I’ve finally found some time to write up our Thanksgiving meal. Everything was wonderful this year! A simple meal, with incomparable flavor. We purchased a Diestel free-range broad-breasted turkey, but next year I’d like to try a heritage bird, maybe from a local farmer. I hope this will give you some ideas for your Christmas dinner, if you like to serve turkey. Otherwise they’ll have to wait until next year!
Starting with the Turkey: We used the dry-brine method for the second year in a row. This will give you a juicy, flavorful bird, without the hassle of dealing with a huge bag of brine: A Tale of Two Turkeys. I chose the more traditional Sage and Bay Salt Rub: Rub Recipe. In the bottom of the roasting pan I poured 1qt. of chicken broth and added the neck and gizzard. I prefer to cook the turkey until the breast registers 165° on a remote probe, to avoid tough, dry meat. Our bird was about 16lbs. so it took only 2 hours and was ready sooner than we expected. We took the bird from the oven and moved it to a platter and completely wrapped it in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Then I placed the turkey in the microwave to stay warm while preparing the rest of the meal. It stayed in there for about an hour and was still warm and juicy when I served it so that worked out pretty well!
When the turkey was done I put the Northwest Gratin in the oven as well as our dressing. I prefer cornbread dressing and always make my own cornbread. This dressing from Sunset magazine is perfect and will be my go-to dressing recipe for years to come. Everyone loved it! Cornbread Dressing.
This is the recipe I follow for gravy and it turns out silky-smooth and delicious every year: Gravy Made Easy. In addition to the pan drippings, I used my own homemade chicken broth which had been waiting in the freezer just for Thanksgiving! 😉 I also had extra chicken fat on hand for the drippings.
I also served some Brussels sprouts. They are easy to make; the trick is to not overcook them. Wash your sprouts and remove blemished outer layers. Then cut off woody stems and slice them in half. In a large sauté pan with a lid, place the Brussels sprouts and a small amount of water – about ¾c. or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the lid on top and turn heat up to medium-high. When water boils, let them steam for about 5 minutes and then drain in a colander. Chop a few slices of bacon and cook them in the pan until crispy, then add the drained Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Let them cook a few more minutes until browned before serving.
This Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney was a delightful addition to the holiday table this year and you can be sure that I’ll be making it annually from now on.
Since it’s nice to have something to soak up the gravy I made a loaf of Anadama Bread, following the recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Anadama bread has cornmeal and molasses in it to give it a rich flavor.
We served supper early this year, and had another course in the evening. I set out some charcuterie and pickles, served with crostini and gluten-free crackers. On the board are: Smoked Salmon, Chicken-liver Paté, Salami, Black Garlic, and homemade mustard. For pickles I served: Pickled Corn with Peppers and Onions, Pickles Asparagus, and Kosher Dill Pickles. All of these are homemade and lacto-fermented, full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes which improve digestion.
Well, that’s everything! All the food was really delicious this year. It’s always a lot of work to prepare such a large meal, but these were fairly simple recipes so I wasn’t too stressed. Now, I generally advise that you not try any new recipes when you’re preparing a special meal or having company for dinner, but I can guarantee that these recipes are fool-proof and will be a welcome addition to your holiday meal so go ahead and give them a try. I may just serve the exact same meal next year!