Hey all! This week I am gearing up for THANKSGIVING!!! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because you are encouraged to eat as much as humanly possible and then pass out in a lovely food coma and no one will judge you.
First up: PIE.
I like the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe and use it every year. If you want to add something different than the traditional pumpkin or pecan pies, may I suggest my Fudge Brownie Pie?
You know you want to make it.
Fudge Brownie Pie
For the crust:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 8 Tablespoons cold butter (1 stick) cut into small cubes
- 3 Tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or a very scant ½ teaspoon of table salt
For the crust:
- Mix together the flour, salt and sugar.
- Cut in the butter cubes either using your hands, a fork, or a stand mixer.
- Once the butter is incorporated to about the size of small peas, slowly add the water (you may not need it all) until the dough just comes together.
- Roll out on a floured countertop and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Put in refrigerator while making the filling.
For the filling/making the pie:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix together butter, vanilla and brown sugar until well mixed.
- Add in eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Stir together cocoa powder, flour, and salt and add to wet ingredients.
- Mix until combined but do not overmix.
- Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes – the center will still be a little jiggly.
- Cool for at least an hour, serve either warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Next up: Turkey talk!
Make sure that bad boy is thawed out. It takes a lot longer to cook a partially frozen turkey and you risk burning the outside while the rest of it is still raw. Here’s a handy chart from Delish for thaw times:
On to the turkey prep!
Based on feedback and my own experience, I have determined that my great-grandfather’s oven (and my previous oven) must have run cold. I have updated my cooking chart with a recommended cooking time of 14-16 minutes per pound at 400 °F.
Many turkeys will come with a bag of “giblets” inside the cavity. Mine this year had it hidden under the flap of skin at the front of the turkey – it took some searching to find it. Take that out – no one likes the taste of burnt plastic. I personally just throw that all away but some people like to make gravy with it somehow. I have no recommendations in that area; look for a recipe with good reviews.
Dry the turkey well inside and out with paper towels, rub down with oil and season liberally with kosher salt, garlic powder, and a little paprika. Sometimes I’ll throw a bunch of fresh thyme and/or a head of garlic into the cavity. Roast at 400 °F for 14-16 minutes per pound (see handy chart below). Turkey is done when the internal temperature of the thigh is 185 °F, or if you don’t have a meat thermometer, when the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.
If you care more about flavor than presentation, like I do, roast it breast side down on a V-shaped rack inside a roasting pan. This keeps the juices in and ensures that the dark meat is cooked without overcooking the white meat. If though, you insist on tradition and want to bring out the whole browned bird to the table for carving, you can roast it breast side up and cover the breast with foil until the last 10 minutes of cook time.
To make a simple gravy from the drippings, skim off most of the fat from the drippings, mix corn starch with just enough cold water to dissolve and heat it all together over medium-high heat, whisking until it’s thick. Rule of thumb is about 1 heaping Tablespoon of cornstarch per 1 cup of drippings. If it’s too thick, add some canned stock or water until it’s the consistency you want; if it’s too thin, simmer it for a while until it reduces to the consistency you want.
Don’t forget the sides!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Next on our Thanksgiving list, sweet potato casserole without a marshmallow in sight. I suppose you can add them to the topping if you REALLY want them….but I think it’s sweet enough as it is.
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3 pounds cooked sweet potatoes see note
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons softened butter divided
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts pecans are preferable, walnuts would be my second choice
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Peel and mash up the sweet potatoes.
- Mix sweet potatoes with the eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Spread sweet potato mixture into an oven-safe dish.
- In a separate bowl, mix together remaining 4 tablespoons butter, flour, brown sugar and nuts.
- Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potato mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.
Carbs, Carbs and more carbs! aka…
*RECIPE EDITED* – My apologies, I made a typo!! As originally posted, this stuffing turns out exceptionally salty. The recipe has been updated.
Thanksgiving Sage Stuffing
- A loaf of bread – French or Italian 14-16 ounces
- 4 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced fine
- 1 cup celery about 6 ribs, diced fine
- 1 Tablespoon dried sage
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth may not need all of it
- One or two days before you need the stuffing, cut or tear bread into 1″ cubes (or cube-like shapes if you’re tearing it). Spread cubes out into a single layer on a baking sheet and cover with a dish towel. Leave on the counter for a day or two to get stale (see note if you need it now).
- Melt butter (or heat olive oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sauté onions and celery until soft and onions are translucent.
- Turn off heat and stir in sage, garlic powder, salt, thyme, marjoram and rosemary.
- Toss bread cubes with vegetable mixture until well combined.
- Transfer mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
- Slowly pour broth evenly over the mixture until just moistened – you don’t want it soggy. If you start seeing liquid in the bottom of the pan, STOP. Wait. If it absorbs, add a little more, and repeat. You may not need all 4 cups of broth.
- If you’re cooking it in the same oven as the turkey, put it in the oven for the last 60 minutes of turkey cook time (assuming 400 °F oven).
- If cooking separately, bake at 400 °F for 40-60 minutes, depending on how crispy you like it.
The Most Important Thing (besides pie)
Below is a photo series detailing my family recipe for cranberry sauce. This is a very special recipe that has been passed down through generations.
I’m not even kidding. This is the best and only way to eat cranberry sauce in my family.
BUT….if you want to make it homemade, this recipe is also delicious:
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup water
- Dash nutmeg
- Add all ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all of the cranberries have popped and the mixture is bubbly.
- Allow to cool completely and refrigerate until serving.