Your Guide to the Best Thanksgiving Meal
It’s Wednesday evening. You’ve got your entire family and some friends coming over for Thanksgiving in less than 24 hours. You’ve got a Turkey defrosting in your sink (in its wrapping, of course) and a carton of eggs in your fridge ready to be hard boiled and seasoned to serve. Where do you start? What do you prepare? Should your stuffing have raisins? Should you make creamed onions or string beans? We’d like to share with you some great ways to ensure that you provide a meal to be thankful for.
Pot Luck is the key to any successful Thanksgiving gathering. It allows you to focus on the essentials and leave certain things up to your guests. Tradition is a big thing for a lot of Thanksgiving goers, and it’s important to some that they get to participate in a way they know. They want to show off their grandmother’s famous stuffing or their Dad’s perfect pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is all about being with the people you love and sharing an experience to be thankful for. Assigning your guests certain dishes based on what they know and love is a great way to kick off an amazing holiday meal! We recommend giving them appetizers, vegetable sides, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and desserts to sift through. The great thing about these three categories is that you can happily offer a ton of items! There CAN be creamed corn, sautéed asparagus AND buttered carrots. You can have a pumpkin pie AND apple. This doesn’t break any holiday rules, if anything… it makes it better!
I’m a firm believer that if you’re hosting the event, then the Turkey should be cooked in your oven! That doesn’t mean that your guests can’t bring honey baked ham, Chicken pot pie or another delicious entrée choice. The Turkey, however, is the most famous, staple dish for Thanksgiving and it should be cooked to perfection and served by the host of the evening.
According to Pillsbury (whom we’ve trusted with our stomachs for years), the best way to cook a Turkey is to start right from the pick. Never Been Frozen Turkey is the best of the best. You can keep the Turkey in your fridge for up to 2 days before serving. Defrosting can take time, keep that in mind. And a frozen Turkey can be good for up to a year still frozen!
Make sure you pick the appropriate size. Take into consideration the amount of guests you have and how much additional food will be served. Factor in 1 1/2lbs for each person. Butterball (whom we have also trusted with our Thanksgiving stomachs for years) has a TERRIFIC calculator on their site to help you size up the perfect bird based on the amount of adults/kids you’ll have at your event:
Drying the turkey out is the next step in the process after it has been defrosted and the giblets have been removed. This makes sure that the skin is crispy and delicious during the roasting process.
This is an incredibly controversial topic. People can prepare stuffing in so many different ways. There’s so many methods and everyone has their own traditions and styles. For the purpose of this article we’re gonna hone in on what the Food Network calls “The best Thanksgiving Stuffings”
Anne’s Sausage, Apple and Walnut Stuffing
• Preheat your oven to 325F.
• Turkey breast should be facing up in a roasting pan.
• Loosen the skin with your fingers (gently)
• Softened butter should be spread evenly under the skin
o A lot of people like to add garlic or some rosemary to give the skin extra flavor
• Tuck the wings underneath the back of the turkey
o You can tie the legs together with string
• At this point in the process you can drizzle a couple tablespoons of oil over the skin
o Martha Stewart recommends using a cheese cloth drenched in butter and wine
• Once the oven has finished preheating and you’ve applied the butter and oil, place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh muscle away from the bone
o The bone acts as a heat conductor and my not be the most accurate read on temperature
• Then place the turkey in the oven for 2 hours (uncovered)
• Throughout the process, every 30 minutes, use a baster to collect natural juices from the bottom of the pan to keep the turkey moist all the way around by using a pastry brush to spread the juices
o When pan gets full of turkey juice, remove some to use for gravy later
• Cook for an additional two hours (temp should read about 165F)
• At 180F (with stuffing at about 150F), the bird is golden brown and ready to come out
• Allow the Turkey to sit for 30 minutes (Like steak, it is still cooking and distributing its juices.
• The gravy is essentially a collection of all the Turkey juice from the pan
o Let it sit in a clear dish until the grease is at the top (should take 10 minutes)
• Skim off the grease and add dry red wine, butter, some flour, giblet stock and stir well while bringing contents to a simmer
• Whisk away and feel free to add bay leaves, thyme, rosemary for a touch of your own personality.
o Porcinipowder is recommended
• Let it simmer some more, liquid will reduce by half, then remove herbs with slotted spoon.
Well, our stomachs are officially grumbling and our mouths are most definitely watering. So excited to partake in one of our favorite holidays using what we’ve all learned over the years. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!