Last year my cousin Ryan, feeling overwhelmed by the task of hosting his first Thanksgiving dinner, wrote to me for advice. I'm reposting the advice I gave him here, along with the roast/braise method.
The bottom line is this and it's the mantra I want all anxious cooks out there to repeat continually: Everything will be fine. Really. Everything will be fine. Really. (Thank you @SamSifton.)
Below is a collection of posts that cover all the fundamental dishes. Nothing new here; the good stuff always stays the same. Remember, no one step is particularly hard, so it's simply a matter of being organized. For last minute questions, I'll be taking them online at the @Food52 hotline, Thanksgiving day from 2-3.
Homemade Turkey Stock
The Original Roasted/Braised Turkey Post with Illustrative Photos and Slide Show.
If you want a traditional roast, here's how: Roast Turkey, from my book How To Roast.
In my opinion, gravy is the single most important preparation of the day; it brings every thing together. Here's how I do it: Gravy
Holiday Dressing (It's basically a bread pudding; make any variations you want, such as adding sausage.)
My dad's Cranberry Sauce.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all. May your holiday be bountiful and peaceful and filled with love and great food!
If you liked this post, take a look at these links:
- My past posts on Aged Eggnog, Spicy Orange Chicken, and Chicken Romano.
- Looking to grill your turkey? Try my Spatchcocked Grilled Turkey recipe.
- Here is Alton Brown's recipe for pumpkin pie; essential for any holiday dessert table.
- Check out the Washington's Post article on the best way to cook turkey.
© 2016 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2016 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.
Orange Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12-ounce bag cranberries
- 2 cups orange juice just enough to cover the cranberries
- ¼ cup Meyer's rum optional
- ¾ cup brown sugar less if you like it more tart
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier optional
- zest from ½ orange or to taste
- Combine all ingredients except the Grand Marnier and orange zest in a pot. Simmer on medium-low to low until thick, about an hour and a half, or until you have 2 cups. Taste, and add more sugar if you wish, but it should be somewhat tart.
- Allow to cool.
- Serve cold or at room temperature, adding the Grand Marnier (if using) and, last, the orange zest before serving.
- ½ spanish onion, cut into small dice
- ¼ cup turkey fat or drippings or butter
- 4 to 6 tbls all-purpose flour
- 1 quart turkey stock
- salt to taste
- lemon juice or white wine vinegar to taste
- In a medium saucepan, combine the onion and fat over medium heat and cook until the onions are completely tender and just beginning to brown (if you want to brown them, go ahead), 5 or 10 minutes.
- If you want a thin gravy, add 4 tablespoons of flour, for a thicker gravy, add 6 tablespoons. Continue to cook the onions with the flour till the flour lightly browns and loses its raw smell.
- Turn the burner to high and pour in the stock, whisking continuously as you do.
- Keep cooking until the gravy comes to a boil and thickens. Season with salt to taste. Skim and discard any foam that collects on the side of the pan. Add a few drops of lemon juice or white wine vinegar.