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Ultimate Thanksgiving


It's our favorite time of the year to be a cook again. This year I am going to compile a list of recipes that I think together create the Ultimate Thanksgiving. I promise that if you follow this meal plan you won't be disappointed.

Master Shopping list for the entire meal plan. Click Here.




Turkey

It seems like the turkey is the most important element of thanksgiving. It just wouldn't seem like Thanksgiving without it. For the best turkey you have ever tasted there are two key phrases to remember. 1. Brining Rules 2. Stuffing is Evil (Not dressing).

Roast Turkey

Click here for optional Smoked Turkey. (Now my preferred turkey) Video  


Dressing & Stuffing

My favorite part of the meal is the dressing, and what could be better than Grandma's best. This is really my own Grandmother's recipe. I have tried dozens of recipes and I think this is by far the best. Everyone I have ever given this recipe to has never made dressing any other way after trying it. I highly recommend giving this a try. Some day I hope the whole world will make dressing this way. I think I've made my point. Now for the recipe.

Grandma's Stuffing

Recipe Courtesy of Dolores Kauffman

2 Loaves large white sandwich bread crust removed
2 Loaves large wheat sandwich bread crust removed
2 Lbs pork sausage (Get Jones brand if you can. It makes all the difference.)
1 Brown onion, minced
4 cups diced celery (8-10 Stalks)
5 3/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
3 Tablepoons sage (fresh is best)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Lb Margarine, melted (Imperial Brand if you can)
1 Can chicken broth (Swanson Brand if you can)
1/2 can Chicken broth reserved for moistening
1/2 Cup giblets or more, cooked and minced
2 eggs beaten

Tear up the loaves of bread into small pieces the day before cooking. Let sit out on counter overnight.
Brown sausage, transfer to holding plate.
Saute celery and onions in sausage drippings.
Cover on low for a few minutes.
Shake all ingredients together in a large plastic bag.
Spray pam on sides of a crockpot and fill the pot with contents of the bag.
Cook on High 45mins.
Stir as needed to prevent burning.
Then cook on low for 2-4 hours tasting after two hours to see if anything needs to be added (like extra broth).
When ready, serve and enjoy.


Gravy

I'm trying a new gravy recipe this year. Click here for recipe. I'll let you know how it goes.


I'm still looking for the perfect gravy recipe, but here is the best I have found so far.


Giblet and Wine Gravy

Recipe courtesy of Nathan modified from an Emeril Recipe.

Turkey Broth:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 small bay leaf
3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 cups water

Gravy:

Reserved turkey pan juices
4 cups turkey broth
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. For the turkey broth: Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.

For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and de glaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.


Mashed Potatoes

To Quote Alton Brown "Great mashed potatoes hate recipes" and whether you call 'em mashed potatoes or just plain mash what Thanksgiving would be complete without a bit pile the the white stuff. I have four recipes for you. Pick the one that best suits your taste or make 'em all. I'm sad to report that I have lost my ultimate mashed potato recipe, but here is the general idea (I will try to get concrete measurements this year)

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Only make this recipe if you like really rich creamy mashed potatoes. boil skinned potatoes 1/4lb per person. Once they are very well cooked and break apart easily drain the water off. use an electric mixer to begin to whip the potatoes slowly. Don't whip fast or you will end up with glue. and heavy cream until the potatoes start to look creamy then start adding small chunks of butter until the flavour is to you liking finally add plenty of salt and enough cream to make the potatoes as creamy as you like 'em.

Alton's Mashers

click here for the recipe

Chunky Garlicky Mashed Potatoes

Recipe courtesy of erxomai

I developed the chunky garlicky mashed potatoes out of laziness. First, I boil the potatoes with the skins on (cuz I'm too lazy to peel them). Boil at least a whole garlic bunch with it. I used to be too lazy to peel the garlic too, but you really must do it or it's not as good. Then throw in a bunch of real cream and real butter and a lot of salt and pepper and use a potato masher only mash in a lazy mood so you have a nice consistency of chunks and creamy parts. Oh yeah...I forgot...one or two more crucial ingredients...a bit of sour cream is good and/or a dollop of cream cheese. Yum! Cardiac Arrest, here I come!


Green Bean Casserole

Classic French's Green Bean Casserole

Click here for the recipe 

Also see alternative Best Ever Green Bean Casserole


Cranberries

Here are two recipes to use some fresh cranberries, but sometimes I even like the canned jellied type (don't tell on me.)

Classic Whole Cranberry Sauce

Click Here for the recipe.

Cranberry Dipping Sauce for the Turkey

Click Here for the recipe. 


Pumpkin Pie

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