The first Thanksgiving that I was responsible for cooking a family feast, I was 20 and my friend's grandmother was going blind, so I offered to make dinner. As I walked through the door, the Mexican-American grandmother smiled sweetly and said that she had made things easier for me. She had boiled the turkey already! Well, thank you. She usually made a mole-style turkey dinner, first stewing the bird as you would a chicken. Since the turkey had not been boiled to the point of falling off the bone, I slathered it with peanut oil, put it in a roasting bag, and heated it in the oven. Covered with gravy and cranberry sauce, it tasted fine. Grandmother remarked that she never had liked turkey before. It was always so dry. Let us hope cooks preparing a turkey dinner for the first time tomorrow will not face the challenge of my first big Thanksgiving meal.
A little planning will help make the cooking day go smoothly. Cooking ahead is the key to an exhaustion-free day tomorrow.
First, for tonight's dinner, make something fast that will leave no leftovers. The refrigerator space is needed for the big feast. We are doing a stir-fry. All of these items can be made or started in advance:
3 1/2 c. cornbread crumbs
3 1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs (May use white.)
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 T. onion, minced
1 c. celery, chopped
2 tsp. salt (or less)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. savory seasoning
2 or 3 tsp. sage
1 egg, beaten slightly 1/2 c. milk
2 c. hot chicken broth (Canned or homemade.)
Crumble bread in large bowl. Melt butter and lightly saute onion and celery. Add to crumb mixture. Add other ingredients and mix well. If dressing seems too dry, add more broth. Bake in buttered shallow pans at 400 F about 15 to 25 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.
For an excellent step-by-step guide to making turkey gravy, complete with helpful photos, see see Christine's Easy Homemade Gravy recipe. Her tip demonstrating how to use a freezer bag to separate fat from broth will be helpful to cooks making gravy for the first time without a gravy separator. Great post. I have not added the small amount of soy sauce to my turkey gravy before, as she does, but I think I'll try it. Happy Thanksgiving cooking!