Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This was so good, I wanted to just eat it straight from the bowl. Warmed up perfectly. I am always strapped for time on Thanksgiving and doing anything ahead, is, well, gravy…I think I adapted this from My Italian Kitchen blog.

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Ingredients

  • 2 turkey thighs
  • aromatics, garlic, carrot, onion, celery, sage, thyme
  • 3 boxes of turkey stock or chicken, low sodium
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE GRAVY:

  • one half cup plus probably a couple more tablespoons all purpose flour if you can find it, if not, regular all purpose flour would be fine also
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of Gravy Master or gravy Bouquet it should be found in the spice aisle. (optional)

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375.F place turkey thighs in a baking dish, not too deep, salt and pepper the parts and add aromatics like garlic, celery, onion and herbs.

Drizzle with olive oil and pour a little broth in the bottom of the pan.

Roast for maybe 1- 1½ hours or until nicely golden brown.

Transfer everything into a stock pot, all the veggies, turkey and every bit of those drippings.

Add enough stock to cover the parts, I added 2 boxes of turkey stock, but you can also use a mix with water or chicken stock. Don’t drown it just cover it, add in some salt and pepper.

Let it simmer slowly for around two hours partially covered, you’ll see the meat fall off all the bones and the veggies will be super soft and fall apart.

Let it cool down a bit then take a mesh strainer over a large bowl and throughly strain all the turkey and veggie contents, pressing down with the back of a spoon to help get all those tasty drippings into the bowl, take your time and let it all drip down.

Place strained broth/drippings into containers and refrigerate overnight so the fat can rise to the top.

MAKING THE GRAVY;

Skim the fat off the top of your broth before starting to make your gravy.

You’ll need two saucepans, one to warm up your broth so it’s not ice cold then a separate one you place the stick of butter into to melt.

When butter is melted whisk in ½ cup of flour, and keep whisking until it’s nice and golden about a minute or two, then pour the warm broth in and keep whisking until its thickened to your liking. I ended up putting 2 additional heaping tablespoons of flour into mine. In a separate small bowl I placed the additional flour and enough water to make a non lumpy consistency then poured and whisked it into my gravy mixture to make it thicker which I needed.

Taste for additional salt and peeper if needed.

At this point you can refrigerate the gravy into a container in the fridge a few days before Thanksgiving or just freeze it and take it out to defrost the day before Thanksgiving, either way just heat up and serve while the turkey is resting and being sliced. The fuss and mess will be done ahead of time for you and you’ll will be stress free at the crucial time before eating on the big day.

Bread Stuffing

Bread Stuffing

I can’t believe it is almost time to think about Thanksgiving. A lot of us won’t be traveling home or gathering with our loved ones. I think the holidays will look a bit different for most of us. When I started writing this post last year after Thanksgiving it was with the thought of making it for people gathered around my table. So this year, while I may be making it for just my little family of three, last year I loved this so much I wanted to write it down before I forgot. Being able to make part of this ahead of time was a game changer. It was some of the best stuffing I have made. Adapted from New York Times.

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INGREDIENTS

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 6 to 8 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (I used a baguette)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or sage leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or sage, crumbled
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

PREPARATION

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet, Dutch oven or casserole. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add celery and cook about 5 minutes. Add nuts and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add bread crumbs and tarragon or sage and toss to mix. Turn heat to low. Add salt, pepper and scallions. Toss again; taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add parsley and stir. Turn off heat. (You may prepare recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well wrapped or in a covered container, for up to a day before proceeding.) Before cooking toss with the chicken broth.
  3. Roast in an ovenproof glass or enameled casserole for about 45 minutes, at 350 to 400 degrees; you can bake this dish next to the bird, if you like. (Or you can cook it up to 3 days in advance and warm it up right before dinner.)
Crockpot Cranberry Butter

Crockpot Cranberry Butter

 

thanksgiving177.jpgLet the crockpot do all the work for this great side dish! Just in time for Thanksgiving.
I plan to serve this with buttermilk biscuits tomorrow. Just a little twist on an old favorite. It will be good on sandwiches, too! This is tart and sweet, you can also make with apples.
I found this recipe on the blog “the View from the Great Island”.

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Ingredients

  • 2 12-oz bags of cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup apple cider

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and stir to combine well. Turn on high. Let it cook for about 2 hours or until the cranberries are soft.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the mixture in a food processor. Do this in two batches. Be careful as the mixture is hot, I cover the top opening of the machine with a dish cloth. Let the machine run for a full minute to puree the cranberries very finely.
  3. Force the cranberry puree through a mesh sieve or strainer. Push forcefully with the back of a spoon to get as much cranberry puree as you can. Discard the solids.
  4. Pour the puree back into the crockpot. Turn the crockpot to high, and leave the lid ajar. Cook until thickened, approximately another 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Put the cranberry butter into clean jars with tight fitting lids and let cool. Store in the refrigerator and consume within a month.