Nikki came to us for help, she needs a buffet style menu for Thanksgiving that will impress her discerning crowd of carnivorous foodies. I came up with a delicious bill of fare that could work for a buffet or a sit down. To make life easy I also worked up a timeline for the perfect Thanksgiving. I have links to many of Amy and I's fall recipes and a few more of my Thanksgiving favorites below.
|Mackers' loves gravy!|
Cheddar Sausage Balls Appetizer (recipe below)
Baked Brie with apple butter and baguette Appetizer (recipe below)
Mixed Greens with dried cranberries, almond slivers and goat cheese, Good Seasonings Vinaigrette
Artisan Loaf of Bread
Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (tips and Mackers' tricks below)
Something vegetarian, i.e. Ames' Mushrooms, Canadian Sweet Potato mash or Broccoli
Week before: Guests always ask if they can bring something. They like helping since you will be doing the hard part; cooking and hosting the mess at your place. Asking some one to bring wine or booze is perfect but also ask someone to bring something important that doesn't require too much effort. I.E. an artisan loaf of bread from the market, drink mixers (cranberry, coke and diet coke) or every year I delegate the mashed potatoes to a guest! It is simple for them to make and bring in a crockpot, but is one less little detail for me to stress over. Extra desserts are always appreciated too!
Tuesday: Get all your shopping done. Prep all veggies, herbs and garlic. Make the butternut squash soup. Make cranberry sauce.
Wednesday night: Make biscuits, sausage balls (and Dijon apricot dip) and stuffing up until the point of going in the oven. Saran wrap them and refrigerate, ready to go for the next day. Bake pumpkin cheesecake and refrigerate.
In the A.M. get your bird going. Make whipped cream topping for the cheesecake. Prepare salad (make vinaigrette, but do not dress salad yet) and put butternut squash soup in a crockpot on low on the buffet. Get gravy base started. 1 hour before your guests arrive, put stuffing in the oven, take cranberry sauce out of refrigerator. 30 minutes before the guests arrive put sausage balls and brie in the oven and turn on the football game. When the guests arrive take the stuffing out, cover in foil and set aside. Serve the sausage balls and brie for appetizers. Biscuits go in the oven 20 minutes before you open your buffet. While chatting with your guests make vegetarian sides and finish gravy. While the turkey is being carved, with help, set up buffet and ask a guest to dress the salad. Enjoy dinner. After dinner, get your damn guests to clean up while you get drunk and top the cheesecake with whipped topping and caramel.
Drizzle honey over a wheel of brie. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes until oozing a little. Top with apple butter and serve with sliced baguette and apple slices.
Cheddar Sausage Balls
3 lbs Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups bisquick
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Mix ingredients and roll into balls. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning half way through. Serve with dijon apricot dip.
Dijon Apricot dip
1 jar of apricot perserves
3 tablespoons dijion mustard
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to mingle.
2 oz bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium-high for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve. You can also make ahead and serve at room temp on Turkey day!
Gravy, the Mackers Way
Gravy from scratch is a bit of an art form. I make mine a little backwards to save time later and to avoid messing with the nasty organ package that comes stuffed inside the turkey. (Gag me.) I start by making a rue and then add garlic, herbs and turkey stock (chicken stock is o.k. if you can't find the turkey stock). I allow it to simmer and give the flavors a chance to deepen. This takes a while, so there isn't time to make a complex sauce after the bird comes out of the oven. I make my gravy early and whisk in the pan drippings later when the turkey is done. The gravy is already thickened so all you need to do is taste test for salt and pepper. Usually the pan drippings add enough salty flavor. Gravy is probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving so I make plenty so I can soak my leftovers in the coming days. This recipe yields a little over 7 cups of gravy.
1 shallot or 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
7-8 sprigs fresh thyme, bundled with butchers twine
64 oz turkey stock
2 pinches sea salt
several turns of pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 to1 cup white wine
Saute shallot for about 4 minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic, butter and flour. Stir until a paste has formed about, 2 minutes. Whisk in turkey stock, add in salt pepper, lemon and bundle of thyme. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until turkey is out of the oven. When turkey comes out of the oven, pour the drippings into a pyrex measuring cup. Put the pan that had the drippings over heat and deglaze the pan with wine, scrapping all the delicious flavor packed brown bits off the sides and the bottom. Pour this mixture into the gravy you started. Remove thyme bundle. Whisk to combine and taste. Skim the fat off the top of the reserved drippings in the pyrex and discard fat. Add more pan drippings as needed to add more richness to the gravy. Sometimes I add it all, sometimes it only needs a little bit. Taste testing along the way is key, but please, don't burn your tongue.
|Mackers and Nikki|