I like things a certain way. And every year, if I find a recipe for a Thanksgiving staple that I really like, I tend to want to keep it in mind. But for some reason, I’ve not catalogued them all in one place, so I end up googling them over and over during this week.
So I submit for your convenience (but mostly for mine):
My favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
I will try to faithfully note modifications to each recipe, as I rarely make a recipe just exactly as it’s written. I’m not a rule-follower all the time. Things like “All-purpose” usually translate to “whole spelt” in my kitchen. and “shortening” really means “butter” or very occasionally “lard”. You’ll probably also notice that many of these recipes are Alton Brown. He’s a genius. Even if I change some of the ingredients, or even use a different cookbook entirely, I usually use his methods. He’s our science teacher too…is there a better way to teach a four year old about chemical reactions than to make brownies while listening to Alton Brown describe the reaction that’s happening?! You know you were successful because of, you know, the deliciousness. But I digress. Without further ado,
Turkey Brine-by Alton Brown or Turkey Brine– The Pioneer Woman- I haven’t entirely settled on a brine recipe yet. But I know I don’t want candied ginger, and I do want apple cider, peppercorns, and lots of salt. I’ll update if I make one this year and love it. You know, for posterity. It should also be noted that I fundamentally disagree with Alton Brown about the usefulness of stuffing in to mankind.
Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce-though the version I make is simpler- a package of fresh cranberries, a couple of bottles of all-natural ginger ale, some maple syrup and some dried orange zest.
Green Bean Casserole– didn’t know this could be delicious, or made without a lot of crap ingredients. Turns out greenbeans don’t have to be mushy.
Viv’s Stuffing- This woman named Viv lived here for a bit a few years back, and she made us a Thanksgiving meal. Her stuffing was very simple, and I loved the big chunks of bread. I have to say, it feels a bit heretical to be admitting publicly that I like another stuffing besides my mom’s. I think, to be fair, that my tastes changed and I like most stuffing now, and I’ve since had my mom’s and it is very delicious too (we will be having both this weekend at some point), but this is the first time I remember eating stuffing and liking it, so it’s what I make. You make a broth with the giblets, saute up some onions and celery, season with a mix of poultry-type spices like parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Then you can sing that song. But use whatever you want. Moisten the bread (not too much…if you’ve brined you’ll have a juicy bird anyway!) and stuff. That’s it!
Candied Yams-My mom’s recipe. Until I got married I didn’t know that Thanksgiving sweet potatoes came without marshmallows. Huh. If you like that, then good for you. But this recipe is really important to me so I tend to make it no matter where we end up on or around Thanksgiving.- bake the sweet potatoes (apparently ‘yams’ are what grow primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, while ‘sweet potatoes’ are what grow here. The more you know) until a fork goes in easily. Peel, cut up into chunks, top with chunks of butter, sugar, cinnamon or whatever spices you like, and marshmallows. If you have a four-year-old, do not let her eat all the marshmallows. But let her eat some of them. ‘Cause you’re not a big meanie or a Thanksgiving bah-humbug. Or save the sugar consumption for pie. You’re smart. I know you’ll do the right thing for your kid.
Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie- no link for this one….my mom recently switched to an all-butter crust. This feels like a really big deal to me as I’ve never really felt confident making pie crust, despite having several friends who make really delicious ones. There’s this mental disconnect because I didn’t want to use Crisco and figured I wouldn’t be able to duplicate her crust so why bother? Anyway she has promised to teach me this weekend so maybe after that I’ll finally be able to get my head around it. All the other teachers in the world are great, but this is My. Mom. and I have super high hopes that it’ll sink in after this. No pressure, Mom. 😉