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Occasions Greatest Hits
for Thanksgiving

photography by Amy Long and Brittney Guest

The countdown to Thanksgiving 2018 is on! To help kick off your holiday gathering with friends and family, Occasions is sharing a few of its top pinned recipes submitted by staff members. We have celebrated Thanksgiving in a variety of ways and with many themes over the years, but these recipes remain at the top of the list with our readers.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Occasions staff!

Whole Roasted Peking Duck
prepared by Jay Taggart
from the November 2013 issue of Jonesboro Occasions

• 1 whole duck
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• Kosher salt to taste
• Black pepper to taste
• 2 medium yellow onions
• 2 cups duck stock (see recipe below)
• 1 cup orange marmalade

DIRECTIONS: Thaw duck in package in refrigerator for at least 48 hours. Preheat conventional oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place wire rack (cooling rack is good) in bottom of size appropriate roasting pan so that the duck does not cook in its own fat and juices. Remove duck from packaging, and remove all contents from cavity of duck. Dice three inch pieces of yellow onion and fill cavity with the onion. Place the duck on the rack. Pour two tablespoons of regular soy sauce evenly over duck and sprinkle a generous amount of Kosher salt and black pepper over the soy sauce. Place duck in oven on bottom rack of oven and cook for three hours.

Remove duck from oven and let cool on counter. To see if duck is fully cooked, wiggle leg back and forth; if leg feels like it will come off the body easily, the duck is cooked. It is also done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerate duck overnight.

With large, sharp knife, cut duck lengthwise down the middle just to the left or right of the backbone; firmly holding duck, cut out entire backbone and rib cage. Put onions in a medium stockpot. Add all bones to stock pot and cover bones and onions with cold water. Slowly bring stock to a gentle simmer and cook for five hours. Wrap duck halves in plastic wrap and refrigerate. After five hours, strain stock into another pot using a fine mesh strainer. Put stock back on stove and reduce down by half. Mix two cups of duck stock with one cup of orange marmalade and season with salt and pepper and reduce to desired consistency.

To serve, reheat duck at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a sheet tray with skin side up. Heat 45 minutes or until hot and crispy. Serve with wild rice and your favorite autumn vegetable. Heat orange sauce and serve on side so that the skin of the duck stays nice and crispy.

Wedge Salad on a Stick
from the November 2015 issue of Jonesboro Occasions

• 8 (1-inch) wedges iceberg lettuce
• 4 strips cooked bacon, cut in half
• 8 grape tomatoes, cut in half
• 8 bamboo toothpicks or double recipe and use bamboo sticks
• 8 teaspoons blue cheese salad dressing
• 8 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese, or more to taste
• Diced red onion (optional)

Directions: Thread each lettuce wedge, bacon piece and grape tomato onto each toothpick, respectively. Arrange toothpicks on a serving platter. Drizzle 1 teaspoon blue cheese dressing over each and sprinkle with blue cheese and red onions (optional). If using bamboo sticks, repeat directions to fill up sticks with ingredients.

Nana Deane’s Pecan-Coconut Pie
from the November 2011 issue of Jonesboro Occasions

• 10 ½ ounces granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
• 4 ounces buttermilk
• 3 ounces. pecans, chopped (approximately ¾ cup)
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 3 ounces sweetened coconut flakes
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• pinch of salt
• 1 pie crust (pre-baked)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, coconut, pecans, flour, vanilla and salt. Pour mixture into 9-inch pre-baked pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pie is golden brown and the center is barely set.