Thanksgiving 2015 Meal

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I think this Thanksgiving meal was the most successful of all Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever hosted. The turkey came out great, and all of the sides were so delicious. Each side came out “proper” and really held it’s own.  I wouldn’t hesitate to make this menu again in future Thanksgivings.

The menu:

  • Main: Brined & spatch-cocked 18-lb turkey from Bolton Farms in Bucks County, PA. The hardest part was removing the spine – which is all that spatch-cocking is – and removing the wishbone. The spine and wishbone on an 18-pounder was very thick and took a lot of doing with regular kitchen sheers. The turkey was removed from the oven when the breast meat hit 145 degrees.  The turkey came out beautifully. It was tender and tasty.
  • Rolls: Pull apart potato rolls from Bon Appetit, served with homemade, canned orange cranberry butter which is literally homemade butter with cranberries mixed in.  This was tart and sweet and buttery and complemented the rich & fluffy rolls well.
  • Cranberry sauce: Homecanned cranberry jelly.
  • Dressing: Classic, herbed dressing from Bon Appetit. I used two breads from Panera. One a soft bread, the other a crusty one.
  • Mac ‘n’ cheese: Kay’s mac ‘n’ cheese recipe. My recipe is based on Emeril’s proportions. I do not top with “essence”. I use whatever cheese I feel like and include slices of stewed tomatoes in between poured layers. This time I used a shredded blend of parmesan, asiago, fontina, provolone from Trader Joe’s, and a yellow Sargento cheddar and the sauce came out rich and gooey with stretchy globs.
  • Potatoes: Roasted-garlic, whipped Idaho potatoes with

    home-made mascarpone. These were based on a recipe from Bobby Flay. I made my own mascarpone cheese (follow the link for my musings on this process). The cheese was surprisingly easy to make, but due to the extra steps, in the future, I will probably just buy the cheese.

  • Green beans: I used Alton Brown’s recipe for green bean casserole.  It was pretty much everything one would want in this sort of casserole. Creamy and gooey!  In the future, I will seek out already cleaned and trimmed green beans as this part of the prep took some time.
  • Sweet potatoes: I used a recipe from a vintage, Craig Claibone New York Times recipe book. It was whipped sweet potatoes with butter, mixed with peeled tangerine (clementines in my case) and dark rum, with buttered brown sugar and pecan topping.  Peeling the clementines was a huge pain and in the future, I would consider draining canned and peeled tangerines.
  • Gravy: Homemade gravy from scratch ad-libbed with turkey drippings and vegetables.
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