Alternate title: How to prep Thanksgiving dinner so that you can serve an elaborate Thanksgiving meal and still get a long break in the middle of the day.
I am so READY for Thanksgiving. I’ve made my menu, using my own handy flowchart, and my grocery list is ready to go. Plus, Heather is coming to spend a very Savvy Thanksgiving with Dan and I! And, um, I may have gone a little overboard with my menu. I mean, three vegetable side dishes for three people? We might have some leftovers. But that’s okay! I love this holiday because it means I get to cook for people I love, and having lots of leftovers is an awesome bonus. If I’m going to spend so much time cooking, I might as well get a few meals out of it, right?
So here we go. An awesome Thanksgiving menu, perfect for 5-8 people (or, ehrm, 3…), and how to cook ahead so that you can relax and enjoy the day. You even get a 2 1/2 hour break in the middle of the day to sit down with your guests, a glass of wine, and some snacks!
Turkey photo from Tim Morris/Bon Appetit.
A Savvy Week: Thanksgiving 2013
To Drink: Double batch of Rosy cheek in the morning, wine with dinner.
While I’m Cooking: Mexican hot chocolate roasted pecans. And Savory pumpkin dip (from Gimme Some Oven).
Main: Roast heritage turkey with bacon-herb and cider gravy (from Bon Appetit)
Stuffing: Spicy chorizo cornbread sage dressing (from Boulder Locavore).
Make-Ahead Side: Ginger-glazed carrots.
Make Day-Of Side: Pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and Romano cheese.
Another Make-Ahead Side, Because I Like to Overcook for Thanksgiving: Mashed root vegetables with bacon vinaigrette (from Bon Appetit).
The Potatoes: Caramelized onion mashed potatoes (from Daily Garnish). Because, caramelized onions.
The Bread: Pumpkin yeast bread (from King Arthur Flour).
The Gravy: Turkey gravy using this tutorial from How Sweet It Is, but using apple cider instead of water.
The Cranberries: Mom’s wineberry salad.
The Dessert: Caramel apple & pumpkin pie (from Zoe Bakes).
Make the Mexican hot chocolate roasted pecans. Allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight jar. Try not to eat them all before Thursday!
While the pecans cook, caramelize the onions for the mashed potatoes. Cover and refrigerate, once they are cooled.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Using tongs or a slotted spatula, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, and carefully pour the bacon fat into a glass jar.
Make the bacon, dijon and herb butter for the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the extra bacon and the bacon fat separately.
Make the wineberry salad. While you are waiting for the Jell-o to soft set, beat the whipping cream with a little sugar (between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) until it forms whipped cream, which you can fold in to the wineberry salad. The cranberries can be refrigerated, covered, until Thursday!
Butter and season the turkey as instructed. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare the pie dough. This is my favorite recipe.