Expediting the Thanksgiving meal

One of my favorite times on Chowhound was Thanksgiving when folks shared their prep on a thread on the days and leading up to the meal . I couldn’t find it this morning. Might have had “homily” in the subject title. Do we have something like that here?

I’m roasting my wings for stock today, will make the cornbread for stuffing, abd start the dry brine on the Turkey (just abreast this year) on Sunday, and will assemble the stuffing and air dry the turkey on Wednesday.

I use this recipe for the stock, and use the oven roasting suggestion.

Anybody else want to share what they do leading up to the Thanksgiving meal?


Making brown turkey stock.


Nice! Making my stock now too and will make the gravy ahead of time too. I’m planning to do the same as you with pre-assembling stuffing on Wednesday. My husband is smoking brussels sprouts and I’m making mashed potatoes… Don’t know how much I can do with those ahead of time, other than getting my ingredients ready. Don’t think I’ll brine the turkey so that’s game day prep.
My mom is doing the rest of the sides.


Also nice!

Looking for a link to my favorite dry brine, and I found this.

Could not retrieve the link for the dry brine, but here is a screen shot from my Paprika app.


For the dressing.


A picture from the CI website



since it’s just going to be me (on zoom with the friends i’ve shared the past 30 thanksgivings), i’ had to figure out how to scale things for one.

working backwards: for dessert, i found a recipe for a pecan frangipani galette. will make the dough and filling tomorrow or monday, then bake it on wednesday.

will use the extra pastry to make caramelized onion rugelach (had planned to have cranberry chèvre on apple slices for virtual cocktails, but forgot to get it on my tj’s run. thankfully, i had a jar of caramelized onion in the freezer).

i’ll thaw out the turkey thighs i picked up a few weeks ago. after they sit overnight in the fridge to dry the skin, i’ll roast them. since it’s impossible to make just a little stuffing and gravy, i’m getting them from a local place (sausage, apple, leek; thyme gravy).

after blanching tj’s haricots verts, i’ll marinate in sherry vinaigrette (a staple in my kitchen) and serve at room temp.

last minute, all i have to do is peel and mash a couple of yukon gold potatoes with butter and heavy cream, the remainder of which i’ll whip and serve with the pecan galette.


Sounds great! You are so right about the stuffing. I’m going to try to freeze some for when son and DIL come in a few weeks, so if anyone uses suggestions I’d love to hear them! Or maybe I’ll skip it until Christmas, and just make peas and rice.


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Maybe. I found that one, but it seemed more blow-by-blow.

Maybe this one.

I posted this on Chowhound in 2013

“Sat and Sunday, shop for things that will fit a few days in fridge, esp Turkey.
Monday; “dry brine” turkey
Tuesday bake cornbread for stuffing, roast legs and wings for stock; make stock for gravy, soak peas for peas and rice
Wed air dry turkey; assemble stuffing, prep collards, make that butter flour thingy to thicken gravy, make cranberry sauce; bake sweet potatoes and make sweet pot casserole, make oatmeal crumble for sweet potatoe casserole, cook peas for peas and rice
Thursday roast turkey, bake stuffing, put crumble on sweet potato and bake,cook collards,make peas and rice, complain,finish gravy, lay down without having eaten. But if I am at inlaws (usually), change clothes and smile.”

This might be it!

Or this one.

old Moosewood restaurant cookbook: 2 bag of fresh cranberries, about 1/2 c maple syrup, about 1/2 c fresh orange juice and 1tbs grated orange rind, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, tiny dash of cinnamon - simmer all together just until berries pop, serve warm or cold


Since I’m just cooking for myself this year (not going to my sister’s MIL’s house as I did last year, nor am I getting together with my sister and BIL), the only thing I’ll do ahead of time is dry-brine the turkey breast (probably on Tuesday afternoon) and make the Cranberry-Orange Relish (cutting it way way WAY back on quantities as it makes so damn much!), and make a pie or tart of some kind for dessert.

I’m debating making a 19th century era Marlborough Pudding (Pie) I saw linked last week in a food group I’m in. It’s sort of apple & custard pie that originated as a custard pudding in England that evolved into an apple-layered custard pie. So if I do that, it’ll be done Wednesday. My Mom always liked pumpkin and apple pies for the holidays, so this will be the one thing that won’t mirror recent past Thanksgiving meals I used to make for her.

Otherwise everything else will be done day of. Just in much smaller quantities in the past. Although I have a tendency to go big, even for just myself, so we’ll see how well I do in scaling back the quantity of everything. :grin: Hey…that’ll just give me LOTS of leftovers, right?


@wonderwoman Can you share the recipe for the pecan tart?

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un fortunately, the original can only be accessed via the ny times cooking app, which requires a sub. however, here’s the version i’ll be making for myself:

my modifications:

cream cheese pastry (the orginial used a regular pie crust)

4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces butter
pinch salt
1 cup flour (?1 /4 cup)

food processor. flatten into disc and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out. (if in fridge overnight, take it out 15 minutes before rolling.)

pecan filling

100 grams toasted pecan pieces (1 cup)
83 grams dark brown sugar (1/2 cup)
57 grams butter, room temp (4 tablespoons)
1 egg, beaten and divided
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon bourbon

set aside 1/3 beaten egg. put pecans and brown sugar in food processor bowl and process until finely ground. add remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. (if using chocolate, add and pulse a couple of times to distribute evenly.) chill at least 1 hour (up to 3 days) until mixture is cold and solid.

place dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll to 9-inch circle. slide on to baking sheet and remove top piece of parchment. spoon filling onto pastry, leaving 1 1/2 inch boarder. fold pastry over pecan mixture, pleating to hold it in.

refrigerate 1 hour before baking. while tart is chilling, heat oven to 375-degrees. brush dough with reserved egg (if too thick, mix in a bit of water). bake 25-35 minutes. cool at least 30 minutes before serving.


That looks and sounds great! My husband is definitely a “crust” person.

I begrudgingly bought a subscription so I will look it up. What’s the name?

Edit- found it! Thanks!

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There is a link in the post. It sounds pretty simple, and I’m no baker.

Yeah I don’t have a subscription to the Times itself, just the recipes, so that link didn’t work. It’s called “Maple-Pecan Galette With Fresh Ginger.” Yum.

Oh! I didn’t realize that! Glad you found it!

ETA I am now researching the different NYT subscriptions available.

Wow, I’ve had this “all access” subscription for years, and have never explored it.

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I balked at first but I use it more than any other source for recipes. I find it has gotten harder to find reputable sources for recipes online and this at least guarantees a tested recipe. Nothing against food bloggers- there are some I loveand trust- but I have been burned before.