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What's your Thanksgiving spin?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

It's the best food day of the year, Happy Thanksgiving to all and a wonderful start to the holiday season.  Let the pounds roll!


So we all basically have the same version of turkey dinner, we got the bird, the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce, the ham, and the pumpkin pie.  What dish makes your T-day dinner stand out?  Are you putting an ethnic spin in your recipes?  Are you trying something new and daring this year?


We are traveling for T-day and I'm not responsible for any dishes this year although I normally make ceyenne/allspice/cinammon sweet potato mash.  Instead I'm bringing bagels for the hostess with an assortment of home-made spreads including honey cinnamon butter, pumpkin butter, lox/scallion cream cheese and pommegranite cream cheese.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

Oh well I'm disappointed not to hear from anyone but hopefully everyone is having a wonderful and tasty Thanksgiving and I look forward to hearing about everyone's new recipe experiments tomorrow.  Gobble gobble!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #3 of 9
Not a holiday we celebrate here, KK so no input from me!

I hope the US members all enjoy their own special dishes.
post #4 of 9

No pro-gigs this thanksgiving, just family meal, and since it all fell on me,

(joys of being a chef eh?) and since I'm blarky-tired of turkey-with-the occasional-ham

every year, I opted to stuff a pork tenderloin with 2 different fillings, seared and wrapped

in bacon and puffpastry. "Stuffed-Pork-Wellington", I suppose

Tender, juicy and above all NOT poultry. licklips.gif

Sides were more traditional, with the exception of purple potatoes with Basil

and feta chunks.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

The wellington sounds great, did everyone enjoy that?  I find that people can get very angry if you don't serve them turkey.  I don't love turkey (I'll eat it) so I always opt for ham, it usually goes untouched while the turkey is destroyed.    No ham at our hosts' house but we were lucky that they chose a heritage bird and brined it, it was delicious indeed.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #6 of 9

I have to stick to fairly traditional fare for Thanksgiving to keep the family happy. I experiment with turkey at other times of the year. But I did a new to me technique this year.


Some years back, Nicko mentioned a technique he'd seen Pepin do and that he (Nicko) had been doing it that way for a while with good results. I saw the Jacques and Julia re-broadcast of it earlier in the week and liked how it worked and the cooking speed as well. But they didn't mention much the oven settings or time, or maybe I was distracted when they did. So I had to do a little googling to get the rest of the info  which I'll share below. First page is a discussion of the broadcast, which they did off the cuff without a recipe it turns out, but the recipe info they generated from the broadcast is on the second page.


I was cooking a 21 pound bird and I was interested only in the technique, heat and timing info. Based on Nicko's comments that it cooks in half the time, I figured I'd be into it 2 hours instead of 1 1/2 and that was correct. Beyond that, I used my own seasonings and stuffing approach.


I cut apart the bird the day before and made stock from the trimmings to have for making the stuffing and gravy.


The day of I koshered the turkey with a half cup of diamond kosher salt with about 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and 1/8 teaspoon of rubbed saged mixed in. Let it sit for an hour at room temp--this is also when I let the bird come to room temp right before roasting. Rinse the bird well of all salt. While the bird is koshering, I mixed up a no-salt rub for it. Onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, sage, black pepper, sumac, ground california chile, and a little paprika. Rub this over the breast, and thighs.  Stuffed the thighs. I tried out what I saw Pepin do in the broadcast where he wrapped the stuffed thigh in foil to hold it together while cooking rather than tying.  Mounded the rest of the stuffing on the baking sheet and put the breast over it. It all fit on one rimmed baking sheet, jelly roll size.


Was voted my best turkey yet and the best stuffing as well since you get the stuffed effect with all the turkey juices running through it but it cooks well from being in contact with the metal of the baking sheet. Easy to carve as it's already broken down into pieces and more stable as well.


I've been encouraged to do it this way again next time. I think I will as I also think it was my best turkey ever.  I'd tie the thighs next time I think. The thigh skin was a little flabby from the foil protection and they were hard to handle with only a foil wrapping holding it together. Part of it was probably my much larger bird than Pepin used.


Made a second stock from the breast, wings and drumstick bones and still had a little left from the first batch as well.


Overall, a little more work up front, but not much and yielded excellent results.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #7 of 9

I'm sorry I didn't see this thread sooner


Today is our Thanksgiving at work.

The boss treats all of the employees each year.

The boss does the stuffing and bird, while I do the rest.

Many are the family favorites, like putting walnuts, orange juice and Grand Marnier in the cranberries.

They also do a sausage stuffing that is heavy on the sage and poultry seasoning.

I make sweet potatoes with maple syrup and butter, mashed potatoes, and brussel sprouts all from our garden.

The pies are mincemeat and pumpkin, also from our garden.

This will be my 15th year doing this.


I got a 24.77# fresh Tom this year. The Amish raise them in our area.

What I wanted to express was the interesting way in which the turkey is baked.

Layers of cheesecloth are drenched in melted butter and this is draped across the entire breast, legs and tucked underneath the thighs.

Temperature is set at 350 and for the first hour nothing is done, then every 20 minutes for the next 4 1/2 to 5 hours the bird is basted with the drippings.

First time I saw it, I thought it was overkill and laughed to myself, but the bird was moist and juicy through out, and I have done it this way ever since.

The downside though is that the house never smells like turkey.....only cooking butter......

you  know that smell that butter takes on just before it starts to burn....but never does..??


Anyway.....cocktails are at 6:30 with Champagne and Parmesan Crostinis and dinner is at 7:30...............Bon Appetit 

post #8 of 9

Koukouvagia, yes it was enjoyed, but just my immed family this year, so I could play

the "you-no-lika, you cooka-sumdin-yerself" card.  But I didnt have to. lol


But it was actually TWO different dishes--since it was an 8lb tenderloin, I cut it in half.

Note I didnt brine either half....

1st half I stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, cheese onions garlic and spices, saute'd first in

broth and red wine, to tender and au sec. Tied off and seared with a standard rub, then to the elec roasting pan

(with some liquid in bottom) at 325° til 145° internal, covered to rest.


2nd one,  stuffed with dried fruit and shallots, also reduced first with wine/broth, to

release the sugars in the fruit. Also rubbed and seared (for consistency, I wanted a comparison)

Then I wrapped it in turkey bacon (on hand) then wrapped in puff pastry. This one I

baked in a 350° convection oven to 145°.



1st one was a bit dry.

The wellington fruit stuffed one was perfect, tender and juicy.


I'm still analyzing the results... cudda been the different cooking methods, but

more likely the bacon and pastry wrap saved the day.


Chefross: Ive never heard of that method. But given it's Amish, it's worthy of study--

they do know bout cookin.  And I know I have an old Amish cookbook around here somewhere.


Phatch: sounds interestin too, I shall have to study that more closely.


And I've still never deep fried a turkey in cotton oil or such.

2 or 3 years ago it was all the rage.

Anyone try that method this year?

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Phatch I'm impressed you attempted that and it worked.  It requires a level of butchery I'm too scared to try.  I wish I was coming to yours for T-day next year.  I once saw Pepin debone a whole chicken.  Then he stuffed it, rolled it back up until it looked like a normal chicken and roasted it.  Since there were no bones you could slice right through it.  I've always wanted to do it but I'm a novice at butchery.


I'm planning on doing a small turkey for Christmas this year, a replica of thanksgiving dinner.  I am thinking of cooking it covered so that it steams in its own juices and then uncovering at the end to get crisp. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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