Sunday, November 30, 2014

Give thanks for the unlikeliest of seven-layer dips.

Seven layers of Thanksgiving classics, served on toast points. © Ryan Schierling
It's the last day of November and your Thanksgiving leftovers, if there are any left over, are languishing. 

Every turkey-day legacy recipe has already been searched for and modified. There's nothing new or interesting under the waning Fall sun, and you're about to dig the remains out of the fridge and drop them into a pet dish. It's the feast he/she/it has been waiting for all along – so many hours of preparation and work, the vestiges dumped into your dog's bowl on the floor and devoured in large, breathless, indiscriminate gulps in a matter of seconds. 

Though sometimes disturbed, I am not weak and/or unimaginative in the kitchen (see this, this or this.) Chez nous, these pets, our cats, are absolutely not getting my leftovers, my legacy. Cranberries and dressing probably aren't even good for them.

If you're lucky, you should have at least a wee bit of six of these seven layers already. There is dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, sweet potatoes in some form or fashion (this year we had sweet potato gratin in poblano cream), green bean casserole and cranberry sauce. The odd man out is turkey liver pate, which both utilizes some of the giblets and provides the backbone for this spread. 

Turkey liver pate

1 turkey liver
1 small brown mushroom, minced
2 small shallots, minced
3 tablespoons sherry
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon or Mexican mint marigold
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2-3 dashes hot sauce (I used Tabasco®)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

In the littlest skillet you've got, over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter. Cook the shallots and mushroom until the shallots are soft and the mushroom has released a little juice, 7-9 minutes. Add the sherry and the turkey liver and saut√© the liver until browned on the outside and just a little pink in the middle, about 5 minutes per side. Add another tablespoon of butter and the fresh thyme, parsley and tarragon. Stir for a few minutes, then transfer everything to a food processor. Add salt, pepper, hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of butter. Pulse until everything is well incorporated. Add the last tablespoon of butter and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Adjust seasoning and pack into a ramekin or small bowl. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours and return to room temperature before serving. 

Get a nice loaf of Tuscan or other white, finely-crumbed bread. Cut off the crusts and cut slices into triangles. Toast in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning regularly, until browned, crispy and an appropriate vessel for what you're about to do – Thanksgiving seven-layer dip. 

Seven-layer Thanksgiving dip

This recipe was assembled in a 1/2 pint Weck jar, which will hold enough dip for 4 as a small appetizer.

Reheat about 1/4 cup each – stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (chopped fine), sweet potatoes. Reheat 1/8 cup gravy. Bring turkey pate to room temperature. The 1/4 cup cranberry sauce can be added cold or room temperature. 

Layer thusly – stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, turkey pate, cranberry sauce. 

Dig into dip with a small knife and spread onto toast points or crackers


  1. You're so classy~I just mashed everything into a bowl and poured gravy over it!

  2. I don't believe I've ever been called "classy" before. Alternating between "Thank you!" and "Them's fightin' words!" The finished product was far better than it had any right to be.


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