Chef and owner of Baron’s Meats and Poultry offers a sure-fire way to dazzle family and friends on Thanksgiving.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup,

1 butternut squash
8 cups chicken stock with salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup maple syrup
½ stick unsalted butter
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ bunch snipped chives

Peel, seed and cut the squash into chunks, add to seasoned chicken stock and boil until very tender. Pass the squash through a food mill or put in a food processor until smooth. Add the syrup and drop in the butter 1 tbsp at a time. Adjust seasonings to taste. Whip the cream. Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of the whipped cream and snipped chives for color.

The Brine Solution

1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup salt
2 ½ gallon water
2-3 bay leaves
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 onions, sliced
¼ cup Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning

Add the sugar and salt to ½ gal of the water and heat until dissolved. While still hot add the remaining ingredients except the water. Cool to room temp, then add remaining water and refrigerate until cold. Add the turkey, making sure it is covered completely (This is important—weigh it down with a plate or other heavy object.) Refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Roasting the Turkey

1 8-12 lb brined turkey, giblets removed
½ stick softened butter
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup chicken stock
1 stick butter (unsalted)

Remove turkey from the brine, dry it off and place in the fridge overnight, uncovered. Cover the turkey with the softened butter. Place in a 325 degree oven. Melt the remaining butter and add to the syrup and chicken stock; baste turkey with the mixture every 15-30 minutes
Cook turkey for approximately 3 hours. If turkey gets too brown, tent with foil for remainder of cooking time. The temperature in the deepest part of the thigh should be 165 degrees F.

Brussels Sprout Casserole

2 lbs brussels sprouts, sliced
½ diced onion
3 oz cubed pancetta
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup heavy cream

Cook the pancetta in a hot sauté pan until the fat is rendered. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and reserve. Sautee the diced onion in the rendered pancetta fat until wilted; add the sliced Brussels sprouts, cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a casserole dish, add the pancetta and Brussels sprouts mixture. Add enough heavy cream to coat well, ¼ to ½ cup. Cover with half of the parmeson cheese and a layer of breadcrumbs, then add another layer of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes