Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!
A post about the whole-turkey-dinner-picture!

October 05, 2012

The daunting task of bringing your whole turkey dinner together is not that bad with a little planning. It's all about the timing and the number of burners you have on your stove and how many things can fit in your oven and and the guests that are arriving and watching you and and and.... right?!

Here is how I do it: 

1. Typically, your turkey will go in the oven at about 2pm and stay there until about 6. Early in the afternoon, prepare your mashed potatoes- peel them, cut them, rinse them and have them sitting in a pot of cold water on the burner, but don't turn the burner on. Aside from the turkey, the potatoes are the most time consuming. 

2. Plan out your veggies and sides and be sure to have all your groceries the day before. If you are doing carrots, peel them, dice them, etc and have them in the steamer and on the burner, ready to go. 

3. We always have brussel sprouts with our turkey (see recipe below) and so we have those prepped and ready to be put in the skillet too. 

4. Take out all the serving dishes you are going to use and count out your plates, fill your S and P if you have to and put your cranberry sauce in a nice dish and keep it in the fridge until you need it. 

5. Set the table when you have time- long before your guests arrive, so you have time to get dressed and aren't feeling rushed when you want to be visiting. 

6. About a 1/2 hour before the turkey is to come out, is when all the action happens! Turn on the potatoes and sides and begin cooking them. Get your dish ready for your stuffing and have it handy for when the turkey comes out. 

7. When the turkey comes out of the oven, it will need to sit for about 20-30 minutes before you carve it, which is the perfect amount of time to put the finishing touches on everything. The potatoes and sides should be done by now. When you take the turkey out of the oven, reduce the oven heat to about 150-200 just to keep the oven warm and put the potatoes and sides in to stay warm while you are doing the last things. 

8. Remove the stuffing from the turkey and add it to your extra stuffing- add that to the oven to keep warm too. 

9. Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and make the gravy (method below). 

10. As soon as the gravy is done, you can carve the turkey! Have the man of the house do the carving- call him in to do his part. 

11. Start taking everything out of the oven and adding it to your serving dishes you have picked out for the table. As you add something, put it on the table to get it out of your way. 

12. Once it is all on the table, ask everyone to be seated and enjoy a glass of wine and a nice meal! Congratulations! You pulled it off!

The Best Brussel Sprouts to accompany your Turkey dinner!

Start by prepping your brussel sprouts by peeling off the outer tough leaves and trimming the core off the bottoms. Slice them in half. 
In a large skillet, saute 3 pieces of thick sliced bacon until crispy.  
Add the brussel sprouts, salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. 
Let it all saute until the bottom of the pan is dry. Deglaze the pan with about 1/3 cup of white wine. 

Cover the pan and let the sprouts steam until they are tender (about 10 mins). Finish it off by adding a splash of balsamic vinegar. 
Enjoy! These are not your typical brussel sprouts! They are way better!

How to make Gravy

I was never good at this, but over time I picked up tricks and tips from people here and there and have finally figured it out. The key is not to try to thicken it too much as the flour for thickening tends to add a strange flavour if you are not careful. 

Start with your roasting pan full of drippings and place it on the burner of the stove to heat it up and loosen all the browned bits from the bottom. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape them off.  
Once you have them all loosened, pour the drippings into a small saucepan. Carefully spoon the fat off the top. You don't have to do this, but it is a good idea. 
Make a slurry- about 1 part flour to 2 parts water. You could also use cornstarch. It's easy to mix it if you put it in a small container and shake it up. 
Bring the drippings to a boil and add some chicken stock if you want to get more gravy out of it. When it is boiling, add the slurry and let it thicken. It will only take a minute or two. As soon as it is the consistency that you want, remove it from the heat, taste it and season with salt if needed. 

The Top Tweedle Tips Turkey Dinner Edition:

- When you carve the turkey, carve off the entire breast in one big piece and slice it like a loaf of bread instead of slicing it from the outside in. That way, each piece will be juicy as you'll have meat that was close to the bone in every piece. 

- Use stove top stuffing and add it to your stuffing to increase your amount.

- Use only butter in your mashed potatoes. It makes the richest most tasty potatoes. Melt the butter in the microwave before adding it to the potatoes as adding cold butter will cool the potatoes too quickly and make them chewy. Also, fully dry the potatoes in the pot and mash them entirely before adding the butter. 

- Bacon and Brussel Sprouts. Enough said. 

- Use a small container to make a slurry (flour and water mixture) in order to thicken your gravy.

- If you don't have room in your oven to keep everything warm, you can take your mashed potatoes in the pot, right off the burner and put them in your bed to keep warm. Wrap them in your duvet and they'll stay nice and insulated. Heinz Tweedle swears by this one! 

- If you are doing all the cooking without any help, never learn to carve a turkey. Your other half needs to have at least ONE job! 

- Make a list and check it twice. Set the table early but don't put the turkey in the oven too early. Timing is key!

So there you have it- Turkey Dinner, Tweedle Style. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


1 comment:

  1. Oh man, you two were busy this week! Nice work! Happy Thanksgiving!


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