Turkey Day 2015

What’s on your table for Thanksgiving?

Probably a frozen grocery store bird :-). TBH, the bird is almost an afterthought at our family dinners. It’s more about the sides, pasta & desserts!

One saving grace is I’m the gravy maker & cranberry conserve producer. And if I do say so myself, and I will, I make great gravy & have several cranberry converts…

And this year I’ll introduce the family to mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes so I’ll be able to eat them! Now need to figure out how to make a good gravy that doesn’t involve a roux…

Most likely, per usual, one from the list at Magnani’s. But not one of the type that knew its name before its head was removed.

please share your cranberry recipe(s)

Yes, please.

Are you the same person as rworange ???

Happy to share:
Cranberry Pear Conserve, makes about 3 cups, 8 servings
(I started doubling this after the first couple of times I made it. It keeps well in the frig so if there’s a lot left over from Thanksgiving, you’ll be ready for Christmas!)

Note: This makes a fairly tart conserve. If you like a sweeter cranberry sauce, add another 1/2 cup sugar, either white or brown.

1 tsp canola or vegetable oil
2 pears, preferably Bartlett, peeled & cut into 1/4" dice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
12 oz fresh cranberries

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the pears & salt & cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until they begin to soften, 4-5 min. Stir in the sugars, vinegar, cinnamon stick & ginger & bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 min., stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.

Add the cranberries & cook over moderate heat until the cranberries have fully cooked & thickened, 15-20 min., crushing them against the sides of the pan. Transfer to a bowl, remove the cinnamon stick & let cool before serving.

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No Kevin, I’m not rworange. I enjoyed her posts on CH so much over the years & have wondered what happened to her…

Rworange got mad at CH when they dropped the restaurant address database a few years ago. She is a semi-active poster at y**p now.

At least as I can find not since 2012.


Thanks for the link. I just sent her a msg. Will be interesting to see if I hear back. I’ll post if I do…

We will enjoy a smoked turkey served with a fresh pot of beans and Mexican rice. I’ll make a salsa cruda and a tomatillos sauce. Corn tortillas. Maybe flan?

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I am hoping to get one of the 100 turkeys I fed for a week when my neighbor went on vacation a couple of weeks ago.

If not, then I’ll see if Bud’s in Penngrove is selling fresh turkeys; if not, Bud’s, then I’ll go to Oliver’s.

I’ll probably make some cranberry chutney, with fresh and dried cranberries, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and a few other ingredients I’ll need to look at the recipe to remember…

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Share your gravy secrets, please. Do you make a stock from turkey parts for your gravy? Special additions? How is it seasoned?

I buy some turkey wings the week before, throw 'em in a roasting pan with carrots and onions and a rib of celery, roast, then make stock. I need lots of stock because I like lots of gravy!


I also get some wings the week before. The better quality turkeys these days don’t release enough liquid–pan drippings–to make gravy. A well-reduced stock makes up for it.

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  • Best Smoked Turkey on the Weber *
    :heart: by Max Hein 2006
    The Basics You Will Need: a covered Weber with a 22" grill, 10 lbs. of good quality charcoal a, set of charcoal rails to keep the charcoal banked along the sides, an aluminum drip pan to fit between the rails, a cooking rack to hold the turkey, long tongs and cooking mitts, 15 -16 lb. fresh turkey, unstuffed. Note: I always do a 12 lb.+ turkey because my Weber lid might not fit over a 16-lb bird.

Procedure: The Turkey cannot be gigantic because the lid will not fit on the barbecue. A good size is under 16 lbs. and fresh rather than frozen.
Rinse the bird in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the skin with vegetable oil.
Open all the air vents on the bottom of the grill and leave them open during the cooking. Ignite all 10lbs of the charcoal- or start half and add the rest. Start the coals in the middle of the grill, allowing 45 minutes for all of them to light and to be coated with grey ash. Add the remaining briquets.
Transfer the coals to the sides behind the charcoal rails, using the long tongs and the charcoal mitts. Center the drip pan between the rails. Add about 8 to 10 twigs of applewood, add the grill, add the Turkey on the cooking rack and the Weber Grill Cover/Lid. Open the air vent in the Cover.
Optional: soak the applewood twigs in water for 30 minutes before adding or use hickory, almond pear wood or even, walnut shells. or, just use mesquite charcoal.
Note: Now I stack my charcoal briquets like a ring of dominos, touching side-by-side. on the outer edge of the grill. I start it with hot coals on one end. As each ignites the next, I never add more coals during the ‘low and slow’ smoking time.
Now, sit back and relax. There’s no need to baste. Leave the barbecue covered and don’t peek- lifting the lid releases the heat and will slow the cooking process.

So, put it on the Grill and forget it for two hours for a 15 lb. unstuffed bird.
Remove the bird when the meat thermometer reads 170°F in the center of the breast and 185°F in the thigh. The meat and the juices may be slightly pink, this is characteristic of the smoking process.
Let the bird rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving. The juices in the Drip Pan will make an excellent gravy.
The first year that I followed Max’s instructions for this grilled Turkey, we went to a movie while the bird cooked and came home 2 hours and 30 minutes later to a perfectly roasted 16-lb. bird!
Do not be alarmed if the meat looks pink, it is not uncooked. The smoking method turns the turkey flesh pink, just like the pink of a smoked ham.

I did move the Weber Grill to the center of the backyard - far away from the house and deck. It is not wise to leave it untended. Our house did not burn down (there are urban tales about the Deep-frying Turkey that tips gallons of hot oil and burns down the house/garage/deck…)

For the gravy:
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, apple, and reserved turkey neck. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the neck is browned on both sides and the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the bourbon, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits, and simmer until the alcohol is nearly evaporated. Add the apple cider or juice and bay leaf, continuing to scrape up any browned bits, and boil until reduced by half. Increase the heat to high, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Remove and discard the neck. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, whisking constantly until it’s the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the strained sauce, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, for 2 minutes more. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

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Share your gravy secrets, please. Do you make a stock from turkey parts for your gravy? Special additions? How is it seasoned?

This is nothing unusual or cutting edge, just basic good gravy! I use a recipe/method that was in the Chron many years ago in a Thanksgiving feature titled “Best Way” & was originally for gravy from a brined bird. I used it many times even when the bird wasn’t brined, just watch the salt if you’re using a brined one.

Yields about 4 cups gravy (I’ve had to double it because a lot of the group who didn’t like gravy, decided they liked gravy after they tasted this).

4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Pan drippings to taste
1/2 cup dry white unoaked wine (optional) ( just used what ever Chard was handy)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth or homemade turkey broth/stock
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste

The Roux:
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the flour all at once, whisking until incorporated on medium heat. Cook on medium, whisking occasionally for 3-4 min until it begins to look grainy. Transfer to a bowl & set aside.

The Broth & Drippings:
When the turkey is done, pour the pan drippings into a bowl.

Deglaze the roasting pan with the wine by boiling the wine in the pan & scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon, adding a little water to incorporate the browned bits. Add to the drippings in the bowl. Skim off the fat with a spoon or refrigerate, then remove & discard the fat that congeals on top.

The Gravy:
Put the roux in a skillet. Bring the broth to a simmer in a covered saucepan, then slowly add 3 cups of broth to the cold or room temperature roux, whisking constantly. Add the reserved drippings slowly, starting with a few tablespoons, taste, then whisk in more, a little at a time until the gravy tastes right to you. Season with salt & pepper if needed.

This year I will be trying a low carb recipe that uses xanthan gum to thicken. I’ll post it if anyone is interested…


Trader Joe’s brined. Lazy choice after no planning since we were in Italy.

Bad choice. Worst turkey we’ve had in years. From now on it’s heirloom birds for me.