By: Everest Henze, Staff Writer
Thanksgiving has always been about family, be it gathering to dine on turkey or spending an afternoon preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal. That’s why I’ve decided to compile a list of essential, and simple recipes that is sure to draw guests from far and wide! Let’s start with the basics, the classic turkey. You will need to set aside 17 total hours in order to perfect this bird, but we can assure you it’s well worth the wait.
Now let’s start by gathering the ingredients! You will need:
- One 18 pound whole turkey, with the neck and giblets removed
- Two cups of kosher salt
- ½ cup of butter, melted
- Two large onions, peeled and chopped
- Four carrots, peeled and chopped
- Four stalks celery, chopped
- Two sprigs fresh thyme
- One bay leaf
- One cup dry white wine
- Start by rubbing the turkey inside and out with Kosher Salt. Then place the bird in a large stock pot, cover with cold water, and place into the refrigerator allowing the turkey to soak overnight (or 12 hours to be exact)
- After the turkey has finished its bath, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly rinse the turkey, and discard the brine mixture.
- Then brush the turkey with ½ cup of melted butter, then place it side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the turkey with one onion, ½ of the carrots, ½ of the celery, one sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf. Place the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan, following it up by covering with the white wine.
- Roast uncovered for 3 ½ to 4 hours in the oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees. Carefully turn the turkey breast side up for about ⅔ through the roasting time, and brush it with the remaining butter. Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.
Awesome! While the turkey cooks, cools, or even soaks in its bath, let’s move on to another staple of Thanksgiving: pumpkin pie. Note that you will need to set aside a full hour and ten minutes to prepare this pie.
Gather the following ingredients:
- One (15 ounce) can of pumpkin
One (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
- Two eggs
- One teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- One (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
After gathering the ingredients, follow the directions below:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool then garnish as desired.
Finally the last, but maybe not least, in this list will be mashed potatoes and Gravy! First let’s start by making the gravy. It takes about 4 hours and fifteen minutes to make.
Start by making the gravy, gather these ingredients:
- One large onion, chopped
- Two carrots, chopped
- Two ribs celery, chopped
- Two teaspoons vegetable oil
- Two large turkey wings
- Two tablespoons cold water
- Ten cups cold water
- Four sprigs fresh thyme
- Two cloves of garlic (optional)
- Three tablespoons butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- One pinch cayenne pepper
After gathering those ingredients complete the follow steps
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Then combine onions, carrots, celery, and vegetable oil in a large roasting pan and toss to coat. Take the turkey wings and set on top of the vegetables.
- Place roasting pan in the oven and cook until the turkey wings are browned and vegetables are caramelized and/or softened
- Transfer turkey wings and vegetables to a large stockpot. Place the roasting pan over a stovetop burner on medium heat. Pour two tablespoons cold water into the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer mixture to the stockpot and add ten cups cold water, thyme, and garlic.
- Bring turkey wing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until meat falls off the bone. Skim off turkey fat throughout the process
- Strain turkey stock and reserve 6 cups of stock; discarding all the solids.
- Heat butter and 2 tablespoons reserved turkey fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and cook, whisking continuously, while stirring in turkey stock/. Increase heat to high and simmer until thick and warmed through. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.
Now it’s time for mashed potatoes, set aside 1 hour 20 minutes for this recipe. Gather the following ingredients.
- Five pounds Potatoes, cubed
- Two (3 ounce) packages cream cheese
- Eight ounces sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- Two teaspoons onion salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain, then mash the potatoes
- In a large bowl, mix mashed potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion salt and pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish
- Cover, and bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven
You’ve finished preparing your Thanksgiving meal; now, the only thing left to do is enjoy it.