There are few pleasures in life that compare to waking up to the smell of a roasting turkey on Thanksgiving morning. But I’ve got to admit, when it comes to the cooking, I’m more of a hands-off type of girl. I’m much better at eating the delicious food then I am at helping to prepare it. While I’d much rather cozy up on the couch to watch the New Orleans’ Saints beat the Cowboys this Thursday (we’re all entitled to our own opinions), I’ve decided that this year I’m actually going to be useful and lend my mom a hand in the kitchen. If you’re like me and this is your first attempt at Thanksgiving cooking, then fear not! I’ve assembled 6 classic dishes you can use to get you started all courtesy of some of your favorite chefs. Check out the recipes below, and have a happy and yummy Thanksgiving!
Warning: These recipes are not for those watching their waistlines!
Tom Colicchio’s Herb-Butter Turkey
Recipe and Image: Epicurious
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme plus 15 fresh thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon plus 5 large fresh tarragon sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary plus 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage plus 5 fresh sage sprigs
1 14- to 16-pound turkey
4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1) Mix 1/2 cup butter and all minced herbs in small bowl; season herb butter with salt and pepper.
2) Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 425F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry.
3) Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 4 tablespoons herb butter over breast meat under skin. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Sprinkle main cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place 4 tablespoons plain butter and all fresh herb sprigs in main cavity. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely. Rub remaining herb butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey generously with salt and pepper.
4) Place turkey in oven and roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Roast turkey 30 minutes; pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon plain butter to roasting pan. Roast turkey 30 minutes; baste with pan juices, then pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Cover turkey loosely with foil.
5) Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175F, basting with pan juices and adding 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon butter to pan every 45 minutes, about 1 hour 45 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
Tom Colicchio’s Turkey Gravy
Recipe: Epicurious; Image: istock
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds turkey necks and/or wings
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced peeled carrots
1 cup diced celery
6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1) Melt butter in heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add turkey necks and/or wings and saut until deep brown, about 15 minutes.
2) Add onions, carrots, and celery and saut until vegetables are deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken broth and bring to boil.
3) Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Pour gravy base through strainer set over 4-cup measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract liquid. If necessary, add enough chicken broth to gravy base to measure 4 cups. (Gravy base can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before using.)
5) Strain excess juices from turkey pan into bowl; whisk in gravy base.
6) Melt reserved 2 tablespoons herb butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat; add flour and whisk constantly until roux is golden brown, about 6 minutes.
7) Gradually add pan juice-gravy base mixture; increase heat and whisk constantly until gravy thickens, boils, and is smooth.
8) Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until gravy is reduced to 4 1/2 cups, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper.
Paula Deen’s Southern Cornbread Stuffing
Recipe: foodnetwork; Image: istock
Cornbread, recipe follows
7 slices oven-dried white bread
1 sleeve saltine crackers
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sage (optional)
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (optional)
5 eggs, beaten
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.
3) Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture.
4) Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper, sage and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well.
5) Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish.
3) Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
4) To serve, cut into desired squares and serve with butter.
Martha Stewart’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe: Martha Stewart; Image: istock
6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
1 pound elbow macaroni
1) Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
2) Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
3) Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.
4) Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
5) Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.
Dan Barber’s Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Recipe: abcnews.go.com; Image: istock
1 orange, peeled, pit removed, juiced
1/2 lemon, peeled, pit removed, juiced
1 12-ounce package cranberries
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
1/2 tea of yuzu juice
2 cups port
2-inch knob ginger, peeled and julienned
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1) Julienne the orange and lemon peel. Heat citrus juices in a small saucepan, add peel and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan, cook the cranberries, onion, port, ginger, brown sugar, salt, pepper and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes.
3) Stir in the Grand Marnier, citrus peels and juice. Set aside to cool and serve at room temperature.
Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato Pie
Recipe and Image: iVillage
1 sweet pastry recipe
2 1/4 pounds large sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
1 cup heavy cream (or natural yogurt for a “skinnier” version), for clementine cream
Zest and juice of 3 clementines, for clementine cream
2 tablespoons superfine sugar, for clementine cream
4 clementines, peeled and sliced into rounds, to serve (optional)
1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make your pastry, and while its in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, prick your sweet potatoes with a fork, lay them on a sheet pan, and pop them into the oven theyll need about 50 minutes to an hour, until theyre soft and cooked through. When theyre ready, take them out of the oven and turn the temperature down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) After the pastry has had 30 minutes in the refrigerator, stick it in the oven to blind bake (fill the crust with parchment and pie weights before putting it in the oven).
3) While the pie crust is in the oven, peel the skins from the roasted sweet potatoes and discard. Put the flesh into a large bowl and mash it up. Melt your butter in a saucepan on a low heat and add it to the sweet potato with the sugar, flour, nutmeg, a large pinch of cinnamon, and the vanilla extract. Whisk 2 eggs in a separate bowl, pour them into the mixture, then mash everything together until completely combined.
4) Spoon your sweet potato mixture into the cooled pie crust, and use a fork or spoon to spread it out evenly. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out your leftover pastry (plus any bits that you trimmed off the sides). Cut it into long strips, a bit longer than the width of your pie. Drape these strips over the top, crisscrossing them as you go so you get a nice lattice design on the top. Tidy up the sides, then beat your remaining egg and brush over the pastry. Put the pie into the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until gorgeous and golden.
5) Make your clementine cream just before serving by whipping the cream, clementine zest and juice, and sugar together until youve got soft peaks. Take your pie out of the oven and let it cool for about 25 minutes before serving with the clementine cream. Lovely with a few slices of clementine on the side.