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View Full Version : Thanksgiving fantasy (not THAT kind, you filthy sod)



Gravity
11-25-2015, 09:58 PM
Okay, we know what you're cooking tomorrow, but if you were given unlimited time, money, and resources, what would you WANT to cook for Thanksgiving?

C'mon, let your freak flag fly! :hat:

cray
11-25-2015, 10:20 PM
turkey, man.
because it's the only time of year i'd ever make turkey.

BubbleGumBG
11-25-2015, 10:31 PM
I would hire a celebrity chef to cook it all for me. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, all the fixin's. It's not Thanksgiving without all of the traditional foods, but if someone could prepare it for me and make it taste just a tad better (because I'm good, but I'm no pro), that would be fantastic!

jjdebenedictis
11-25-2015, 11:01 PM
I would hire a celebrity chef to cook it all for me. Yeah, this, but for slightly different reasons. My fantasy has less to do with cost or the taste and more to do with the hideous amount of work both before and after. I want someone else to cook it all and then clean up afterward.

And, y'know, not give anyone botulism.

Myrealana
11-25-2015, 11:07 PM
As far as I'm concerned, there is no easier meal to cook for a big crowd than a traditional turkey dinner. With the right planning and prep, it can all come together easier than an Easter ham or Christmas roast ever will, and cheaper, too.

That said, if I had all the time, money and kitchen space I could wish for, I would make a homemade turducken--just to do it once.

mrsmig
11-26-2015, 12:01 AM
I'd still want to do all the cooking (and I'd still roast a turkey) but I would most definitely hire myself a scullery maid or two to do all the cleanup.

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 12:05 AM
I mean, I eat turkey once a year--maybe twice, if we do it for Christmas. It's not my favorite meal, and for us at least, it's not easy. We've got a couple adequate cooks in the house, but no one who can dependably roast a bird. So, it's a challenge, and it's hard to get it just right. It gets dry really easily, and then you need gravy, and how the hell do you get gravy out of a turkey? The drippings dry before the bird is cooked. What are you supposed to do? Gather the drippings sporadically throughout the roasting cycle, put 'em in a separate bowl, and hope you have enough to pour over all the white meat? Serious question...

MaryMumsy
11-26-2015, 12:15 AM
Oh, Maze Runner, it's easy.

When you prep the turkey, take the neck and giblets and throw them in a pot. Add some celery stalks, some large chop onion, about a tablespoon of poultry seasoning, and about a tablespoon of kitchen bouquet. Add enough water to cover by 2-3 inches, and let it simmer. If the water gets too low, add more.

When your turkey is done, and you take it out of the pan, use some of the water mixture in the bottom of the pan to gather all the yummy bits. Then pour it into your gravy pot. Chop the celery and onion into smaller bits. If you want to pick the neck meat and chop up the giblets, add them back to the pot. You now have gravy flavoured broth. Make a thick slurry with flour and cold water. Bring your gravy broth up to almost a boil, pour in the slurry, stirring all the time. Let it simmer till it thickens, and you have gravy.

And to go back to the original question: yes! someone to do all the work, while I sit there with a glass of wine and supervise.

MM

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 12:28 AM
Oh, no, Mrs. Mig, I wish you wouldn't have done that, because it was close to how we've "attempted" to make gravy in the past. I think what was different was that you were using some kind of turkey stock or something, whereas we've just used water.

And, MaryMumsy, we've always just tossed the neck and the giblets away. Now, when you say giblets, you mean like the liver and such, right?

Haggis
11-26-2015, 12:41 AM
Oh, no, Mrs. Mig, I wish you wouldn't have done that, because it was close to how we've "attempted" to make gravy in the past. I think what was different was that you were using some kind of turkey stock or something, whereas we've just used water.

And, MaryMumsy, we've always just tossed the neck and the giblets away. Now, when you say giblets, you mean like the liver and such, right?
I'm not MM, but like her I use the neck, heart and gizzard to make stock, then pull the meat from the neck, chop up the heart and gizzard (not the liver...it breaks up in the simmering water), and add it to the gravy. I make a roux with turkey fat and flour, then add the drippings (deglazed with white wine) and enough of the stock to make the amount I need. I gently poach the liver for my Chihueys. Dogs need Thanksgiving love too.

Ari Meermans
11-26-2015, 12:43 AM
Being able to do anything different is just a pipedream. I tried this year, but everyone insisted on the "traditional. Since they all bitched griped last year because dinner is never on the table before 1:00 or 1:30, I'm laying-out fruit, cinnamon twists, and honey-walnut cream cheese spread for them to knosh on. I had a thought: why not have one of these (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/13462/cornucopia/?src=VD_Summary) for displaying the knoshings? I made extra bread dough when I made the dough for the rolls, it's in the oven now and it's purty and dead easy. <G>


My fantasy has less to do with cost or the taste and more to do with the hideous amount of work both before and after. I want someone else to cook it all and then clean up afterward.

JJ, I established a rule 35 years ago: The cook doesn't do dishes and the "head cook" never does the dishes. Haven't done breakfast, lunch, or dinner dishes in all that time. As usual, I'll be getting up from the table and walking away to rest.

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 12:46 AM
Sounds great, Haggis, gonna give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving. There are always things to be thankful for. We're gonna make a party out of it.

Gravity
11-26-2015, 12:59 AM
Great answers! Keep 'em coming! :)

Haggis
11-26-2015, 01:06 AM
Sounds great, Haggis, gonna give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving. There are always things to be thankful for. We're gonna make a party out of it.
Hope it works out well for you. One more thing. Be sure to cut off the connective tissue around the gizzard. And (someone help me here) I think the ratio of flour to fat is 2::1 .

MaryMumsy
11-26-2015, 01:15 AM
Yup, Haggis had it right with the giblets, and especially trimming the gizzard of stuff that looks like you wouldn't want to eat it. For a roux, the proportions are 50/50. I always use slurry. For a thin slurry (it will take a lot longer to thicken) 3 water to 1 flour, thicker slurry 2 water to 1 flour.

And a tip for all of you: if your gravy is too runny, or you got too much milk in your mashed potatoes, Instant Mashed Potatoes! Just add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

MM
who has been the Thanksgiving chef since 1974

mrsmig
11-26-2015, 01:19 AM
Oh, no, Mrs. Mig, I wish you wouldn't have done that, because it was close to how we've "attempted" to make gravy in the past. I think what was different was that you were using some kind of turkey stock or something, whereas we've just used water.

And, MaryMumsy, we've always just tossed the neck and the giblets away. Now, when you say giblets, you mean like the liver and such, right?

If you just use water, your gravy is going to be pretty wan.

I usually make turkey stock in advance of Thanksgiving and freeze it until needed - I use whatever parts are available. In the past, when I've brined my turkey, I've ended up with very little in the way of drippings, and I work around that by loosening the turkey skin on the breast and thighs and rubbing herb butter on the flesh before roasting. That kicks a little more flavored fat into the pan.

If you're cooking your bird with the stuffing inside (rather than baking it alongside), that's also going to decrease the amount of drippings since the stuffing absorbs the drippings.

I'll repeat something I said in my deleted post, because I think it may be at the root of your problem: if your turkey is coming out dry and your drippings are dried out as well, you're probably cooking your bird too long.

Silva
11-26-2015, 01:22 AM
This year is probably the last year we will be be going over to family for the holidays, so I have given a lot of thought towards starting our own family traditions in future years. I'm not so much interested in most of the traditional foods as they tend to be boring or disgusting to me. I'm imagining a spread like such:


Fancy meats and cheeses
Homemade butterhorns
Various kinds of olives
Artichoke hearts
Various kinds of pickled cucumbers and probably other pickled/fermented things
Cranberry jelly (not sauce)

Homemade sparkling cider in various flavors (blueberry ginger, caramel apple)

Homemade maple pecan pie
Homemade New York style cheesecake
Probably other homemade desserts because my husband likes making that stuff. Apple pie with streusel topping? Peach pie? Chocolate mousse? This may be a wildcard slot.


You will noticed I have designed the main meal to be lighter in substance so as to appropriately leave room for the richest and best part of the holidays-- though some families I knew growing up would make the pies the day before and have them for breakfast the day of, before delving into the feast-creating process.

MaryMumsy
11-26-2015, 01:28 AM
If you just use water, your gravy is going to be pretty wan.

Thus the need for celery, onions, poultry seasoning, and kitchen bouquet.

And you may have noticed I didn't mention salt or pepper. I don't cook with them. Mom was sensitive to salt, didn't put it in anything, and I never learned how. It is always available on the table for those who want it.

MM

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 01:31 AM
Thanks, mrsmig, I think you could be right about overcooking. Tricky for us because you can't eat undercooked poultry, right? So I guess we err on the side of caution. Turkey stock, I guess you can pick up at the market. Thanks very much, hope you have a great day.

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 01:33 AM
If you just use water, your gravy is going to be pretty wan.

Thus the need for celery, onions, poultry seasoning, and kitchen bouquet.

And you may have noticed I didn't mention salt or pepper. I don't cook with them. Mom was sensitive to salt, didn't put it in anything, and I never learned how. It is always available on the table for those who want it.

MM

Kitchen bouquet, is that like a gravy concentrate? I think I've used soemthing called like Gravy Master or something like that for beef gravy? Is that the same kind of thing?

mrsmig
11-26-2015, 01:35 AM
Thanks, mrsmig, I think you could be right about overcooking. Tricky for us because you can't eat undercooked poultry, right? So I guess we err on the side of caution. Turkey stock, I guess you can pick up at the market. Thanks very much, hope you have a great day.

Glad to help, and I hope your day is great, too.

Thing about overcooked turkey is, it can't be fixed. Undercooked turkey, though - you can slice it off the bone and give it a quick nuke, or run it under the broiler until it's done to your liking. You might want to invest in an instant-read thermometer to judge when your bird is done, and be sure to give it time to rest once it's out of the oven (15-30 minutes).

I've never had any luck finding turkey stock in grocery stores, which is why I make my own. No reason at all you can't use chicken stock, though.

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 01:39 AM
That's what I was gonna ask you. Chicken Stock, right. We had a food thermometer, probably a good idea to get one.

hahahaha, you know what's funny, with big, special meals like this? All the forethought, all the shopping, searching for recipes, the preparation and the cooking and the cleaning, and the eating is a small fraction of the time involved. Eh, it's the ritual, I guess, and the anticipation, and for us, the football. Then the music and the partying. Have a ball, and thank you so much.

MaryMumsy
11-26-2015, 02:45 AM
Kitchen bouquet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_Bouquet

Great stuff. You usually find it where the worchestershire sauce and tabasco are.

We have a chain here called Sprouts. It's kind of like a farmer's market, healthy foods store. They have cartons of organic turkey stock right next to the chicken stock. Don't know if they always have it, but I saw it Monday when I was getting my veggies.

Ken
11-26-2015, 03:38 AM
The usual fare, with this difference.

It would be the best quality. E.g. the best quality turkey. And very fresh. Fish too and also great quality, granted that'd be okay ?

Maze Runner
11-26-2015, 03:49 AM
The usual fare, with this difference.

It would be the best quality. E.g. the best quality turkey. And very fresh. Fish too and also great quality, granted that'd be okay ?

Yeah, the best quality would be the way to go. We got a Butterball, frozen, which would not be our preference, but we didn't have time to look around for a fresh one. Got it thawing in the fridge right now.

Hope you have a great day, Ken. I remember the Thanksgiving parade in Manhattan very well. The last time I was there I stayed in a hotel that overlooked the parade and caught the floats that way.

Ken
11-26-2015, 03:59 AM
And a very fine Thanksgiving to you as well :-)

Festive food is great. Parades too. But of course the most important thing is the company. Have that and you've got a meal richer than any king's !

Good music helps too. (Getz. Gillespie.)

ScottyDM
11-26-2015, 12:34 PM
There have been times in the past when I've had to work several states away from home. One such time I had a buddy (let's call him Hubby) who was having marital issues--the wife (let's call her Estranged) left him and the kids for another guy. Thanksgiving rolled around and Estranged wanted to make sure Hubby and the kids had the proper experience, so she called Hubby and instructed him how to cook the turkey and the rest of the meal. Estranged was to show up and eat with them, then it was off to Boyfriend's to eat a second meal with his family. Estranged invited a woman to dinner (let's call her OW) who was interested in Hubby (and OW's mentally-retarded daughter was invited too). I suspect Estranged was hoping Hubby would take an interest in OW, so that Estranged could feel less guilty. :Wha:

Since I couldn't make it home that year, Hubby invited me to eat with them.:popcorn: I know, right? :D

I got there an hour before dinner and discovered that Estranged had given Hubby a recipe guaranteed to destroy the bird--all night long in the oven, with some poor sap (Hubby) to wake up every hour and baste the bird. Fortunately Divine Providence intervened and the oven broke down well before dawn. Chaos reigned as Hubby rarely cooked anything complex, OW's hands were full with her daughter, and Estranged was half Native American from Arizona--her expertise was homemade tortillas and the like. Estranged wanted mashed potatoes and gravy. She had a bag of potatoes, but no clue how to fix them. Fortunately I did, and I also managed to get some pretty decent gravy from the bottom of the pan, despite the slight "over cooked" flavor.

During dinner is when I discovered Estranged was a wizard at Southwester cookery. Under the circumstances, it would have been awesome if dinner had been a chopped up turkey breast simmering in tomatillo and chili sauce, wrapped in homemade tortillas, and on the side spicy rice and black beans. As for OW, while Hubby was friendly with her and felt great compassion for the daughter, he didn't take the bait.

Hmmm.:idea: You know, this might make a crazy scene for a novel. Except I shouldn't use it, as my buddy and I keep in touch and he'd recognize I stole this painful episode from his life. Someone should use it. Shame if it went to waste.

------
Another year when I was working away from home I could get time off for Thanksgiving, but not a lot. I had to work Monday and Tuesday, so I thought I'd have some fun at work. That Monday night I got a Cornish game hen (about 1/3 the size of a chicken), stuffed it and baked it. Tuesday I took it into work as my lunch, along with a few traditional side dishes. Got a lot of slack jaws from coworkers. Totally worth it.

------
This year our daughter is cooking dinner. Her first.

Gravity
11-27-2015, 01:03 AM
Great answers, folks! Happy Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful time with family and friends! Rock on! ;)

Maze Runner
11-27-2015, 08:32 PM
I've got one word for you people: Spatchcock! We need it and we're not ashamed.

MaryMumsy
11-27-2015, 09:57 PM
I'll admit to not knowing what that is. It sounds like you can probably have my share.

I survived the day. I was told the turkey was the best ever. The gravy was awesome (even for me), and I did indeed have to use a packet of instant mashed potatoes. The dressing was meh.

I think I was helped by the large bloody Mary I made myself about two hours out from sitting down time :hooray:

MM

Maze Runner
11-27-2015, 11:10 PM
I'll admit to not knowing what that is.

Really? I'm surprised. i thought I'd be the only one who'd never heard it before. It's basically butterflying the turkey. Cut the backbone out, flip it, and crunch it flat. It was good! Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. Mash potatoes were great, yams, stuffing wasn't very good but we had a pretty good one. Gravy--I emptied the drippings a few times throughout the cooking so that they didn't dry on the bottom of the pot, we found turkey stock but not kitchen bouquet--oh, one thing I did, was take a few pieces of turkey meat, white and dark that were just a little bit rare, and put them in the gravy, and cook on a low heat for a while, and I have to say that it worked. The gravy was happening. Good dinner all around-thanks for all the tips, they helped a lot.

Maze Runner
11-27-2015, 11:15 PM
I've got one word for you people: Spatchcock! We need it and we're not ashamed.

Hahahaha, just realized I wrote we "need" it. Meant to say we "did" it. Ha, quite a slip up.

Here it is if anybody's interested. http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/how-to-spatchcock-cook-turkey-thanksgiving-fast-easy-way-spatchcocked-slideshow.html