Planning for Thanksgiving 2022

Ten days away!

No free range turkey from a local farm this year. Don’t know why the local farm has no turkeys (maybe avian flu?), and I hear turkeys, particularly large ones, will be harder to get, so I bought a Butterball early from Aldi. Btw, Aldi is selling Butterball turkeys for $1.07 a pound right now. I will do (see Thanksgiving post from 2019), what I have done the past few years, and cut the bird into pieces and dry brine it in the fridge for one or two days before roasting on the big day. Here a link to the recipe and method. You could also just do a simple salt and sugar brine.

The turkey was absolutely delicious and a big hit with everyone (except my vegetarian grandson, of course.) It takes a much shorter time to roast, and the meat is perfectly cooked and juicy.

If you are interested in trying a new method for cooking your turkey (or chicken) or are just interested in the science, this video is for you.

My big worry with my chosen method was that I wouldn’t have the dressing from inside the bird, which I have always loved. I needn’t have worried. The dressing that I made was just as good, if not better and, since it is vegetarian, I didn’t have to make two versions (for previously mentioned vegetarian grandson). If you want to try this, here is the recipe. You can use chicken or turkey stock, if you like, but I used vegetable stock. The fresh herbs are key, and I used french bread, which gives you lots of nice crusty crunch.

Simple Is Best Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
  • 1 pound good-quality day-old white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 large eggs

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 250°. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and set aside. Scatter bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool; transfer to a very large bowl.

  • Meanwhile, melt 3/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in 1 1/4 cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk 1 1/4 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160°, about 40 minutes.

  • Continue to bake dressing, uncovered, until set and top is browned and crisp, 40–45 minutes longer.

Do Ahead: Dressing can be baked (before browning) 1 day ahead. Uncover and let cool, then cover and chill. Uncover and bake until top is browned and crisp, 50–60 minutes.

I always make my own whole berry cranberry sauce, using orange juice or cider as the liquid and flavoring with orange and cinnamon. Since I use juice instead of water, I reduce the amount of sugar. Don’t forget that you can freeze cranberries just as they are in their bags from the grocery store. I still have some from last year.

I haven’t decided on the green vegetable yet, maybe plain steamed broccoli, or roasted brussels sprouts. although this brussels sprouts recipe is really good too.

Rather than having plain roasted butternut squash, which is a delicious side, last year I went with Oven-roasted Root Vegetables, but I omitted the potatoes because I was serving mashed potatoes:

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) halved, seeded and peeled
3 large Yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
1 bunch medium beets, (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and tops trimmed
1 medium red onion
2 large parsnips (about 8 ounces), peeled
1 head garlic, cloves separated, and peeled (about 16)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. (I used foil one-use pans.)

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, olive oil and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don’t steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cook’s Note
Some very large parsnips have a pithy core, which should be trimmed before cooking.

I will also be making my usual Jiffy corn casserole, which the grandsons love, mashed potatoes, gravy, and hot rolls.

Speaking of gravy, this is what I have done for two years now. It’s work, but worth it!

Why-Is-It-So-Good-Gravy

The pies will be made by my daughter and grandson (who just started culinary school), and I imagine one of them will be pumpkin!

What are you planning this year? Any suggestions for side dish alternatives?

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

23 Responses to Planning for Thanksgiving 2022

  1. Stella says:

    Just posted, from one of my favorite, and very reliable, chefs. His recipes always work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Oh no, no on the raisins in the stuffing! But boy, do I agree with him on the liquids. As you know, most of us down here prefer cornbread dressing to bread stuffing, although I do love stuffing so much. You just can’t let the family know. 😉 One of the secrets to really good dressing is putting it in the oven wet. As in having a little of the liquid actually covering the mixture.

      I can’t wait to try his tip about cooking the sage. Sage is tricky for me. Gotta have it, but so easy for it to just overpower things.

      Thanks for posting this!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Stella says:

        I agree about the raisins. I actually like my dressing/stuffing recipe (see above). It is really delicious and very simple, and it isn’t soggy wet when it goes in the oven. While I like a wet stuffing too, this one is light and creamy, like a bread pudding.

        Brian is the greatest. I mean it – his recipes are always well tested and they work!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stella says:

        I plan to use his potato idea – mainly making them earlier in the day and keeping them warm in an instant pot! It seems mine always get made in a rush at the last minute.

        Liked by 1 person

      • czarina33 says:

        Can’t figure out how my mother never made cornbread stuffing, but it was Pepperidge Farm white bread every year, lots of poultry seasoning, with mushrooms, onions and celery. By the time I got to high school, she was adding sage seasoned ground breakfast sausage. Still my favorite.

        Like

        • czarina33 says:

          PS my mother was from Purcell, OK, here mom was from Paris TX and dad from Shreveport LA. Seems southern enough for cornbread stuffing. Her favorite seasonings were sage and cinnamon.

          Like

  2. Pa Hermit says:

    Lots of good ideas for me to try out on a whole host of foods! I always was a fan of meat brines, this takes it to another level!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. czarina33 says:

    Czar’s middle son and his wife are coming from Dallas. They don’t like turkey, so I immediately suggested Czar’s favorite: Cuban pork roast, and they lept on it! Requires three day prep, placing a large roast in a bag after cutting multiple holes and pushing many toes of garlic in, then marinating in liquid sour-orange juice and MojoCriollo. Turn several times to get the good flavor everywhere, then roast low and slow until it falls apart.

    Thinking butternut squash would be good, but the roasted root veggies above would be a nice tribute to a Pollack who loved root veggies. Maybe both.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Menagerie says:

    For those who have small children, here’s my latest thing. I like to have fun with the kids while my family finishes the meal prep. We can do these two treats for them without any mess at all. The only trick is getting them not to eat before the meal.

    I also like to tell them the story of the Pilgrims while we make these easy treats. It’s my way of fighting back against the woke crowd who refuse to celebrate this wonderful American holiday.

    We did these Sunday, and had a blast. For years I’ve been making treats with the kids, but now that I have trouble with my ankle, I’ve found ways to have fun and keep things easier. Truthfully, the kids and the husband like these better than iced and decorated cookies.

    https://www.hersheyland.com/recipes/kisses-acorn-treats.html

    https://lmld.org/pilgrim-hat-cookies/

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Menagerie says:

    I made this recipe last year. It was a big hit. Strange, when I was younger I always stuck to family favorites, but I’ve been a little more willing to change things up as I grow older.

    https://www-flourishingfoodie-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.flourishingfoodie.com/blog/2019/11/13/crispy-parmesan-and-gruyere-potato-gratin?ss_source=sscampaigns&ss_email_id=5dd4c574979af22c3049a3d0&format=amp

    The biggest change for us is discovering smoked turkey. One of my sons got into pellet smoking maybe five years ago, and he’s become a master at it. Of all the wonderful things he’s cooked on that smoker, including some very expensive cuts of meat, my favorite is the turkey. I’m going to try one this year, but not for the big meal.

    One thing that won’t change is my sweet potato casserole recipe, and making derby pies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Stella says:

      That potato recipe is very similar to the one that I make for Christmas. I think mine is simpler. You rub the baking dish with raw garlic, then coat it with butter. Layer potatoes with salt, pepper, and grated Gruyere cheese (instead of Parmesan). Then pour cream over all, add a bit more cheese and bake.

      Liked by 1 person

    • czarina33 says:

      The photos look gorgeous and very alluring. I have never used a mandolin, mostly since I did not do much cooking for 40 years. If I make it, I will likely eat the whole thing.

      Like

  6. Stella says:

    Just checked my local market’s sale ad. Store brand frozen turkeys are 55 cents a pound! Fresh are 99 cents a pound.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. czarina33 says:

    Since new people are coming this year, I shall have to take a poll about desserts. After pumpkin pie (my brother’s fave), and apple pie with cranberries (my fave) of course. Czar’s son is diabetic, so the pumpkin pie we buy at the local store will do, since it is no-sugar (and quite tasty, I must say). My apple pie can be made with Splenda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stella says:

      So many good desserts to choose from! I like my pumpkin steamed pudding with maple custard sauce. I love apple desserts of all kinds. A trifle is good too; that’s usually what I make for Christmas dinner.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. czarina33 says:

    And for snacking I decided to make Chex mix, but with some changes: the store did not have rice Chex or corn Chex, so I bought Crispix cereal, which is rice on one side and corn on the other. Got a box of wheat Chex to go with it. Did not buy pretzels or bagel chips, since I don’t like them anyway. Now I have Chex Mix the way I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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