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A celebration of plenty.


It's time again to start thinking "Thanksgiving." Every year the Post offers a new and different approach to this most meaningful of Christian holiday meals, and this year we feel we've put our best feast forward.

Health-conscious homemakers (or whoever is doing the cooking honors at grandmother's house this year) will discover they can leave one ingredient shut up in the cupboard--salt. None is called for in the recipes. Instead, you'll be using a salt-free herb-and-spice blend, available in most grocery stores. The only difference you might notice is that previous Thanksgiving meals all tasted rather bland in comparison. Here's why: the corpulent capon at table's center is roasted in herbs and spices, and it takes on additional flavor from the Wild Rice and Mincemeat Dressing. The capon also has its own special sauce: a rich blend of currant jelly, orange juice, and port wine with a hint of lemon and ginger.

The appetizer dish is Sole and Spinach Pinwheels, braced with a dash of hot sauce and served with lemon butter; the vegetable is Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar.

And, of course, no fall feast would be complete without squash--here, a butternut variety, baked in the oven and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts.

After all this, when satisfied appetites are registering "standing room only," there may still be space to squeeze in a dessert of spicy poached pears with cranberry sauce.

In all, this may be the most satisfying meal you'll serve all year--which is, of course, what Thanksgiving dinner is all about.

Herb Roasted Capon (Makes 10 servings)

1 capon (about 8 pounds), thawed if frozen

4 tablespoons unsalted margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free herb-and-spice blend

Preheat oven to 425| F. Remove neck, giblets, and loose fat from capon and reserve. Rinse capon inside and out under cold running water; pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Mash margarine and 1 teaspoon herb-and-spice blend. At neck end, lift skin away from breast meat; spread 2 tablespoons seasoned margarine over breast meat. Press skin back into place. Sprinkle inside cavity with remaining 1/2 teaspoon herb-and-spice blend. Truss capon with string. Smear capon on all sides with remaining seasoned margarine. Place breast side up in lightly greased roasting pan. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 180| F. or juices run clear (about 1 1/4 hours). Transfer capon to serving platter and cover. Let stand 10-15 minutes before carving. Reserve pan juices for Red Currant Citrus Sauce.

Red Currant Citrus Sauce (Makes about 1 3/4 cups)

1 can (13 3/4 oz.) unsalted chicken broth

1/4 cup salt-free steak sauce

1/4 cup port wine

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons red currant jelly

2 teaspoons salt-free prepared mustard

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water

Pour off and discard fat from capon roasting pan. Pour in chicken broth. Cook on stove over high heat, scraping down browned bits with wooden spoon, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Pour into medium saucepan. Stir in steak sauce, port wine, orange juice, lemon juice, currant jelly, mustard, and ginger. Cook over high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Whisk in corn-starch mixture. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Pour into sauceboats.

Wild Rice and Mincemeat Dressing (Makes 8 servings)

3 cups unsalted chicken broth or 3 cups cold water

1 package (8 oz.) wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons unsalted margarine

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion

1 cup prepared mincemeat

1 envelope salt-free crispy coating mix

In medium saucepan over high heat, bring chicken broth to boil. Stir in wild rice. Cover and cook over low heat until almost tender and liquid is absorbed (about 40 minutes). Meanwhile, in medium skillet over medium low heat, melt margarine. Saute celery and shallots until softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in rice, mincemeat, and crispy coating mix. Spoon into baking dish or casserole; cover. Thirty minutes before capon is done, put wild rice into oven to heat through (about 30 minutes).

Orange-and-Spice Poached Pears (Makes 8 servings)

3 1/2 cups cold water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Rind of 1/2 lemon, removed with vegetable peeler

Rind of 1/2 orange, removed with vegetable peeler

1 small bay leaf

3 cinnamon stick

3 whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt-free herb-and-spice blend

8 pears (4 oz. each), peeled and top third cut off

1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce

In large saucepan, combine water, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon and orange rinds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and herb-and-spice blend. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low. Add pears, cover, and cook until tender (about 25 minutes). Remove bay leaf. Remove from heat and let cool in syrup. (May be made one day ahead and stored in airtight container in refrigerator.) To serve, top each pear with about one tablespoon cranberry sauce.

Butternut Squash with Toasted (Hazelnuts (Makes 8 servings)

4 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons salt-free steak sauce

1 tablespoon salt-free herb-and-spice blend

1 butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 pieces

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (see note)

Preheat oven to 425| F. Put margarine, steak sauce, and herb-and-spice blend into 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish. Bake 5 minutes, until margarine is melted. Add squash, tossing to coat. Bake until squash is tender, about 30 minutes, turning squash after 15 minutes. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve.

Note: To toast hazelnuts, put into preheated 375| F. oven or toaster-oven about 10 minutes or until skins begin to split. Put nuts into clean dishtowel and gently rub to remove loose skins.

Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar (Makes 8 servings)

3 packages (10 oz. each) fresh Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed or 3 packages (10 oz. each) frozen Brussels sprouts

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into small bits

1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt-free herb-and-spice blend

In large saucepan over high heat, cook fresh Brussels sprouts in 1/2 of boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes; drain. (If using frozen Brussels sprouts, cook according to package directions.) Toss with parsley, margarine, vinegar, and herb-and-spice blend.

Sole and Spinach Pinwheels (Makes 8 servings)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1 3/4 teaspoons salt-free herb-and-spice blend

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out

1/4 cup low-fat yogurt or sour cream

3-6 drops hot red-pepper sauce

4 sole fillets (about 5 oz. each), cut in half lengthwise

8 1/4 thick strips green leek, blanched in boiling water for 10 seconds and refreshed under cold water

Lemon Butter Sauce recipe follows)

In medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Saute mushrooms, scallions, and 1 teaspoon herb-and-spice blend until mushrooms give up their liquid (about 4 minutes). Add spinach and cook until any remaining spinach liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt and hot red-pepper sauce. Place sole fillets skinned side down on counter. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 teaspoon herb-and-spice blend. Divide spinach stuffing among fillets, spreading evenly. Roll fish up, beginning with narrower end. Tie leek strip around each sole pinwheel to secure. In large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 of water to boil. Set fish on wire rack and set inside skillet, making sure fish is above water. Cover and cook until fish is cooked through (about 12 minutes). Serve surrounded by Lemon Butter Sauce.

Lemon Butter Sauce (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free herb-and-spice blend

3 egg yolks, beaten

3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into small bits

In medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring broth, cornstarch, lemon juice, and herb-and-spice blend to boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk 1/2 cup broth mixture into beaten yolks. Whisk back into saucepan. Whisk in margarine. Keep warm.

Photo: A holiday hit: roast capon with red currant sauce and spicy poached pears.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Simon, Allen
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Nov 1, 1987
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