Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Prep #8 - Menu & Shopping List

"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur.

(He actually said, "Chance favors the prepared mind", but we can all stand a little editing.).

OK crablings, game day is almost here. The only way to get through the big event is to have everything ready to go; I'm talking about even mirepoix. So let's get started.

If you don't have turkey yet, get one today. If you pick it up tomorrow, makes sure it's nearly fully thawed. A 15-pound turkey feeds a lot of people depending on the number of sides. But if your 375 pound Uncle Herb from Sheboygan or three college aged males are coming to dinner and you like a lot of leftovers, then go big, just adjust your cooking time.

You'll need things to nibble on during the day prior to dinner. My suggestions are:

A platter of assorted crackers and cheese.

A large batch of Butternut Squash & Apple Soup. Keep it on a low simmer and have a small bowl or two as a break throughout the day.

The Main Event

Brined Roast Turkey
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Celery Root, Fennel & Potato Mash (alternate)
Leek, Mushroom, Bacon & Buttermilk Bread Stuffing
Bird's Eye Frozen Peas
Braised Brussels Sprouts in Maple-Mustard Sauce (barely acceptable alternate)
Cranberry Sauces
Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce (multiple cans)

Quick Apple Tart with Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream

Thanksgiving is wine hell but here are WWBob's best suggestions:

White Wine: American Gewurztraminer (Fetzer), or Trimbach Hugel from the Alsace
Red Wine: American Pinot Noir (Smoking Loon, Mark West, Bogle or AtoZ), also 2007 Italian Barberas.

As a public service to Crab Nation, I've put together your shopping list:

Butternut Squash Soup
1/2 pound bacon, chopped before cooking
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
1 large leek, white part only, washed well and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 large butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 medium tart apple, peeled and roughly chopped
32 ounces chicken stock, approximately
2 TBSP heavy (whipping) cream

Roast Turkey

1 (14 to 16 pound) young turkey, (if frozen, full thaw)

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon ice water

1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 heads of garlic
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon olive oil

1 pound russet or Yukon gold potatoes peeled and roughly diced
3 TBSP Butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream

Celery Root, Fennel & Potato Mash

1 large celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large fennel bulbs (1 1/2 lbs total), stalks discarded, bulbs quartered
1 pound boiling potatoes (2 large), peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice, divided
1 whole star anise, ground
4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 1 1/2 TBSP)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

Leek, Mushroom, Bacon & Buttermilk Stuffing

1 1/2 loaves of store bought buttermilk bread (approx 36 ozs. total), crusts trimmed and cut into 1/2 " cubes
1 pound of sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 " pieces

4 TBSP grapeseed oil
5 cups chopped leeks, (white and a small bit of the green parts), approx. 4 large leeks
1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms cleaned and chopped
12 oz. shitake mushrooms cleaned and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 TBSP dried tarragon
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 TBSP butter

Braised Brussels Sprouts in Maple-Mustard Sauce

2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/4 cup minced onion
4 cups (approx. 1 pound) Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and halved lengthwise
Salt to taste
5 TBSP water
1/4 Dijon mustard
2 TBSP good quality Maple Syrup (the real thing if you can get it)
Fresh ground Pepper, to taste

Cranberry Sauces

Cranberry, Quince & Pearl Onion Compote
1/2 lb pearl onions (preferably red; approx 2 cups)
2 cups apple juice or cider
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP cider vinegar
6 cloves
1 tsp coriander seed, ground
2 quinces, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 (12 oz.) bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed if frozen)

Cranberry-Tangerine Conserve

2 tangerines (oranges are acceptable in a pinch)
1 (12 oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tsp grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins (chopped roughly if large)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter taste)


1 15 lb. Turkey (same one you're making for dinner)
2/3 cup onion roughly chopped
1/3 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1/3 cup celery, roughly chopped
32 ounces, no-salt/low salt chicken or turkey stock/broth
1 14 1/2 oz can of chicken stock (on standby, for thinning purposes)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt & Pepper

Quick Apple Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17 oz package), thawed
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 TBSP (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 TBSP cinnamon sugar (2 TBSP sugar mixed with scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
1/4 cup apricot jam, melted

Assorted Cheese and Crackers
Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Bird's Eye Frozen Peas

There you go crablings. Highlight and print off the shopping lists to whichever recipes you're going to prepare. Obviously there is some overlap in recipes, e.g. butter, so combine the lists and go to town.

At some point every great meal hurtles towards disaster. If you're properly prepared it's much easier to keep control of the situation. Remember, you can do it, you can cook Thanksgiving dinner. On Wednesday or Thursday I'll post my Ode to Thanksgiving, until then, get prepping.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipes and game plan, and for the pleasurable reading. The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, oh-so-many years ago as a newlywed, I had a nagging feeling throughout the meal that something was missing. Didn't figure it out until the next day, when I opened the oven door to reheat some leftovers. There, in a serving dish, was the stuffing I had removed from the turkey cavity and placed in the oven to keep warm while I made gravy. My guests were so polite that not a single one mentioned the missing stuffing. Have a happy Thanksgiving, Crabby.

WineWizardBob said...

TMI: Match the wine to your guests and not the meal! If Auntie and her stud muffin only like sweeter wines, use the Fetzer Gewurztraminer. If Uncle Ed and his trophy squeeze consider themselves gourmet, go for the Trimbach Gewurztraminer. The grape Gewurztraminer goes with the food, but the sweetenss level difference is amazing. Think of coffee with 3 sugars vs. black. No sugar is added to the wine, just the natural residual sugar from the grape juice.

I have a crush on Pinot Noir and game birds and cranberry sauces. The Pinots from California are a bit fruitier than the ones from Oregon which are fruitier than the ones from Burgundy, France. Again match the sweetness/fruitiness level with what you think your guests will enjoy most.

And never never wake your WWBob from his Tday nap.