Charlotte Cooks – November 4, 2021

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Our holiday family favorite for three generations: Carpet bag

From Bill Schubart

Buy a five-inch-thick slab of top-notch sirloin from a butcher. Slice a pouch in it on the top edge, going not quite to the ends, cut deep into it so it ends up like a woman’s handbag. (You will end up filling it and sewing it back up with a butcher’s needle and string.) Refrigerate until 10 hours before use, then hang at room temperature to get the sera out so it’s dry and at room temperature before you fill it and cook.

Meanwhile, two to three days prior, take a crock or a large jar you can cover and fill it partway with cheap sherry (I use New York State golden sherry). Add a little brandy or bourbon (not too much). I then add a 1/4 cup of tamari and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Fill this with shucked oysters, quartered shallots, good small cap mushrooms cut up into halves, and three small pieces of garlic. Let the whole mess fester for two to three days in a cool spot (or refrigerated).

When you’re ready to cook, simmer the marinade/stuffing long enough to soften all the veggies and cook the oysters a little. (The stuffing won’t cook much while broiling the meat, and you want the shallots and mushrooms soft enough to eat.) Then pour it into the pouch and sew it up, letting the liquid overflow into the broiling pan.

Sear the stuffed sirloin over a hot cast iron pan until nicely blackened on the outside, then add it back to the juices in the broiling pan, and broil it covered in a hot oven (375 degrees) or over a fire. Use a knife to see when it is done (black and blue is best).

It is served in sidewise slices like a layer cake.

Sausage, cranberry and apple stuffing

From Matt Jennings, Vice President of Culinary, Healthy Living Market & Café

Serves 8-10
1 pound mild breakfast sausage
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale-green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks)
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into a large dice
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
6 cups dried bread cubes (croutons)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 to 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Saute the sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, celery and dried spices to the skillet and saute until the leeks are soft—about 8 minutes.
  4. Mix in the drained cranberries, sage and rosemary. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons and parsley.
  5. Next add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist. Be sure not to overdo it; it shouldn’t be mushy. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish. (The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.)
  6. Bake in a 14-inch oval or 9-by-13-inch rectangular casserole dish, and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and the center piping hot. Remove and serve immediately.

Venison Tenderloin with Plum Pepper Sauce

From Bradley Carleton

32 oz. venison loin or tenderloin (serves 4)
2 cups beef stock – substitute 2 bouillon cubes if necessary
8 oz. damson plum preserves
1/2 cup claret – substitute 1 cup cabernet sauvignon reduced to 1/2 cup
Cracked peppercorns – substitute coarse ground pepper
Avocado, peanut, sunflower oil or any oil w/ smoke point of 450 degrees plus
8 tbsp unsalted butter

Reduce stock to half over medium high heat
Add plum preserves
Reduce heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes
Add 2 tbsp cracked peppercorns – substitute 1 tbsp. coarse ground pepper
Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally
Remove from heat and set aside
Slice tenderloin cross grain 1/2” thick
Salt & pepper both sides
In large skillet coat bottom with oil and increase heat to high
Add 4 tbsp butter in 4 slices
When butter is melted quickly transfer 16 oz. (1/2 of total) venison
Sear venison over high heat
When edges are slightly brown (roughly 1 minute), flip over and sear opposite side
Meat should be kept rare (red in center – pink or brown will taste like liver)
Remove and set aside
Deglaze pan with claret or reduced cabernet
Drain pan drippings into sauce
Add more oil and remaining butter (4 slices)
Return pan to high heat
Repeat searing and deglazing, adding deglaze to sauce

Reheat sauce on low, stirring in drippings
Ladle sauce over medallions and serve immediately