Our 2018 Thanksgiving Plans

I’m surprised that I haven’t done a Thanksgiving post before. Now is as good a time as any to start.

We’re having a total of 6 people together for dinner this year. 3 couples. One couple is bringing the wine, the other is bringing the dessert, and we are cooking the main meal. Thanksgiving is a leisurely holiday for us: Lots of grazing throughout the day, many rounds of drinks over the afternoon and evening so nothing hits us too hard, board games, reading, talking, cooking the meal together in shifts. It is a good time.

We have a turkey from a local farm again this year and 90% of the vegetables are from our CSA, Sisters Hill Farm.

Pre-Meal

  • It will be pretty cold tomorrow, so we are starting out with some warm Cider Punch with Rye, Apple Cider, Lemon, and Fernet Branca (Recipe by Jeffrey Morgenthaler)
  • Cheeses: D’affinois, Manchego, and Gruyere
  • Crackers of various types
  • Olives
  • Persimmons (Great to spread on the crackers to pair with the various cheeses)

Meal

  • Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale, Red Onions, Cranberries, Pancetta, and Pecans. This will make a nice fall vegetable side. I’ll roast the squash and cranberries with thyme first, sauté the kale, onions, and pancetta, then combine everything.
  • Sausage and Sage Stuffing – One of my favorite dishes. Sausage from Arthur Ave, mushrooms, sage, celeriac, parsnips, carrots, cornbread, pumpernickel, sourdough, onions, eggs, thyme, and stock. We cook it in a Dutch oven instead of stuffing it in the turkey.
  • Green Bean Casserole – Amanda’s favorite. Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, French fried onions.
  • Mashed Potatoes with Garlic – Christina Tosi says that the secret is to add some sugar. I’ve never tried that before. Will probably try it this year.

Post-meal Board Game Drinks

Prepping Schedule

Sunday: Pick up the turkey

Tuesday: Pick up the CSA veggies, shopping for miscellaneous extras and Spatchcocking and salting the turkey.

Wednesday: Prep Squash, Kale, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, and mushrooms, toast the bread for stuffing, wash potatoes, cut green beans. The goal is to only have to cut up onions and garlic on Thursday, and have everything else ready to be cooked the day before. Uncover the turkey in the fridge so the skin can dry out a bit.

Thursday Morning: Bake stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, and roast the butternut squash. Everything can be warmed back up while the turkey is resting pre-carving.

Thursday Afternoon: Get the self-serve Cider Punch ready in the crock pot, put out the appetizers, put the herbs on the turkey and let it come up to room temperature, then roast it. While the turkey is roasting, make the mashed potatoes. While the turkey is resting before I carve it, warm everything else back up. Aim to eat at 4pm.

Sous Vide Turkey Breast for Sandwiches

If you have a sous vide circulator, making your own turkey for sandwiches is incredibly easy and the result is tastier than the stuff at the store.

N.B.: You’ll notice that in the photos I left the skin on the turkey breast. That was a mistake. I highly recommend that you remove the skin and as much fat as possible before cooking it. I attempted to sear it before slicing, but I ended up removing the skin from what I actually ate.

Just looking for time and temperature recommendations for turkey breast? 145F (~63C) for 2.5 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Turkey breast, bone-in and skin-on
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Remove the skin and as much fat from the turkey breast as you can.
  2. With a sharp boning knife, remove the breast meat from the breastbone. Save it for turkey broth.
  3. Season both halves of the breast meat with salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. Vacuum seal each half individually and save one in the freezer for later. Seal the bag twice to avoid leaks. Or, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, put each in a ziplock bag and use the water displacement method to remove the air before sealing them.
  5. Set your sous vide water bath to 145F (~63C) and put one of the halves of turkey breast in. If you used a ziplock bag, make sure to clip the zipper part to the side of the container to avoid leaks.
  6. Let the turkey cook for 2.5 hours. (If you are cooking the frozen one you set aside and it is still frozen, cook it for 3.5 hours.)
  7. Remove the turkey from the water bath. If you like warm turkey sandwiches, open the bag and slice the turkey immediately and assemble your sandwiches.
  8. If you prefer cold turkey sandwiches (as I do), plunge the bag of turkey into an ice bath to cool it down, then leave it in the fridge for three hours. After it is properly chilled, open the bag, remove the juices and congealed fat, then slice for sandwiches.

 

Assemble sandwiches.

Enjoy! Om nom nom.