Tomorrow (Wednesday) I'm going to be getting my turkey all prepped for roasting. My goal eating time is 1 or 2, but since I'm running a race Thanksgiving morning, I'll be gone from 6 -11am. That means the turkey has to be in the oven before I leave, and everything else needs to be ready to cook as soon as I get back.
Here's how I handle my giblets.
I add a bit of fat from the bird, olive oil, or butter to a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, then heat on medium-high, add the giblets, then reduce the heat to medium. I brown them pretty darkly, and season with garlic, salt and pepper (big surprise!). I like a nice, deep, dark brown on the bottom of the pan. This darkness is what makes the great flavor, and is VERY IMPORTANT!!
This can take some time, and you may have to turn the heat down even more. Once these are thoroughly browned. add 4 cups (or more) of water to the pan, plus a chopped onion and a couple stalks of celery. I also season to my taste or add a tablespoon or two of chicken bouillon, too. I'll let this simmer an hour or so.
I strain this broth into a large glass measure.
If I'm using this broth for gravy, I refrigerate it (if the day before Thanksgiving) or freeze it (Thanksgiving day) so that the fat can separate from the broth. I'm assuming, at this point, that you know how to make gravy, and moving on.
If I'm using the broth for the stuffing, I chop the giblets and the veg and add them back to the broth.
Stuffing (from THIS blog post, 2009)
2c diced celery
1m onion, diced (I usually almost puree onion and celery together in the processor to avoid "chunks" of stuff in the stuffing)
1 stick of butter
6 c chicken or turkey broth
chopped cooked giblets
10c dried bread cubes
3 eggs beaten
1-2T poultry seasoning
extra thyme to taste (I put thyme in everything...lol)
Melt butter in a HUGE pot and saute the onion and celery.(you can skip this step if you're using the broth you made with the giblets earlier) Add the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer 10m, stir in remaining ingredients but the eggs. Transfer to a bowl and let cool 5 minutes, stir in eggs.
I put mine right into the turkey at this point, but sometimes I make the stuffing the day before and just leave it in the bowl, cover and refrigerate. This was plenty for our 23lb turkey, plus a small pan.
Roast Turkey with Stuffing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Macaroni and Cheese
Cranberry Sauce (I don't make this...I'm the only one, usually, who eats it)
In preparation for cooking these dishes, yesterday I chopped up all of the vegetable ingredients and put them, measured, in labeled zip-lock bags. I also grated all the the cheese I would need. The sweet potatoes I peeled, cooked and stored in the fridge. I had done this last year with no issues, so I felt confident doing it this year. I also thawed out the pumpkin puree I had in my freezer from earlier in the month. (see The Green Pumpkin Award)
Today I mostly ran errands and cleaned house, but I also made two pumpkin pies. The flavor of these pies made from pumpkin I cooked myself is just awesome. I love my pumpkin pie recipe, too! No weird ingredients! I can put it together without making a trip to the store, and it turns out great every time.
Pumpkin Pie (from this BLOG POST 2009)
I use pumpkin I cooked myself, from pumpkins I buy on sale in October. Just cook and freeze, puree at your convenience. :) This makes a HUGE difference in taste from the canned pumpkin....HUGE!!!!! Aside from that, this recipe has only simple ingredients: nothing expensive or fancy, and makes the best pumpkin pie I've ever had.
2c cooked, mashed pumpkin
1c brown sugar
1/4t each cloves, nutmeg, and ginger
Preheat oven to 450. Combine all ingredients and beat very well. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350, then bake 45 more minutes.
Pastry Dough, all butter.
I have to confess. This is my FAVORITE pie crust recipe, but since I had to make four crusts this year, I cheated and used another recipe for three of them. Sadly, those crusts were inferior and the shrunk. I used the shabby recipe for BOTH pumpkin pies and the bottom of the apple pie. The top of the apple pie was this far superior recipe, and I will never use another again.
1 1/4c flour
1 stick of cold butter, in 1/2in cubes
3-4 T ice water (I ALWAYS have to use 4T)
whisk flour and salt together, then blend in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 3 T of water and stir in w/ a fork until it's evenly incorporated. Squeeze a bit of dough, and if it doesn't hold together add the remaining water 1t at a time, testing as you go.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into four portions. Use the heel of your hand to distribute butter throughout each section, reform into a ball. Refrigerate or roll out for your recipe.