Monday, November 19, 2012

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.