There is no doubt that our executive chef, Miguel Godinez is the lil’ trick in our pocket. Let’s face it, we are in the business of all things food and this guy and his team make killer grub, every single time. Amici is known for his style cuisine – fresh, authentic and simple, yet flavor packed. We thought it would be interesting to know what his Thanksgiving day spread looks like and of course, we weren’t the least bit surprised to learn that it’s all things Miguel – classical with his own twist.
Miguel’s Thanksgiving is festive in the most wholesome sense – centered around the food, socializing over the stovetop, and family kickball. Yes, family kickball and they take it very seriously; the women (even 90 year old abuela, Katalina) wear tennis shoes with their dresses. With 40 people to feed, it’s not uncommon to have 5+ turkeys, multiple hams and side dishes galore.
Here’s what Miguel is bringing to the table:
The Bird: or in Miguel’s case, it’s plural – birds. If you have had the priviledge of tasting meat prepared by Miguel (which is always moist and tender), you will understand why he chooses two smaller birds versus one mammoth 24 pound gobbler. When it comes to turkeys, bigger isn’t always better – “they spend extra time in the oven and have a tendency to cook unevenly,” says Miguel. A chef’s worst nightmare is a platter of dry meat. Miguel bastes his turkey in a blended sauce of pasilla chile, garlic, cloves, onion, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. To ensure the meat is of the utmost moistness – Miguel stuffs the cavities with green apples (in addition, it adds a wine like flavoring.)
The Ham: Just as the nursery rhyme goes, sweet and spice makes everything nice and Miguel loves a smoked ham with a dry rub of brown sugar and ancho chile. It’s incredibly easy to prepare as the piggie simply does it’s magical thing while baking.
The Sides: Rounding out his contribution to the the Thanksgiving menu, Miguel adds traditional sides of cornbread, white corn baked with a hearty bit of butter, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, fresh green beans with crispy, caramelized onion, and Yukon gold mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic.
The Desserts: Miguel’s wife kicks the winning home run with her addition of champorrado, a classic Mexican hot chocolate along side the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies. Really, can you imagine savoring a steaming clay mug filled with this creamy, chocolate masa beverage that clearly does a bang up job of rounding out the cozy warm feelings of the day?
From our table to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope your day is filled with glow of traditions both new and old!
Recipe for Champorrado
Don’t let a few of the ingredients intimidate you! If you are in Arizona any Latino grocery (we like Los Altos) will carry piloncillo which is simply a brown sugar with a slight molasses flavor made from pure, unrefined sugar pressed into a cone shape, Mexican chocolate (best brand is Ibarra), and Mexican cinnamon which in
Mexico is known as “canela,” isn’t actually Mexican at all. According to the website Cinnamon Vogue, Mexican cinnamon with its soft, easy to crumble texture and subtle, sophisticated flavor is actually imported from Sri Lanka.