Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thanksgiving Trifecta

This year we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home. My responsibility was the Thanksgiving trifecta - turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. I kept things as simple as possible, given Thursday was my only day off from work. I cut a few corners with packets of gravy and potatoes made the day before so that my focus on Thursday could be cooking the turkey and enjoying our company! Bagheera, our cat, was happy to keep the seats warm for our guests.

The BEST Mashed potatoes and Easy Gravy

4 - 6 servings of potatoes
8 servings of gravy

4 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 of a teaspoon of salt
4 Tablespoons of butter
1/3 of a cup of half and half
4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese - we used Beecher's Flagship Cheese, a Seattle gem!
Salt and pepper

2 packets of turkey gravy mix
Bacon fat

In a large pot, cover the potatoes with 1" of water before bringing to a boil. Add salt and cook for 20 - 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain and transfer potatoes into a large bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed, beat the potatoes to your desired texture. Add the half and half, butter, cheese, and salt and pepper and incorporate into the potatoes. 

My preference is super smooth, while my Mom and my Husband love to keep them lumpy. I made the potatoes on Wednesday and reheated them in the oven just before Thanksgiving dinner - easy peasy!

Prepare the gravy mix according to the package instructions (likely just add water and bring to a boil on the stove top)

While the gravy is simmering, add a spoonful of bacon fat and stir will to incorporate.

Roasted Turkey

More than enough turkey for 6 people and leftovers for a week...

One whole turkey, defrosted
     Ours was already brined and weighed 14.5 pounds 
10 sage leaves
1/2 of an onion, cut in two
1 - 2 whole carrots, cut in two
1 - 2 rosemary sprigs
4 Tablespoons of butter
     2 Tablespoons for melting 
     2 Tablespoons (at room temperature) for applying to the turkey
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Twine for trussing the turkey

Remove giblets and neck from the turkey. Rinse the turkey in cool water and pat dry, then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Be sure to position the oven rack low enough that the turkey will fit!

Season the inside of the bird with pepper, then insert the onion, carrots, and rosemary in the turkey. Slide your fingers between the breast of the turkey and the skin, then repeat with hands covered in butter to coat. Finally stuff 10 sage leaves under the skin. 

Truss the turkey. If you're like me, you need those simple instructions to be brought to life by Alton Brown. Finally spread butter on the entire turkey before setting it, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Pour 1" of water into the bottom of the pan.

Combine the additional 2 Tablespoons of butter and 4 Tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan and melt to use for basting. 

Roughly 3 - 4 hours before dinner is served, insert the turkey into the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F. Every hour baste the turkey with the melted butter and olive oil combination. Begin testing for doneness after 2.5 hours. The thickest part of the thigh should be 170 degrees F on a thermometer. Once the turkey is finished, transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil. Allow the bird to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. 

I nominated our friend to carve the turkey, although there's also an Alton Brown video for that! What would we do without him?

Bryce made stuffing and ribs while our friends brought homemade rolls, and corn casserole. 

The spread of food was exceptional!

I did my best to make sure my food wasn't touching!


Thanksgiving is a great day and a delicious meal. The fun really starts once the Christmas season begins, for me! We haven't missed the tree lighting at Pike Place Market since we moved to Seattle. 

I hope you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you're looking forward to the Christmas season as much as I am!


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