Thanksgiving Prep

Each year I try to prepare as much food in advance of Thanksgiving as I can.  I know I have shown these recipes before but I thought if someone could use them, I might as well post them again.

This cranberry relish recipe is terrific.  Give it a try and see what you think.  Put 2 cups of sugar in a heavy pot.  Add 1 cup of port.

Add 1 cup of water.

Add 4 star anise (do not skip this ingredient) and 2 cinnamon sticks.

Bring it to a boil.

Add 2 cups of fresh cranberries.

Then the zest of 1 orange.

Add the juice of that orange.

Stir it together and bring it back to a boil.  You will hear the cranberries begin to pop.  Cook for a few minutes and then set aside to cool.  The sauce will thicken as it cools.  I put it in bell jars and keep it in the refrigerator.

I always make my turkey gravy in advance.  There is nothing worse then having everything ready for your Thanksgiving meal and then having to wait while you make the gravy.  Plus, when you make it ahead of time, you can make a lot more.  I like having lots of gravy to use with leftovers.

Buy turkey parts at your grocery store.  I used necks and wings.  This time of year you can find turkey stock too.  I used 2 boxes.

Place the turkey parts in a big pot and add the stock.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Add 5 carrots, a bunch of celery, 2 onions cut in half, a bunch of sage, rosemary and thyme.  Add 3 bay leaves and 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, bring it to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for a couple hours.  Another reason I like to make this is because it makes your house smell like thanksgiving before the actual holiday.  It puts me right in the mood!  After a couple of hours, remove all the solids and pour the stock through a strainer,  Set it aside to cool a bit and you can then skim off most of the fat.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of oil in the pot.  Add 5 tablespoons of flour.

Whisk this until it starts to brown and is a light brown color.  Carefully whisk in the stock.  Bring to a boil and let it gently boil until it begins to thicken.

If it is too thin just mix a bit more flour with some melted butter and whisk it into your gravy until you get the thickness you like.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you want to.  I also whisked in 2 tubs of Knorr's Chicken Concentrate to make it richer.  Store in the refrigerator until the big day.  Now you have lots of tasty gravy for Thanksgiving and a few days more.


Anonymous said…
To bad we don't celebrate anything here this time of year, this always looks so delicious. They only sell whole turkeys here and even if I don't mind eating a lot of it I really don't want to buy that much just for me :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!
Anonymous said…
this does make me think of Christmas, our Thanksgiving is long over.I like the idea of making gravy in advance, thats a great idea, so you also have the drippings from the turkey as well right?
Anonymous said…
wow this food looks gorgeous!All so rustic and full of flavour.
Lovely post!
Anonymous said…
wow this food looks gorgeous!All so rustic and full of flavour.
Lovely post!
Nellie said…
This sounds absolutely fantastic! I would have to exert great will-power to stay out of it, though. It is a good thing that I am able to store my advance preparations in the refrigerator in the garage. Trying to follow that "out of sight, out of mind" adage.:)
Patty Woodland said…
We are heading to a friend's house for the big day. I am making the bread. It's easier but no leftovers
Dog Trot Farm said…
I love your step by step detailed instructions and photos...Thank you. I confess, my husband is the gravy maker in our house, never a lump and oh so delicious! Happy Thanksgiving, Julie.
Gravy made ahead! Oh that is so smart!!!!!!! Both because it's ready on THE day. And because there's enough, for left-overs.

Mmmmm, and that cranberry relish beginning with Port. Yummmm..... :-)

Happy Thanksgiving, ahead of time...
Guillaume said…
Ah cranberry sauce! Yum.
Candace said…
Great looking cranberry sauce! I'll have to try this for sure. Like you, I try to make my gravy in advance, too - and I love this tip about adding Knorr's! Thanks much!
Barb said…
I started today also. Tomorrow is the cranberry relish , I might try your recipe if I can get all the ingredients together.
The 3 things that always run out too soon -- gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce! But the turkey goes on forever.
Ina in Alaska said…
That cranberry relish looks wonderful!!

I buy the gravy in the jars.....

JoonieBeans said…
Your recipes look fantastic! However, may I share my super quick and also yummy cranberry relish? One bag of whole cranberries, one orange, rind included, and sugar to taste. Put in fridge for a few hours to meld it all together.

As for the gravy..I just discovered the best commerical broth in the world! College Inn in a plastic bottle. The chicken actually tastes like real chicken, and the Tender Beef one tastes just like beef! It would improve any recipe!
Just EXACTLY what I needed! I will be forever grateful for this recipe and hint to make things easier on Thankgiving. I have a HUGE family so this is fantastic. I also have two large refrigerators to hold the more things I do before the big day, the better! Thanks so much Joyce!
luckybunny said…
Just bookmarked both these recipes to use at Christmas. For Thanksgiving we are doing Prime rib, but at Christmas we'll do turkey and all the trimmings again and I'll absolutely be trying both of these! That cranberry relish might get made ahead of time because I'm kind of drooling over it.
Stephanie said…
I have flunked Gravy 101 so many times it isn't funny. So...I have your recipe in my stock pot this very minute. Giving it another whirl. Thanks! Your cranberry relish is tomorrow.