Three Great Tips for Making Your Thanksgiving Day Meal Less Stressful

Tip Number One:

Let your Turkey rest (sit) before you carve it.

The general rule for all meat is to let it rest for one quarter of the time it cooked. So if you roast your turkey for 3 hours, let it sit at least 45 minutes before you carve it.  Go ahead and put a loose tent of aluminum foil on the top. Letting the meat rest allows the juices to redistribute, making the turkey meat more moist. Don’t worry that the turkey isn’t HOT when you serve it.  Just make sure it isn’t cold. Your gravy will be hot and your potatoes will be hot, not to mention other side dishes that are easy to serve hot. It is more important the turkey is moist.

Tip Number Two:

Make your Mashed Potatoes ahead of time.

You can keep them warm over a bain marie (double boiler). Go ahead boil the potatoes and mash them as you normally do. Season them and then place them in metal or ceramic bowl and place that bowl over a pot of just barely simmering water. Press some wax paper onto the potatoes to keep a crust from forming. I use a wooden spoon to prop the bowl a bit away from the edge of the pan allowing some of the steam to escape. Make sure you do not boil the water away so check it every once in a while depending on how far ahead you make the potatoes.  You can easily make your potatoes 1-2 hours before you serve them. Just fluff them up a bit before you put them in the serving dish and set them on the table.

Tip Number Three:

Make your Gravy base ahead of time.

Make a roux. Take 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine and three tablespoons of all purpose flour and put them in a nice heavy sauce pot. Heat them over medium heat and cook them stirring, until they get bubbly and hot, this is a roux. Add two cups of turkey or chicken stock* and bring it all to a boil. This is called a veloute or brown sauce. Cook ten minutes or so until thickened.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled or even octupled and beyond. You can make this days ahead. Just bring it to a boil again  and add the drippings from the roasted turkey. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and there you have it, “instant” gravy.

*Recipe follows.

In a nutshell:

  1. Let your turkey rest before slicing it. Keep it just warm on a

    platter don’t try to keep it hot or you will dry it out.

  1. Make your mashed potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm in a bowl over a pot of simmering water called a bain marie.

  1. Make a gravy base ahead of time and the add the drippings

    from the roasting pan to complete the gravy.

Plus: Don’t use cold plates! Take the chill off the plates by at least taking them out of the cupboard and placing them near the stove.

Happy Thanksgiving and Chew Your Food.

Chicken Stock Recipe

1 part chicken pieces and parts

1 part combination of vegetables

Onions

Carrots

Celery

Garlic

Herbs and spices

Thyme

Bay leaves

Peppercorns

Parsley

Water to cover

Method: Place everything in a stockpot. Bring to a boil. Skim any scum from the top that initially forms. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, cook, cook, 3-10 hours. Strain, discarding the solids. Chill and remove the fat. Use as desired.

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