It's that time of the year again - the time of giving thanks. And quite often - eating more than ever. Since that happens just once a year, we should go all in, and go in good. To make your Thanksgiving dining experience even more delicious, and reduce the amount of tny panic attacks throughout the cooking process, here are 2 delicious and simple main course recipes and 1 even simpler dessert hack.
Without turkey, just like without giving thanks, Thanksgiving dinner isn't Thanksgiving dinner. Here's our favorite turkey recipe of 2015. Thanks to Half Baked Harvest for sharing!
Get the herbs
Remove the turkey from the fridge 1h before roasting. Remove the giblets + neck and rinse the bird off, pat dry and allow to come to room temperature.
Finely chop the sage, thyme + parsley and add to a bowl with the butter. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine, making sure the butter is smooth and the herbs evenly mixed throughout (you can also add everything to a food processor and mix it that way).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper and fill it with the lemons, garlic and onion. Gently lift the skin of the turkey by using your fingers and going in between the skin and body of the bird. Rub half of the compound butter under the skin of the bird, spreading some of the butter on top of the skin as well.
Take the remaining butter and melt it over the low heat on the stove or in the microwave.
Dampen your cheesecloth with warm water and squeeze dry. Submerge the cheesecloth in the melted butter, making sure all the cheese cloth has soaked up the butter. Lay the cheesecloth over the bird, covering most of the bird. Drizzle any remaining butter over the turkey.
Pour about 4 cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting plan where you have the turkey. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes at 450 degrees F. After 45 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for another 2 hours (until the turkey registers 160 F on a meat thermometer), adding 1-2 cup of broth half-way through roasting.
Note: It's even better to baste the turkey with the drippings 2-3 times throughout cooking and when doing so rotate the roasting pan.
Remove the turkey from the oven and remove the cheesecloth, transfer the turkey to a baking sheet, tent loosely with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes before slicing.
Strain the liquid from the roasting pan, skimming off most of the fat.
Note: It's even better to pour the broth into a 4 cup measuring cup and then place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps the fat rise to the top of the surface.
Once you have skimmed the fat, add enough broth to equal about 4-5 cups total of drippings/broth.
Place the roasting pan over two burners and add a slash of wine (about 1/2 cup) to deglaze the pan. You want to scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is thoroughly deglazed, add the butter and once melted, add the flour whisking to combine. Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden, around 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high and add the remaining 1/2 cup of white wine, whisking as you go to let the wine reduce down.
Slowly add reserved broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sage and cook, continuing to stir, until the gravy has thickened to your desired thickness, around 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with the turkey.
2. Sweet potato & lentil skillet
This isn't just great as a side dish for your Thanksgiving turkey. This skillet is amazing, made with leftovers. Thanks to The Clever Carrot for sharing this recipe!
Sauté diced sweet potatoes (skin on) with sliced leeks.
Add a splash of water to the skillet, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.
Add cooked quinoa and lentils, and throw in some sun gold tomatoes.
Right before serving, add lots of fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.
Note: Don’t be scared of vinegar; it balances out the sweet flavor of the potatoes.
Get Red Basil
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, the thanks should be the stars of the show, not the overly complicated, over-the-top dessert. Simplest things are often the better ones. Here's 1 hack that will enable you to create 19(!) super delicious and unbelievably simple desserts.
Get the herbs