#25: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup
+ Herb Roast Turkey Recipe
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This time last year I was in the middle of “Thanksgiving Week” over on my Instagram. For the last 10-ish years, I have been cooking Thanksgiving for my family and I have a pretty great collection of recipes. During Thanksgiving Week I cooked 16 recipes sharing tips, tricks, and the whole process on my story. At the end of the week, I sent all of them out and was amazed by how many people made them for their families.
*If you scroll all the way back in my highlights, you can still watch them.
Here is the thing about Thanksgiving, I love those familiar dishes and recipes. Thanksgiving is the one day of the year where we eat triple carbs in one meal. It’s the only time of the year stuffing is acceptable because who the hell makes stuffing on a Tuesday in April? Nope, no one. So when it comes down to creating “new” recipes…I don’t necessarily want them. I crave comfort and predictability on that table and I look forward to those same dishes year after year.
To keep up with last year's Thanksgiving Week, I spent A LOT of time testing potential recipes. Out of seven ideas, I only felt excitement for two.
I tested a new challah stuffing recipe that turned out well but it unintentionally tasted exactly like my Rye Stuffing. Let me tell you, my Rye Stuffing is the one thing I absolutely have to make. My family would be livid if it wasn't at the table and my friends that come to eat the leftovers would never forgive me.
A gratin of sorts is something I never serve on Thanksgiving so I thought that might be a fun addition. I played around with caramelized leeks and butternut squash but in the end, it wasn’t sparking Thanksgiving joy for me.
After that one long weekend where all I did was cook Thanksgiving dishes in my PJs, I decided it wasn’t happening this year. A grand month of new Thanksgiving recipe overload isn’t coming (from me) this month. As with any creative task, I can’t force something out just because I have to. And for this newsletter specifically, I never send recipes that I don’t love. Next year I might feel a new spark of creativity but this year I want comforting classics.
So this is what’s happening…
Today I’m sending out my collection of Thanksgiving recipes. These are the recipes I make year after year on Thanksgiving and a few extras that would be great additions to your meal.
Plus I’m sending out my recipe for Herb Roast Turkey. This recipe is my OG turkey recipe. A few years ago I switched over to a smoky peppery turkey but herbs and poultry are a forever classic pairing and this can be used on roast chickens too.
Then for the next two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ll be sending out some new recipes. One for Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes, which is a magical flavor hybrid of the classic Lipton onion dip and sour cream and onion potato chips.
You’ll also receive a new appetizer recipe for Butternut Squash Bites. Appetizers are a way to try something new without changing the classics.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I am switching it up and sending out a cocktail recipe! Along with a few tips for picking and pairing cheeses when you run to the store last minute 😉.
Herb Roast Turkey
This is the recipe for the first Thanksgiving turkey I ever made! And it was so delicious I made it for many years after that initial Thanksgiving. It has evolved over the years so please don’t follow that card above. You’ll find the full recipe below but as you can see, it’s kind of a wing-it recipe. At least I would wing it year after year and never had a bad outcome.
That first year I roasted a whole bird and all the years since I have done turkey pieces. It’s easier in so many ways from storage in the fridge, to oven space, and most importantly you have more control over the doneness of each type of meat. You’ll never have dry turkey again.
Hot tip: Ask your butcher to break it down for you! At most grocery stores you can take a bagged turkey to the butcher counter and they will cut it into pieces for you.
Another trick I picked up over the years is dry brining my turkey. For this recipe, simply salt the turkey pieces (get under the skin) and let them sit in the fridge uncovered overnight. You see me do this with chickens all the time because it really does make flavorful and moist poultry.
On to the herbs. The method is simple, herbs and garlic get ground in a food processor and are then blended with butter and olive oil. That mixture gets spread on top and under the skin of turkey pieces. Then you roast!
Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, chop your herbs and garlic and mix with room temperature butter.
This herb butter can also be used on whole turkeys, of course, as well as on whole roasted chickens. *Full recipe below.
Other Birds, Broth, & Gravy
Want to know the secret to a killer Thanksgiving meal? Make your own broth. Broth is the base for tons of recipes and using an uber flavorful broth sets you up for success. My go-to is my Basic Poultry Broth recipe which really isn’t a recipe. I gather odds and ends of scraps that I have on hand and it always turns out well. Thanksgiving is the only time I buy poultry and follow my Flavor Bomb Broth recipe to make sure the broth is extra flavorful. Make your broth way ahead of time and freeze it so you are ready to go for Thanksgiving. Just remember to pull it out and defrost it in the fridge before the big day.
Like I mentioned above, I haven’t roasted a whole turkey in years because there are much easier ways to get it done. Roasting turkey pieces is my favorite method and in recent years I have been making Peppery Roasted Turkey. Or if you have a small crowd, roast a Thanksgiving Chicken and make easy gravy with the drippings!