup of vegetable broth
  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven (if you don't have a dutch oven you can also use a deep baking dish and use aluminum foil as a cover), sear the meat with a little olive oil and place in a bowl to rest. 
  2. Use the leftover juices to sauté the veggies (celery, carrots, garlic and onions). Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Once translucent, add the tomato paste, the herbs, and the broth. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the wine. 
  3. Add the meat back in and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours or until meat is super tender. Add water as needed if your meat starts to dry. 

Holiday couscous - Ingredients
  • 1 ½ Cup of vegetable broth
  • ¾ Cup of couscous
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 Cup of chopped brussel sprouts 
  • 1 Cup of diced pumpkin
  • ½ Cup of dried cranberries 
  1. Sauté the pumpkin with a little olive oil until soft. Place in a bowl to rest. 
  2. In a large pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the brussel sprouts and cranberries. Cook for 2 minutes before adding the couscous. Mix well, turn off the heat and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.
  3. Then, mix again, adjust the seasoning and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the pumpkin and serve. 

Veggie moussaka – Ingredients
  • 1 Large potato
  • 1 Medium eggplant
  • 1 Large zucchini 
  • ½ Onion
  • Fresh thyme to taste
  • Olive Oil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Teaspoons of butter
  • ½ Cup of flour
  • 2 Cups of milk
  • 2 Egg yolks 
  • 1 Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 Pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ Cup of Parmesan
  1. Peel your potato and eggplant. Slice all veggies very thinly, including your onion. (You can use a mandolin.) Season them separately with salt, pepper, a little thyme. 
  2. Grease a deep baking dish with a little olive and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the potatoes and cook for 25 minutes. Then, add the onions and the eggplant and cook for another 25 minutes. Then, add the zucchini and cook for 15 minutes. 
  3. While the veggies are baking, prepare the béchamel sauce in a medium saucepan. Melt the butter and add the flour. Mix well and cook for a minute. Slowly, start adding the milk little by little until it creates a smooth sauce using a whisk. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the parmesan and the egg yolks.
  4. Add the sauce to the vegetables and cook in the oven until golden. Let it rest and cool down before serving.

If you miss last year's Thanksgiving for two, here is a link to all the recipes. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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