The holidays seem to come upon us too fast each year. I recently saw a saying that applies ... probably on Pinterest ... "Long days and short years." I'd say that sums up my life pretty well!
The main focus for our Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. I bought ours this past weekend - a 13# Butterball brand young hen. John wants to brine again this year so I probably should have gotten one of the Amish turkeys. (Maybe we'll do that next year.) It is defrosting in the refrigerator. Warning... If you're cooking a turkey on Thursday, it may already be too late to defrost a large frozen bird in time. Made that mistake before - messes up the whole meal.
And, the most important element of our Thanksgiving dinner is the gravy. It needs to be awesome and there needs to be a lot of it. I've been making the turkey gravy from the Cuisine at Home magazine recipe since 1999. It's rather involved, but definitely worth the effort for a great gravy. (Recipe below.)
For my guys, I'm making scalloped oysters. Also on the table will be mashed potatoes, green beans almandine, black olives, and stuffing (embellished Pepperidge Farm Herb mix). I bought some fresh cranberries to make into a compote with oranges. I also have a small can of jellied cranberries, our daughter's favorite. And finally, pumpkin pie. I always make the recipe on the label of Libby's brand canned pumpkin (my favorite).
Thanksgiving dinner is all about being grateful and serving traditional foods at my house. What's cooking at your place?
Turkey Gravy (6-8 cups)
1 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
reserved turkey neck
1/2 cup apple juice
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 t whole black peppercorns
4 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
Reserved pan drippings from roasted turkey
Roux - 1/2 cup fat (turkey fat from pan + unsalted butter) + 1/2 cup flour
In a large saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Add vegetables, garlic and turkey neck. Sauté until vegetables are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Deglaze pan with apple juice. Simmer until juice is nearly evaporated. Add chicken broth, peppercorns, and herbs. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about one hour. Strain and set aside. This is your gravy base and can be made ahead.
Remove roasted turkey from its pan. Pour off the drippings, skim and save the fat. Deglaze roasting pan with the white wine. Add the gravy base and pan drippings and bring to a boil.
Make the roux by heating the 1/2 cup fat (turkey + butter). Once the fat is hot, whisk in the flour and cook until light brown.
Thicken gravy by whisking in small amounts of the roux into the gravy base mixture. Incorporate slowly until reaching the desired consistency. Simmer gravy for 5 minutes. Strain if needed.