So with it being the day before Thanksgiving, I’m switching over to holiday mode here on the blog. After today, normal blogging will resume on Monday (unless something really big happens, which I rather hope it doesn’t, considering what that usually entails). I’ve already made a base of turkey gravy (from turkey neck and wing tips), so I have that in advance, and tonight I’ll be making my usual chocolate pecan pie and this year, another dessert that’s nontraditional (as was last year’s cranberry-lime pie).. Both our college-age kids had left before we had a chance to pick blackberries with them, so when my wife and I were able to, we both made some blackberry cobbler with the fresh starting material (results from September at right), but also froze a cobbler-sized batch of the berries to use at Thanksgiving. I can post the recipe for that one if desired, but I’m assuming that it’s sort of out-of-season for most readers.
Otherwise, the kitchen synthesis work will take pretty much the same form it always does around here. I’m definitely with the Washington Post‘s Megan McArdle on this one – we don’t scour the food blogs for the latest new way to cook the turkey or the hot new side dish (parsnips with harissa! rutabaga foam!) We’ve made pretty much the same lineup for over twenty years now, occasionally adding an extra dish for a one-year appearance, but keeping the rest of the team intact. We buy a kosher turkey to save on the trouble of brining another bird, and the only fancy thing we do while roasting it is to cook it upside down on a rack for the first hour and a half or so and then flip it over (seems to help with keeping the breast from drying out and gives the dark meat a chance to cook a bit faster, which it needs).
We have stuffing both in the turkey and in a separate pan, since we have a lot of customers (both of the kids have specifically requested large amounts this year). That’s my mother-in-law’s own recipe, which starts with store-bought seasoned bread cubes, but adds a goodly amount of a mixture of sauteed onions, celery, chopped apples, whole fresh cranberries and (seriously) chopped pepperoni sausage. We always have halved pan-roasted brussels sprouts, and I make green beans with chunks of country ham in them (my Southern contribution), and I make some creamed pearl onions with a sage-flavored sauce on them as well. We make mashed potatoes (Yukon Gold work well for that) and there’s the aforementioned turkey gravy, which is enhanced by the cooking liquid from the roasting turkey itself, and I add mushrooms and onions to it while making the stock itself. The Iranian contribution is “jeweled rice” (javaher pullo), which is basmati rice cooked with saffron, pistachios, almond slivers, small sour red zereshk berries, and orange zest. If the Bon Appetit people are looking for another hot trendy Thanksgiving side dish that no one’s made before, requires a lot of prep, and calls for ingredients that you probably don’t have (which seem to be the criteria), they can use that one because it actually works out great with the rest of the food. Their harissa parsnips I’m not so sure about.