Thanksgiving: too much food style

So Thanksgiving was just a small family thing, so over course I cooked for like 20. Here’s a list of what I made, with just links to food I made without changing the recipe.


(amalgam of Alton Brown’s and Cooks Illustrated turned turkey recipes)


1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 gallon vegetable stock

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger

1 gallon heavily iced water

The bird

1 red apple, sliced

3 onions (2 1/2 chopped coarse, 1/2 sliced)

1 1/2 medium carrots, chopped coarse

1 1/2 celery, chopped coarse

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup water

4 sprigs rosemary

6 leaves sage

6 sprigs fresh thyme



1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 quarts of turkey or chicken stock.

3 days before roasting, thaw turkey.  Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day before you’d like to eat:  Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

8 hours before cooking: Remove bird from brine, rinse inside and out and pat dry, and let air dry in the fridge (makes the skin crispy)

Cooking:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the apple, sliced onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Mix 1/3 of carrots, celery, and thyme with 1 tbsp of melted butter, then add steeped aromatics along with the rosemary and sage and place all in the cavity of the turkey.  Scatter rest of carrots, celery, and thyme into pan with 1 cup of water.  Place bird breast side down in V shaped pan and truss the bird and coat the skin liberally with melted butter.  Roast for 45 min.  Remove pan for oven (close oven door), baste turkey with juices from pan, then turn the turkey leg/thigh side up.  Add more liquid to pan if dry.  Return turkey to oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove turkey again, baste, and turn to other thigh side up.  Roast for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and baste and turn breast side up.  Roast until breast registers about 165 degrees and the thigh registers 170 degrees (~30-40 min).  Let rest on carving board for at least 20 minutes.

Gravy: Make stock with gibblets, or buy turkey or chicken stock at the store.  I’ll let you guess what I did.  Place pan on burners on medium high heat.  Add flour to fat in pan and cook about 10 minutes until nutty brown.  Add in the stock while whisking.  Once it is near the thickness you want, add salt and pepper to taste.  Either mash up the veggies, or, if you are like me and don’t want to know you are eating the veggies in your gravy, throw it all in a blender.

Butter Roasted Mushrooms – this turned out to be my toddler’s favorite food ever.  It was quite delicious.  I also burned my hand really badly not paying attention to the fact that the pan handle would be hot after being in the oven.  I suggest not doing that.

Carrot Mash – we barely ate this, but I’m not sure it’s because it wasn’t good.  Not likely to make it again though.

Plantain Stuffing

Squash Salad with Goat Cheese and Lentils – I made this with the arugula mentioned in the recipe and I liked it that way, I wouldn’t leave it out.  I did leave the mint out though.

Rolls – I have not found a version I’m quite happy with, this is the recipe from my aunt.

1/2 C sugar

2 C warm water

1 C vegetable shortening

1 tsp salt

1 pkg dry yeast

4 C flour

Cream sugar and shortening together. Dissolve yeast in the warm water and then add it to the shortening mixture. Add salt and flour, stir well. Cover with waxed paper and let rise for about 3 hours. After it rises, punch down dough and refrigerate over night. Take dough out of refrigerator and add more flour to make the dough workable. Roll out dough and cut into small circles about 2″ in diameter. Dip in butter and place in buttered muffin pans. Let rise 3 hours and bake 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Oyster Dressing – which I made without Oysters

1 package herb stuffing mix-shredded, not cubes
1 large can chicken broth
2 eggs
1 large onion
about 4 stalks of celery
1 or 2 cans of oysters,depending on taste
1 stick margarine
pepper, possibly thyme and sage depending on taste

Cut up onion and celery and saute in stick of margarine until soft.  Beat eggs.
Add celery and onion mixture to dressing mix and stir this up  then add broth, do not add it all until you see how soupy it is.  Then add eggs and (if using) oysters with liquid that comes with the oysters-check the oysters for shell before adding. Mix this all up and, if it still looks dry, add more broth–it should not quite absorb all the broth.  Then to test for taste, put a spoonful or so in microwave and zap for maybe 20-30 seconds depending on how big the spoonful is.  If it needs pepper, sage or anything add it.  Grease whatever you are cooking it in and bake at 325 for about 1 1/2 hours  put something under it as it may bubble over.  When baking cover for all but last about 1/2 hour then uncover so top gets crusty.

Mashed Potatoes

I like lumpy potatoes with the skins.  If you don’t, well, then this is so not the recipe for you.  Boil a big old pot of salted water.  Take about 5lbs of idaho/russet potatoes, clean them (BUT DON’T PEEL THEM!) and chop them into about 6 pieces. Drop potatoes into boiling water.  In about 25-30min, or when the potatoes easily break apart with a fork, drain the water out.  Put in a stick of margarine and a sploosh of milk.  I’m guessing it’s around 1/2 cup, but I’ve never measured it.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher till you think it’s good enough.  I like some lumps.  Add more milk if you think it needs it.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cranberry Applesauce

Dark Chocolate Tart – previously on this site.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

Apple Cider Sangria


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