Sure, you can mash them and throw some marshmallows on top for a traditional preparation, but here's a slightly different preparation of this root vegetable for Fall. Sweet potatoes are boiled, peeled, cut into two-inch rounds, browned in butter, and topped with sautéed onions. For the recipe, keep reading.
Generally, I stick to basting or butter rubs to ensure a moist bird, but many Thanksgiving cooks swear by brining.
The Culinary Institute of America certainly does: they recommend brining as the very best method to ensure bold flavor and moistness. Essentially a brine is a seasoned aromatic liquid in which the turkey bathes before roasting. This technique is often used in preparing all kinds of poultry to maximize juiciness in the finished product. The salt in the brine breaks down the turkey's proteins, making it more tender and keeping in moisture that would normally be squeezed out. Here are a few important brining tips:
- Plan ahead: turkeys generally should brine anywhere from 12-15 hours.
- Choose a container large enough to hold the brining liquid and the turkey. You don't want any spillage situations!
For more tips, keep reading.
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There's something lovely about the simplicity of a brine-free, herb-roasted turkey. But after years of enjoying the same turkey and cream gravy, a gal might be wont to try something a little radical with her turkey.
If you feel this way — but you're not ready to bust out, say, the deep fryer quite yet — try our Southern spin on the big Thanksgiving bird. It's rubbed with a chili, garlic, onion, and mustard butter, then basted continually with a bourbon, apple cider, and brown sugar glaze. The results are shockingly flavorful — this is one risk worth taking. See for yourself.
Oft cited as the most underappreciated category of wine, Sherry is a tough sell outside of its home region of Jerez, Spain. Whether you pass on a glass because you think of it as cloyingly sweet or, in the case of cooking Sherry, low quality and extremely salty, it's time to reconsider this fanciful fortified wine.
To learn more and get expert pairing advice, we consulted Kristen Capella, the sommelier at TBD, a new fire-driven restaurant in San Francisco that boasts one of the country's most extensive Sherry lists.
According to Kristen, the biggest misconception about the fortified Spanish wine is that all "Sherry is the same cream cooking Sherry that your grandma may have cooked with." Rather, she explained that it's a diverse, versatile beverage that's well suited to pairing with a variety of dishes and can also serve as a great start or end to a meal. Depending on the style you're sipping, you might taste flavors as wide-ranging as citrus, nuts, and salt; some bottles even have a savory quality to them.
As much as I love experimenting with alternative pumpkin desserts like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin pie dip, sometimes nothing is better than the beloved standby, classic pumpkin pie. This year I tried out an old-fashioned style recipe.
The delicious crust is ultraflaky and butter-rich, and the filling is well spiced. The resulting pie is silky with a rich pumpkin flavor that's not too sweet. Topped with a generous dollop of barely sweetened whipped cream, it's near unbeatable. Take a look at the classic recipe.
If it's crunch time and you've reached for the turkey in the fridge only to realize it's still a frigid solid mass, don't freeze: we've got some methods for quick thawing, pointers for how to know when your turkey's completely defrosted, and what to do if you don't have time to thaw your bird.
For our favorite quick-thaw method, try submerging the turkey (with its wrapping still on) in a sink or a cooler full of cold water, changing out the water every half hour. Allow 30 minutes to thaw for each pound of turkey. (If math's not your thing, then simply plug the weight of your turkey into this defrost calculator.) Keep reading to find out more, including how to tell if your turkey's completely defrosted.
All hail the mighty butternut squash! Its creamy consistency; mellow, buttery flavor; and golden-orange hue make it an ideal addition to salads, soups, pasta, pizza, and more. Take a look at these eight great recipes for squash-piration.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash Salad
Pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and beets adorn this squash salad that's perfectly Thanksgiving-appropriate.
Pasta With Butternut Squash Sauce
Pasta dressed with creamy but mild alfredo sauce or a plate brightened by butternut squash sauce, warming spices, and sage? The choice is obvious.
Let's be honest; the turkey you planned to serve by 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving will probably not be done until the sun sets. To keep hungry guests from dipping into the side dishes or from imbibing too many mimosas predinner, you must make the ultimate cheese plate. Here's what you need to remember when buying and serving the cheese and its accompaniments.
- Pick a variety: When going to a cheesemonger, explain how many people you are serving, so he can help you with portioning. Ask for a variety of cheeses (cow, goat, and sheep) with different textures. Soft, crumbly goat cheese; oozy brie; semisoft manchego (sheep's milk); aged dutch gouda; and hard parmesan reggiano are mild, crowd-winning options. Consider buying at least one pungent and strong cheese, too, like a blue cheese, for serious cheese-lovers.
- Choose accompaniments: Consult the cheesemonger for recommended cheese pairings. Toasted walnuts, honey, figs, fruit preserves, and even caramel (as we recently learned!) go well with cheese. Don't forget to consider cheese-wine pairings, as well.
- Find a thin cracker: Save the yeasty breads for the main Thanksgiving dinner. You don't want to fill up on bread, after all. Instead, serve the cheese plate with thin crackers like Carr's, Raincoast Crisps, or 34 Degrees Crispbreads.
- Let the cheese come to room temperature: The complex flavors of cheese taste best when they are served at room temperature. Several hours before guests arrive, take the cheeses out of the fridge, and let them rest on the countertop until they're no longer cool to the touch.
- Spread on a cheeseboard: Use a large wooden cutting board or a stone slab to lay out the cheese from mildest to strongest. Between each cheese, place fruits, nuts, and crackers to create dividers. Make sure each cheese has its own knife so that no one double-dips into separate cheeses!