The Biggest Meal of the Year: I'm not talking
about the night you get cajoled into a Chuck-a-Rama buffet and end up eating
your weight in all-you-can eat meat cooked in lard. I mean
Thanksgiving, that culinary
holiday to beat all, where the only
cajoling involves finding a good place to take a nap when it's all over.
In case you're wondering, this is my
holiday. Once a year in America, we prove that we don't need
advertising and fancy packaging to spend time with our families. I
love it! Thanksgiving may be the one pure holiday left, simply because
it sits in the shadow of the biggest commercial cash cow this side of the
north pole. (To my knowledge they haven't started packaging snickers
bars shaped like turkeys.) Thanksgiving remains a tradition of
home-cooking and family
memories, and I hope it stays that way.
Ashley and I worked together on some great recipes to
help make the memories this year. There are step-by-step instructions
on cooking the perfect bird, along with cornbread stuffing (the only way to
go in my opinion), sweet potatoes, and chocolate pecan pie that will carry
you right into dreamland
with it's rich flavor. I've also included some other suggestions from
the site at the bottom of this page. Happy Thanksgiving!
Step-by-step instuctions to make this
The Day Before
Turkey- Brine the turkey for two hours. Pat dry with
paper towels and place it on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a cooling
rack. Refrigerate uncovered to let it dry 4-6 hours. Butter the
skin. Salt and pepper the cavities and skin. Cover with plastic
wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Rolls- Make the dough and refrigerate before the first rise. It will rise
slowly in the refrigerator for about 8 hours. It then maintains the
rise for another 4-8 hours. You can also make the dough, let it rise,
shape the rolls, then cover and refrigerate overnight. They can be
made the day of as well.
Pie- Make the crust and
refrigerate or freeze. This can be done several weeks ahead of time.
Make the filling, cool it and fill the crust. Don't place the pecans
on yet. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Make the cornbread, cool, and cover.
Rolls- Shape, cover and refrigerate if you haven't shaped
them yet. Start the dough if you didn't make it the day before.
Mashed potatoes- Scrub and quarter the potatoes.
Place in a large pot of cold water. Measure the milk and butter in a
microwaveable container and refrigerate.
Scrub, peel and cube. Place in a bowl of cold water. Slice the
onions, cover and refrigerate. Chop and measure the garlic and fresh
herbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Place pecans on top. Bake and set aside to cool. This is good to
do in the morning to free up the oven for later.
you won't regret this step!
Three hours before
Fill the cavity with the garlic, lemons, and herbs. Bake according to
Rolls- Remove from the refrigerator and
set on the counter to rise.
One hour before
Boil the potatoes.
Sweet potatoes- Sautee according to
the instructions and bake. Sautee and set aside if there isn't room in
Turkey- Finish baking it and allow it to rest
before slicing it. It's good to have the turkey done with time to
spare to allow it to rest and free up the oven for the rest of the items.
Slice and place on a serving dish.
Mashed potatoes- Finish
Sweet potatoes- Bake them.
Stuffing- Bake it.
Rolls- Bake them.