Well, the Detroit Lions lost horribly in their game against the Tennessee Titans. A disaster of a game. Worst loss on Thanksgiving day ever for the Lions.
Fortunately, my dinner was NOT a disaster. It was DELICIOUS. I declare this year’s Thanksgiving feast a complete success! You can see before and after pictures of the Thanksgiving meal on my Flickr page.
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast (recipe from Ina Garten)
This recipe was so easy. I bought a nice 7 pound turkey breast, bone in, and spread this delicious mix of herbs and garlic all over it and under the skin. I put it in a roasting pan, and I poured a cup of a nice pinot grigio into the bottom. Into the oven it went, and a little less than 2 hours later, it was done. It turned out juicy, was completely cooked (no undercooked poultry here!), and has an amazing flavor. I can’t wait to make turkey sandwiches out of the leftovers!
As for the gravy, I used the defatted pan drippings, which had some of the delicious herbs in it, and combined them in a pan with some butter and flour. It thickened up nicely this year. I’m getting better at gravy (it takes practice just like my mom said).
Note: I don’t own a roasting pan. Nor do I own a roasting rack. So I bought a small aluminum roasting pan at the grocery store, and made a snake out of some aluminum foil to create a makeshift rack on the bottom. It worked well.
Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing (recipe from Tyler Florence)
Since I was only making a turkey breast and didn’t have anything to stuff, I used the option of cooking it in a baking dish instead, essentially turning stuffing into dressing. I took a hand from the store and used pre-made cornmeal muffins. The flavor of the sage was nice without being overpowering. Unfortunately, however, it turned out a bit dry. It may have baked for too long, or maybe the dish was too big so it was spread too thin. I’m not sure. With some gravy poured over it to make it moist, it tasted wonderful, so I think I’ll try it again, but I’ll play around with the size of the baking dish. And when I reheat it I think I’ll add a touch of chicken stock.
Smashed Sweet Potatoes (recipe also from Ina Garten)
I was looking for something different this year to do with my sweet potatoes. Yes, there’s something to be said for the candied ones with pecans and marshmallows. But I know I’ll get those at Christmas, so I wanted something else for Thanksgiving. So I tried these.
They turned out a bit loose rather than the expected thick like mashed potatoes, but they are wonderfully spicy and not overly sweet. The orange juice in them adds some necessary acid to keep them from being sugary. Overall, I’ll make these again, but next time I’ll try adding an extra potato or two to give it a better consistency. These are definitely being added to my recipe file for future use.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Garlic
I made these last year. They are SO GOOD. And easy. I cooked them up while the turkey rested and just wow. Nice thick cut bacon, a couple of cloves of minced garlic and lots of fresh brussels sprouts all caramelized in the pan. Just perfect. I don’t think I could improve on this one if I tried my hardest, but why would I want to?
Cranberry & Wine Sauce
I got this recipe from my friends AH and DS. Yes, we have our family tradition of orange-ginger-cranberry relish, but like the sweet potatoes, I’m making that for Christmas. I actually made this the night before, to give it time to chill and gel. Take two bags of fresh cranberries, 2 cups of port wine, 2 cups of sugar, and a bunch of spices and throw it all in a pot and boil until the cranberries pop. That’s it. So easy. And it turned out fantastic. I’m looking forward to putting a spoonful over my oatmeal in the morning or warming a bit and pouring it over ice cream.
As for dessert, right now I’m too full. And tomorrow is my annual Pumpkin Roll baking extravaganza. But for tonight I’m going to do the dishes and collapse on the couch for awhile.