With Thanksgiving being a day for tradition and family, I only slowly add or change things for the meal. For instance, I’ve done fried turkey, but prefer a traditional (to my family) smoked turkey. I’ve tried to introduce good green bean casserole, a la Alton Brown, but some still prefer the Campbell’s soup, French’s onion version.
I have been successful, though, in getting the canned cranberry sauce sent back to the cupboard! With the simplest of recipes, cranberries can be fresh, lively, and a great part of a Thanksgiving meal (or leftovers!). Just take a pound of cranberries, in a baking dish, and add about 2/3 cup Turbinado or cane sugar, and about a teaspoon of cinnamon and a bit of ground cloves (maybe 1/8 teaspoon), and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, add 2-3 ounces of bourbon, some orange zest, and the juice from half an orange, stir well, then put it back in the oven for 30 more minutes. This is easy, and it’s great, and you probably already had your oven on at 350 for Thanksgiving, anyway!
Now, the bird… to brine or not to brine? First of all, get rid of that plastic thermometer. The bird will be dust before that thing pops up, so remove it completely. Instead of brining, which is long and involved, another solution is to inject the bird with something great and season it well. This year, I’m going to inject with hard apple cider. It will add great flavor, and keep things moist. Then, I’m going to fill the bird’s cavity with apple, carrot, onion and celery, put some softened butter.
On Living Dayton, I’m going to go over our pre-feast brunch. What’s great about it is that it’s easy (not fancy, easy!), but people love it, and it keeps them from complaining about a later dinner!
Then there’s my favorite dessert for Thanksgiving… Bourbon pecan pie!
That’s a quick roundup of some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes! I hope you have a great holiday, and spend it with people you love!