I enjoy entertaining and cooking, so for Thanksgiving, I decided to do a cook together series, that will spread through the several days. Everything that can be prepared in advance gets prepared and we can enjoy the Thanksgiving feast without being exhausted from all of the cooking. Let’s cook together Thanksgiving Feast!
This year for Thanksgiving we are cooking up a beautiful feast with the dishes we like. We will use traditional flavours, but maybe not in the usual set of dishes. Everything that I cook is gluten-free. And ALL flours I use are gluten-free. No exception. If you are not gluten intolerant, and you have a good recipe, feel free to use that one instead.
Chorizo Cornbread Cubes with Fresh Cheese & Cheddar Dip
MAIN AND SIDES
Apple and cranberry pie with vanilla sauce
THE INGREDIENT LIST
Every recipe will have it’s own ingredient list as well. This is the master ingredient list, so you can put it on your grocery list. Since we are starting days ahead, I suggest buying turkey meat a day or two before Thanksgiving. Or if you buy it days ahead, put it in a freezer. I also added salt and pepper to the list, so you make sure you have enough at home.
Fresh Jalapeno (optional)
Salt & Pepper
MAIN & SIDES
Turkey breast – I will use the ones that were cut into schnitzels
Hokkaido Pumpkin or any other pumpkin you like
Clementines – use the ones with an edible rind
Salt & Pepper
hazelnuts or pecans
fresh and dried mushrooms
bread crumbs (gluten-free)
white or yellow onion
starch or potato flour
Clementines – with an edible rind
starch or potato flour
The most important thing when preparing a big dinner is the schedule. For this dinner, even though it has “only” three courses, I suggest at least a 3-day schedule. With this schedule, you should be able to prepare everything.
On this day we will prepare the things that can last longer – cheese dip and cranberry sauce. The dip will benefit from a couple of days in the fridge. And cranberry sauce can stay in the jar for a while without spoiling.
Even though we will bake the pie before dinner, we can still prepare the dough at least a day ahead (I suggest two days ahead). You can also line the baking dish with the dough, and prepare the lattice or decorations for the top. Simply keep everything in the fridge until the assembly time.
Toast nuts for salad. They need to be cool when added to salad anyway, so why not do it now.
Prepare rolled turkey
Cut the pumpkin for puree
Prepare gravy base
Make vanilla sauce
set the table (optional but saves the time)
Rolled turkey isn’t had to make, but it does require a bit of time to assemble. I would like to avoid assembling it on the day of the dinner. I have done it on the dinner date in the past, and it was stressful. It’s better to do it in the evening before.
Pumpkin is sometimes hard to clean. It depends on the type of pumpkin that you chose. I will cook mine, so I will now just cut it into cubes and put it in a container, and to the fridge. Then the next day I will cook it with potatoes and make the puree. If you wish to bake the pumpkin for baked pumpkin puree, you can also do that now. I would then puree it while it is hot. Things puree more easily when they are hot.
The base for the gravy can be made in advance. The only thing that it would need on the dinner day is to be thickened, and for turkey juices and mushrooms to be added to it.
Vanilla sauce is served cold. And if prepared one day ahead, it will cool down to the right temperature. Also, it is a bit fiddly to make, so it is one of the things that are better done in advance when you can concentrate on mixing.
You can also set your table in the evening if you are not using it for cooking.
DAY 3 – DINNER DAY
Make cornbread with chorizo
Bake the turkey
Make pumpkin puree
Assemble and bake the pie
Since cornbread needs to cool down before serving, I would start the day with it. Also, take the turkey role out of the fridge, so it comes to room temperature before baking. When the cornbread is done, put the turkey in and bake it at low temperature. It does need 1 hour per lb (0.5 kg). When it is done, it needs to rest for at least 20 minutes. So make sure to put it in the oven soon enough.
While the turkey is cooking assemble the pie. The filling itself is made from chopped apples and fresh cranberries.
After pie is assembled, peel the potatoes and boil them with pumpkin until soft. Then make the puree.
When the turkey is out of the oven, add in the pie, and finish the salad and gravy. Then start with serving the dinner. Between cornbread and turkey, you should have enough time to set up the table and make it pretty.
FOLLOWED TIME SCHEDULE
Here is the schedule in case you want to eat dinner at 2.30 pm:
09.00 take the turkey out of the fridge
09.10 make cornbread
10.00 set the table (if you didn’t do that on day 2) or chop apples for pie, or veggies for salad
11.00 put the turkey into the oven
11.30 brown the cornbread bites and set on an appetizer platter with the dip
12.00 assemble pie
1.30 pm bake the pie
1.35 pm boil potatoes and pumpkin
1.45 pm chop veggies for salad
2.00 pm make the puree
2.15 pm assemble the salad
2.30 pm serve and enjoy!
For closure, I wanted to make quick tips to make the Thanksgiving entertaining go even smoother. This 3-day schedule is just an example. You can stretch it even more, and make it a 4-day schedule. This will allow you to cook smaller amounts and prepare everything with even less stress. The trick to writing your schedule is to think about what needs to be served at what temperature and what can last in the fridge.
DO THE FRESH OR SENSITIVE STUFF ON THE DAY OF THE PARTY
Fresh mushrooms have to be done on the day of the party. Salad veggies or any other veggies that will be eaten fresh have to be done on the day of the party.
Meet, if served hot, should be done on the party day.
Please don’t boil the potatoes day before. These should be boiled and pureed on the same day. Preferably right before eating, so they are fresh and fluffy.
DO THE COLD DISHES IN ADVANCE
If you are serving cold desserts then do them waay ahead of time. Most of the cakes can stand a couple of days without getting stale. Some even get better with time.
Most of the cold appetizers can be at least prepared in advance. If you chop everything you need for appetizers in advance assembling them on the day would be a breeze.
If baking rolls, make the dough night before, then leave it in the fridge to slowly proof. This saves you at least 2 hours. In the morning you can then just form the dough and it can have it’s second proofing before you put it into the oven.
DON’T BE A HERO
Do not try to make everything on the same day. You can. But it will be a lot of stress and you won’t enjoy the process. And this process can be greatly satisfying.
DON’T COOK SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE IT IS THOUGHT OF GENERAL TRADITION.
Make dishes you like. Don’t be stuck about making pumpkin pie, if you don’t like it. There is no reason why not to create and have your family traditions.
I hope that with these tips and the schedule, your Thanksgiving dinner will be as enjoyable to cook as it is to eat 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂