Thanksgiving Preparations at my house …

It is five days until Thanksgiving! What am I doing now to prepare for the big day?

TODAY (or tomorrow): Make gravy. Because I am roasting my turkey in parts, unstuffed, I tried making this gravy last year, and it was liked by all of the diners at my house.

After the turkey was roasted, I deglazed the sheet pan upon which it had cooked with a bit of white wine, and added that to the pre-made gravy, along with the MSG and vinegar, heating it through.

Bon Appetit’s Why-Is-It-So-Good Gravy

8–10 servings

3 lb. turkey and/or chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 heads of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 large shallots, unpeeled, halved
1 4″ piece ginger, scrubbed, thickly sliced
4 oz. crimini, shiitake, or white button mushrooms, torn into large pieces
2 tsp. black peppercorns, lightly crushed
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup amontillado sherry
Handful of parsley or parsley stems
6 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
2 tsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. MSG
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper (optional)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 450°. Toss wings in a large cast-iron skillet with 2 Tbsp. oil until coated. Roast, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and starting to crisp, 25–35 minutes.
Step 2: Remove wings from oven and add garlic, shallots, ginger, mushrooms, peppercorns, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to pan; toss to coat. Return to oven and roast, tossing halfway through, until wings are deeply browned and crisp and vegetables are browned, 30–40 minutes more.
Step 3: Meanwhile, mash together flour and butter in a small bowl with your fingers or a fork until homogenous. Set beurre manié aside.
Step 4: Remove skillet from oven and set on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add sherry and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until sherry is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes.
Step 5: Scrape wings and aromatics into a medium pot and add parsley and stock. Bring to a low simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently, skimming fat from surface occasionally and turning wings so both sides get a chance to be submerged, until liquid is flavorful, mahogany in color, and reduced by about one-third, 30–40 minutes.
Step 6: Fish out wings; discard. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring glass; discard solids. Rinse out pot and pour turkey mixture back in. Bring to a simmer over medium. Whisking constantly, add reserved beurre manié and whisk until completely incorporated. Simmer, whisking often and skimming any foam from surface, until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar and MSG. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Step 7: Do Ahead: Gravy (without vinegar and MSG) can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill. Reheat over medium until simmering, then add vinegar and MSG.

Today (or tomorrow) would also be a good day to make homemade stock (for your gravy or for soup), using turkey parts (wings, giblets, neck). Here’s a video that shows a good method:

You can use dried herbs instead of the fresh, which are expensive and can be hard to find. I would recommend using fresh parsley.

For the rest of the week, here is what I will be doing (more posts upcoming):


Dry brine turkey.

Make cranberry sauce.


Make mashed potatoes.

Dry bread for dressing.

Peel and cut vegetables for roasting and bread dressing.

Prep and cook brussels sprouts.


Make roasted root vegs.

Prepare Jiffy corn casserole.

Roast turkey.

Reheat mashed potatoes, gravy, brussels sprouts.

Heat rolls (I’m cheating and using Pepperidge Farm frozen french rolls)

Check out previous Thanksgiving posts for more information:

Planning for Thanksgiving 2020

Desserts for the Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving planning and sharing (2019)

This entry was posted in cooking, Holidays, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Thanksgiving Preparations at my house …

  1. Menagerie says:

    Today I’m going shooting with my husband, so no meal prep except going to the grocery store to hopefully pick up everything we need for the holiday meal. I’m thankful that I don’t have to cook all of it.

    I ordered good bread just in case I don’t feel up to making fresh bread, which I have not done since I got hurt. I’m making a cake, sweet potatoes with a pecan topping, and a ham. My son is smoking a turkey , and we have sides and desserts from other family members.

    I’ll probably do my cooking on Wednesday. The ham cook overnight, so that is easy. If I make,bread it might be Wednesday.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. just stevie says:

    Good morning Stella! 😁 Since I’m still working full-time, I’ll be cooking our cranberry pork roast this weekend with the other main dishes, then wrapping them up in platters and just re-heat for the special day. Have a great Thanksgiving! 🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  3. tblakney says:

    I love this website!! I am a contributing cook for the family Thanksgiving lunch!! I would like to ask those on this site for you input on Oyster casserole? Not oyster dressing but a thin crusted oyster casserole.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. tblakney says:

    Thank You,
    but I have done one before that was raved about by the family on a couple of Thanksgivings but like a true tinkerer I am always looking for how someone else does it!!!! LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • stella says:

      What did you do that your family raved about?


      • tblakney says:

        Made my oyster casserole

        Liked by 1 person

        • stella says:

          Are you going to share?

          Liked by 1 person

          • TB4Bama#17 says:

            What I do is I make a base of butter flavored ritz crackers. I take two pints of oysters and drain the liquor (save a third cup of the liquor) and place the oysters on the bed of crackers . Salt and pepper to taste and spread the 1/3 cup of oyster liquor over the bed of cracker crumbs and then cover the oysters with remaining cracker crumbs and bake for 1 hour on 350 .
            3 cups of crushed butter flavored ritz crackers
            2 pints of Gulf Oysters or Maryland Oysters
            Teaspoon of sea salt
            Teaspoon fresh black pepper grind you own

            Liked by 3 people

            • czarowniczy says:

              How y’alljes keep from eatin’ them erstyers right outen the container? A few years back we decided to have an Oyster Thanksgiving’ so I bought a sack of oysters and we ended up eating about a third of the sack as we opened them.

              Liked by 1 person

          • czarowniczy says:

            Frank Davis was a local TV chef/icon, his specialty was local foods as they’d be made locally, he was so in-to Thanksgiving a local station renamed it ‘Franksgiving’, his recipes have formed a basis for some of my stuff for decades. Here’s his recipe for erster dressin’:
            Note 1: please don’t use stale white (e.g.’Wonder’) bread. If you don’t have dense and crusty stale French or Italian bread it’s gonna be mushy.

            Note 2: Frank started selling his own line of seasoning just as Paul Prudhomme did so if you don’t have Frank’s just use a qood quality poultry seasoning. For 1 tsp poultry seasoning add 2 tsp basil, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of thyme and mix in a container before using – sniff and see if it’s too strong and, if so, adjust accordingly.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. czarowniczy says:

    Just roasted a pumpkin today, will have pumpkin and sausage soup on the menu. I have the turkey, will brine it then smoke it (not all the way thru) and finish off roasting in the oven. Also homemade orange/cranberry jelly. Still working on the rest of it…we’re going to arm wrestle over the details.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. czarina33 says:

    The usual is herb seasoned stuffing, but first-time-with-us-for-the-holiday-son likes cornbread stuffing, so that’s now on the menu. Also he said his must-have is rolls, which we never cook.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. czarina33 says:

    I never did anything until Thanksgiving day. My family was only 5-6 people, never any extras. My mother and I did the work, which really wasn’t a big deal, just turkey, stuffing, Waldorf salad, pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream, canned cranberry sauce, gravy, and peas and carrots. Oh, and egg nog from a box with a touch of rum in it. The table setting was the biggest deal, since we put in the table leaves, ironed the best fancy tablecloth and got out the good dishes and silver.

    Now, I’m in charge of the Waldorf salad and the pies. Easy-peasy.

    Liked by 1 person

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