Thanksgiving 2019 - ideas / plans / menus / raves / rants

I think it’s safe timing to start a thanksgiving thread!

So what say you - what’s on the docket? Anything new to try this year? Anything long-standing you’re removing from the list? And, of course, the dishes that must always be on your thanksgiving table!

(Raves and rants welcome before, during, and after!)

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We are planning on having a ‘crabgiving’ and recreating the below crabfest we had last month :yum: Five days before Thanksgiving Costco is having another big crab sale on dungeness and Alasakan crab legs. Mrs. P is not much of a turkey person.

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I’ll start.

Our “standard meal” (after hours of grazing on apps as brunch) is turkey plus mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, white gravy, brown gravy, cranberry sauce, and if someone has a hankering for sweet potatoes they bring them (almost no one else touches them).

Last year’s twist was stuffing balls. The usual attendees are split between hating stuffing and loving it, but the balls united all - they were gone before seconds.

So, double the amount of usual stuffing (that is more than half leftover) will be made into balls this year.

I’ve been trying to take over the Brussels sprouts for a couple of years, so they’re roasted tender-crisp and not soft-charred from blanching and then roasting. Maybe this will be my year.

Apps - glorious apps. We do a couple of cheese boards, smoked salmon and charcuterie, plus whatever else people wanted to experiment with that year (this is the flexible part of the day - the main meal is pretty locked down).

In the past I’ve tried gougeres, salmon mousse, variations on things in puff pastry, pate, stuffed mushrooms, baked Brie/Camembert, etc.

This year I think perhaps another appearance of gougeres, plus salmon rillettes (Dorie Greenspan’s last book has some interesting variations), and maybe the tuna mousse @Rooster has mentioned previously. And/or mini magic quiches inspired by the baking thread.

I don’t contribute to dessert. Never have room for it anyway, and I like chocolate but no one else seems to want any on thanksgiving, so boo.

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I am going to a huge (50 or 60 people) family Thanksgiving in AZ which is by tradition a potluck and BYO situation. Last time I made a wild rice mushroom spinach casserole from the NYT that was a huge hit so thinking I will make it again although it is very labor-intensive. (Recipe in NYT behind paywall and adapted here.) It’s nice because it is easily made vegan and GF. I will also come up with some appetizers as there is not usually much on offer until dinner is served (we always aim for 4 and miss). I like the app ideas @Saregama has…

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Stuffing balls! My mom and grandmother used to make these, but they never shared their how-to. Though I make stuffing (dressing?) in a casserole dish, I say it’s time to bring back the stuffing ball. @Saregama, might you have any tips for success?

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Perfect meal for the tuna mousse app!
Ours celebration involves stopping at 5 diff households this year. We will start early and end up back home.
Morning brunch with my family, lunch with my sisters gang, dinner with my inlaws and post holiday firepit fun with my brothers tribe.
Stopping at my sons gf parents for cocktails and chat.
While the traditions will make an appearance for sure we are discussing themes…I’ll report back early next month.

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Love a good progressive party!

Since I’m either transporting or cooking in someone else’s kitchen, my apps need to be easy or travel well. The tuna mousse sounds like an easy assembly the morning of or night before. Either that or this salmon rillettes recipe, which I think will travel well.

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Def. The recipe travels really well. I’ve even packed the short ingred list and made it at the party. Also my wife transports it made in a chilled pipping bag and does her cracker decorating right before setting out.
Salmon recipe looks killer!

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Last year’s were a miracle, because it started as a soggy mess from the suggested amount of broth, and I had no more bread to fix the problem. But I finagled it and they ended up drying out enough. Also, delicious.

Recipes suggest an egg to bind, but I don’t like the egginess vs the pure flavor of stuffing.

So I’d say, stick with the obscene butter suggested on the box, but add the broth in stages, just enough to fully moisten. I’m going to scoop and bake in muffin cups to give them some support re shape. Maybe some mix-ins this year - mushrooms, turkey sausage - in half.

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Ooh clever!

My wife’s family puts the “stereo” in stereotypical Italian family.

Any suggestion of an item “instead” turns into “also.” We don’t need turkey and ham and salmon and lasagna. Really. Promise.

I just show up and chop things. Try to keep my head down. Try to eat down the fridge and freezer for space so I’m not hauling ice for our Yeti 85.

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I made this marinated olives and feta a couple of times this summer and it was easy and delicious, even with olives from the supermarket olive bar and supermarket feta. Also thinking deviled eggs because everyone loves them but they are a pain to make, especially in large quantities. I guess it depends what else I am tasked with as I am quite certain I was invited to stay with the hosts of the gathering as kitchen labor. :slight_smile:

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We’ll be a small group this year I think, probably just three or four. I dislike turkey so I’m planning to do duck this year, legs confit and breast sous vide then seared most likely. I am the only one who eats the cranberry sauce I make, so I am thinking of doing an elderberry sauce this year instead - should go nicely with the duck, and perhaps it will be more popular. Otherwise, the menu is pretty static - roasted vegetable and sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, Parker House rolls, and a green vegetable (still undecided, but definitely a light/crisp preparation of something with citrus to balance all the heavy things on the plate). Dessert will be apple and pumpkin pie, maybe cherry as well (if I do three I’ll make half-sized apple and cherry). I don’t usually do much in the way of appetizers because we eat the main meal around 2 (leaves lots of time for a second meal later in the evening), but I do usually put out some crudites, olives, cheese and crackers and spiced pecans to nibble on with morning mimosas while watching the parade. Maybe I’ll make a batch of crustless mini-quiches instead this year for something a little more “breakfasty.”

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Great idea re deviled eggs! I may borrow it…

Also a good vehicle for a variety of different flavorings, vs the rest of the apps and main meal, which are pretty unvarying for our celebration.

Can’t believe I didn’t think of it for Tday. Thanks!

Huh, I always thought it was a pain to make just a few for myself, because for a larger quantity the mixing can happen in the mini or large FP, and there’s enough quantity of filling for a piping bag (note my ugly spooning of filling for just myself :joy:).

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Kenji did a bunch of variations over at Serious Eats that are really fun.

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Duck sounds delicious!

Tbh, I barely eat turkey at the main meal… more in the sandwich later that night. And then in a glorious mess in a takeout container on the train home :joy:

Sounds delicious and different with the roasted veg - do you use a recipe?

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I actually created one, based very loosely on a recipe from Epicurious and my best guess at a fabulous stuffing I had at a friend’s house one year. I dislike traditional stuffings that have the texture of bread pudding (and are usually full of chunks of celery), so mine is more of a loose texture, almost like a panzanella. I make my own crusty baguettes and tear them into bite sized pieces, then allow them to dry out for a few days. They absorb plenty of stock and vegetable juices but still maintain their integrity.

For the other stuff, I process my aromatics (carrot, celery and onion) in the food processor for a very fine texture (so they kind of melt away into the finished product), then saute in butter until softened. I roast chopped fennel, halved shallots and cremini mushrooms in larger pieces, then add all the vegetables to the bread along with cooked, crumbled sausage (sage breakfast type), some reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms, a ton of chopped fresh herbs, and enough stock and porcini soaking liquid to make it moist but not super wet. Dot the top heavily with butter and then bake.

It’s a bit labor intensive but 100% worth it. Given the quantity of vegetables, it really counts as a sort of combined vegetable/carb side dish rather than just a starch like most stuffings. It’s also easy to do in advance - I prepare all the vegetables and sausage the day before and store in the fridge (leaving the bread out drying), then just combine it all in a big pan with the stock, etc., right before baking.

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So far…
An all you can eat buffet out on Tday. Everyone gets to have their comfort foods of choice, and I get to relax. In the days following, I play in the kitchen at my leisure, & do/make what I want.
Turkey with amaretto stuffing
https://m.cookeatshare.com/recipes/cornish-game-hens-with-amaretto-stuffing-and-honey-glaze-352414
Green beans with lemon butter and frizzled shallots


Julia’s Potatoes Dauphinoise

Dinner rolls
Cranberry sauce

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Cocktails & endive filled with apples, Bleu cheese and walnuts or pistachios before dinner.

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WOW. That’s humongous!

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