Thanksgiving Dinner

I can't believe it is that time of the year already!! Time sure flies. I feel the older I get the quicker it goes! This year I won't be cooking for Thanksgiving, we will be guests instead. A welcome change every once a while. I love and enjoy cooking but, it's also fun to not think of the menu and just enjoy some drinks and socialize instead of worrying about everything coming out close to perfect and on time.


I've been making brined turkey for over fifteen years, and it's always well seasoned and never dry. I try not to get the biggest bird there is, with all the trimmings, there is always some leftover turkey for curry the next day. I hope someone out there will try out some of the recipes I have, please tag us on instagram if you do! And if you have any questions, just message me and I'm happy to help or answer any questions.


Last year we had a very small Thanksgiving so, instead of buying a whole bird, I just bought turkey breast and made Turkey Roulade with stuffing inside. It was perfect, much easier and quicker! Maybe I'll post the recipe for a roulade next year.


I also love to decorate the table but not spend too much on it, I try to keep the cost of decorating to around $50-$100. But always splurge on the best ingredients for food instead. I know sweet potatoes/yams with marshmallow is pretty popular but, I like to keep my dessert/sweet separate, it's a matter of personal preference. Be creative for your table decor. I always try to use what I have around the house and go from there.


We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones and family!

During this time, my thoughts and prayers go to the Pequot Tribe for all lives that were sacrificed and lost during 1630's.


Peace & love,

Tahirah xoxo




Menu

Charcuterie Board

Nigella Lawson inspired spiced Roast Turkey

Homemade cranberry sauce

Turkey gravy

Stuffing

Roasted Brussels sprouts with burnt onions

Mash potatoes


Sunday - If turkey is frozen, take turkey out today, it will take days for it to defrost! Make cranberry sauce (can also be made weeks ahead)

Monday - Buy the rest of fresh ingredients & Make turkey stock.

Wednesday - Prep stuffing, brine turkey, clean vegetables.

Thursday - Roast turkey, make mash, cook vegetables.





The Turkey!

10-12lb organic/heritage turkey

Brine

24 cups water +-

1 cup sea salt

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 bouquet garni (a mix of thyme, 2 bay leaves, 2-3sprigs Italian parsley tied together)

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

1 cup fine sugar

6 slices of ginger, knocked with the back of a knife

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

4 cloves

2 tablespoons allspice berries

4 star anise

1 orange, quartered

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion quartered

1 stalk celery sliced

1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima!)

1/4 cup honey


Basting

3/4 stick butter

3 tablespoon maple syrup


Cooking general rule of thumb

15 minutes per pound


Add water into a large pot or bucket to fit the turkey, add all the other ingredients, stir to dissolve salt, honey and maple syrup.

Squeeze orange juice out into brine mixture and add the orange into mixture.


Remove giblets from turkey, save for turkey broth to make gravy. Submerge turkey into brine and let it soak overnight, do not put it in the fridge, the turkey has to be room temperature to cook nicely. I usually leave it in the garage or outside on the balcony with it covered with cling wrap or foil.


The next morning, take turkey out and wipe it dry with paper towel, leave it in a pan for about 50-60 minutes to get to room temperature.

Make the basting mix, melt butter and syrup in a saucepan on low heat.

Paint the glaze all over the turkey before roasting. Stuff turkey with the onion quarters from brine, orange quarter and herb.


Preheat the oven to 425℉, roast turkey for about 30 minutes on this temperature then turn it down to 350℉ and continue cooking, baste every 30 minutes, turn temperature back to 425℉ for the last 15 minutes to brown the turkey.

To check if it's cooked, with a knife pierced in between the leg and breast, if the juice runs clear, it's cooked.

Once cooked, let it rest for about 20-30 minutes with a foil tent covering the turkey (this is very important, resting will allow the juice to be spread out into the meat evenly)



Cranberry Sauce

1 packet organic fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar - I use non bleached organic sugar

1/3 cup water

*Orange peel/lemon peel/star anise/marsala wine (these are optional things you can add)


Heat all ingredients in a saucepan until sugar dissolves, simmer about 5-10 minutes.

Transfer to a glass jar.


Gravy

Broth

Giblets and turkey neck (leave out the liver)

1 celery

1 carrot

1/2 onion

1 bouquet garni

4 peppercorns

4 cups water or better chicken broth or turkey broth


Add all ingredients into a small pot, bring to boil, cover and simmer for a few hours, two should be fine.


Gravy

2 cups turkey broth

1 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon marsala or 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


*You can either use the deep pan used for roasting turkey (you'll get more flavor with this method) or a saucepan


If using turkey pan after removing the cooked turkey onto a cutting board to cool down, pour off most of the fat of the pan and leave about 1-2 tablespoon of the fat.

Heat the pan add butter then the flour and mix it until you get a smooth paste (roux) and let it turn brown for darker gravy (I'm impatient and my gravy is never too dark!)

Add the broth and keep stirring under low fire until sauce thickens and add wine and cook further.

Season with salt and pepper.

If you like you could strain gravy for a smooth gravy, I like it with little bits in the gravy.


Optional ideas for gravy

  • Shallots (saute in fat before adding liquid)

  • Chopped garlic

  • Chopped parsley added at the end

  • Dijon mustard for extra flavor

  • Heavy cream added at the end


Stuffing

Ingredients

1 large whole onion, diced

1 celery, diced

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2lb bread cubes or corn bread for stuffing

1 turkey sausage, removed from stuffing (I like Italian turkey or chicken sausage for added flavor)

1-2 apples cored and cut into small cubes

1 jar steamed chestnuts, chopped

1 can or 1.5 cups chicken stock

a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup white wine


  • Heat olive oil and butter in a pan, add onion and saute until soft, add celery, apples and let it cooked for about 10 minutes until soft.

  • Add wine and seasonings and simmer for about 5 minutes. Take mixture off the heat and allow it too cool.

  • Over medium heat, heat some olive oil and add sausage and saute until brown all over and cooked through about 7-10 minutes.

  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients together (onion & apple mixture, turkey sausage, mushrooms, break cubes, chestnuts, red pepper flakes).

  • Add wine, stock and 3/4 parmesan and mix.

  • Transfer mixture into a baking dish and top with remaining parmesan. Dot with butter.

  • bake in the middle rack of oven until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

  • You could also cover with foil and bake it on the bottom rack while turkey is cooking for about 30 minutes. You know it's done when it's bubbly and brown all over.


Roasted Brussels sprouts with burnt onions

Ingredients

1 whole pack organic Brussels sprouts

1 whole onion, thinly sliced/julienned

1 sprig thyme, just leaves

1 pinch of Rasel Hanout or a spice mix blend (e.g cumin, cayenne, garlic salt) - Optional

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • Clean sprouts, I like to cut mine into halves. Blanch in salted boiling water in a pan/small pot.

  • Drain and place sprouts in a baking pan, add sliced onion, spice mix, thyme leaves and season and mix it all up with your hands.

  • Bake in the oven until onion is brown and crispy.


Options

  • For more crunchy sprouts, skip blanching.

  • Can also cook on stove top in a pan. Brown onion first then add blanched sprouts.

  • Bacon can also be used by cutting into small pieces and render it in a pan until brown, take bacon out, throw some fat out and saute onion until brown and add the rest of the ingredients.


Mash Potatoes

Ingredients

5 large organic white potatoes (white potatoes will make fluffy light mash), scrubbed and cut into quarters

1/4-1/2 cup of cream

2-3 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • In a large pot, cover potatoes with filtered water, add salt and bring potatoes to boil.

  • once potatoes are cooked, pierce withe a knife or fork to check if it's cooked through.

  • Drain water, add butter seasoning and add about 1/4 cup cream, mash with a masher, if it seems light and airy, no need to add anymore cream. Go with your gut here..

  • That's pretty much it.


Options

Truffle oil or truffle salt.

Milk instead of cream.

Olive oil instead of butter.




For further reading:-

https://www.manataka.org/page269.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequot_War










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