This is the Holiday Guide I dust off every Thanksgiving but it’s a Holiday Dinner Guide so I wanted to bring it back up for Christmas or whatever holiday you are celebrating this month!!!
Not much has changed from what I wrote last year; I remember the first time I did the Thanksgiving turkey, I know I sound old… I’m not though, I swear! Anyway, the first time I roasted the turkey I took tips from Ina Garten; I didn’t stuff the turkey with stuffing, I stuffed it with aromatics. The aromatics steam as they cook and give off the most incredible flavour. There is one very important tip that I share with you in my Roasted Chicken (interchangeable with Roasted Turkey) recipe but I’ll repeat it here: let the turkey rest, covered with foil for exactly 20 minutes; this will take an average turkey to superior heights! Making the Thanksgiving dinner isn’t difficult; it’s one recipe after the other of your favourite fall fare. With that said, a little strategy doesn’t hurt! So I’m going to show you what my Thanksgiving dinner is going to consist of. I’ll show you the recipes and outline when I’ll prep what, and most importantly, I’ll let you know what time I’m going to put my turkey in the oven!
What has changed, is the menu.
Last year we had:
That was Brined
Sometimes we have:
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes instead of the mashed potatoes
Yes, tomatoes and a salad are on every Thanksgiving table in our house, they help cut the richness of everything else on the table. One thing you may notice is missing; stuffing! IF we do have it, it’s boxed!!! Oh and the cranberry sauce comes out of a can (just like Bart Simpson’s). Take the help where you can get it.
Our dinner is traditionally served on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend so I’ll break everything down for you as if that’s when we’d eat (my sister is a nurse and has to work this weekend so we’re celebrating our Thanksgiving next weekend!).
So the first thing I do is the turkey brine; if we are going to eat on Sunday then I have to have the turkey in the brine exactly 24 hours and 15 minutes prior to the turkey going in the oven. This sounds intimidating but it’s really not! Basically you need to let the turkey sit in the brine for 24 hours and then sit in cold clean water for 15 minutes. The key about the brine is allowing enough time for the temperature to come down because it needs to be cold for the turkey to go in it. So if we eat at 2:00 pm (European thing!) and the turkey is going to need to be in the oven for 4 hours (just an example) and I have to allow time for the turkey to rest, I’ll put the turkey in the brine at 9:15 am on Saturday morning:
The turkey comes out of the brine at 9:15 on Sunday morning; it sits in the cold water until 9:30. It goes in the oven (prepped as recipe outlines, give yourself 10 minutes to do this) at 9:40, roasts until 1:40 and then gets covered for 20 minutes. The turkey will be rested and ready to be carved at 2:00 on Sunday. I have been called a kitchen drill sergeant because I run a tight ship!
So how do I know the brine will be ready for Saturday morning? I’ll cook it on Friday morning or Thursday night. I have to bring the brine to a boil and then I have to allow it to cool to room temperature before I put it in the fridge to cool completely. To be perfectly honest here, I have been known to set my alarm for the middle of the night to facilitate a good dinner! Also, the brine can be made a day or two ahead, give yourself a break! I should also point out though; the Turkey is delicious even if you skip the brine. Check out the Roasted Chicken recipe.
Here’s a link to the turkey brine recipe:
Here’s a link to Roasting the turkey:
Here’s the picture of a brined turkey again:
and roasted turkey:
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret; a lot of my recipes call for roasting veggies at 400 or 425 but in the interest of the turkey, I’ll roast my veggies at 375 on Thanksgiving!
This year we are going to have our turkey the same way I prepared the Low and Slow Roasted Chicken:
With my Autumn Harvest Roasted Potatoes:
You could however go with my Roasted Winter Vegetables:
But if you’re feeling mashed potatoes instead you could go with my Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
Then we’ll be having Honey Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
Served with Mushroom Gravy:
And for dessert; Good Old Fashioned Apple pie:
And of course, we will have A Green Salad:
And a Tomato Salad too:
Again, yes, tomatoes and a Green Salad are on every Thanksgiving table in our house, they help cut the richness of everything else on the table. One thing you may notice is missing; stuffing! IF we do have it, it’s boxed!!! Oh and the cranberry sauce comes out of a can (just like Bart Simpson’s). Take the help where you can get it.
This year we are doing our dinner on Monday and I’m not brining the turkey so I’ll break down my prep for you a new way.
I’m going to make the Apple Pie on Sunday and then reheat it on a very low oven – 100 on Monday while we eat our dinner.
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret; a lot of my recipes call for roasting veggies a 400 or 425 but in the interest of the turkey, I’ll roast my veggies at 375 on Thanksgiving!
A new trick though I find works is one I learned from Gordon Ramsay, he said he cooked for French chefs and they say you must let the turkey rest uncovered for the exact same amount of time it cooked; that it doesn’t matter if the turkey isn’t hot because the gravy is. So this year, I will let the turkey rest uncovered while all my veggies roast at a nice 425 oven.
So I’ll prep my veggies while the turkey roasts and then while the veggies roast, I’ll prep the Green Salad and the Tomato Salad but I won’t put the Vinaigrette on the Green Salad until everything else is on the table first.
Then I’ll make the gravy…
Once my dad carves the turkey I’ll transfer the gravy to the gravy boat to make sure it’s piping hot (that’s for Gordon Ramsay!).
After we eat too much, we have dessert! Homemade Good Old Fashioned Apple pie!
Now this is called My Surviving the Holiday Dinner Guide, this guide will work for any holiday dinner. I guarantee at our Thanksgiving dinner we’ll start discussing Christmas dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!