What am I making for Thanksgiving? I'm glad you asked. Here’s my Thanksgiving menu plan.
(Note for readers expecting an all-pressure-cooked meal - I’m too much of a traditionalist. I want a big, roast bird for Thanksgiving, and a side of baked stuffing. Now, that doesn’t mean my pressure cookers don’t get a workout, but they’re more of a supporting player on Thanksgiving.)
No plan survives contact with the enemy…we have met the enemy, and he is us.
You have to have a plan for a Big Thanksgiving Dinner. I get my notebook out and plan out the week leading up to Thanksgiving. I’m making broth on the weekend, dry brining turkeys on Monday, stuffing and gravy the day before, and peeling potatoes in the morning. The turkey’s going on the grill at about Noon. I want everything scheduled out (and made ahead if at all possible) so I don’t find myself doing what I did for my first few Thanksgiving dinners, and watching the stuffing and mashed potatoes slowly get cold while the turkey struggles to get to 160°F.
I have the family coming over to my place this year, so I’m cooking two turkeys. One is my fancy bird, with an elaborate dry brine, cooked on the rotisserie:
The other is a simple dry brine, grilled with a little wood smoke:
(And, no, I’m not trying my crazy two turkeys, one spit approach from a few years back - my infrared rotisserie burner is on the fritz, and my charcoal kettle isn't big enough for two birds.)
Mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy
Frankly, this is the section that makes “Thanksgiving” for me. I need turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing. (Preferably a drumstick I can wave it around like Henry VIII, mashed potatoes and gravy shaped like a volcano, with the rest of the plate covered with stuffing.) Yes, it’s all carbs, all the time - that’s how my ideal thanksgiving goes.
- Rotisserie Pan Bread Stuffing with Cranberries and Apples
- Pressure Cooker Turkey Giblet Gravy
- And…wait…I don’t have my mashed potato recipe on the blog? Still? After all these years? Geez, I need to fix that…
The fun stuff
Now it’s time for the side dishes that make thanksgiving interesting - your sweet potatoes, your squashes, some green vegetables to make it feel like it’s not entirely a carb-fest. (It’s also where I’d put the can of cranberry sauce, which you can plop onto a plate if that’s how you like to serve it…) Here are some of my favorites; I double these recipes to make them work with the Thanksgiving crowd. I’m going to pick a couple of these, filling in around the “can I help” contributions from the rest of my family.
- Pressure Cooker Sweet Potato Puree
- Pressure Cooker Mashed Acorn Squash
- Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash with Honey and Sage
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Honey
- Pressure Cooker Green Beans
Save the bones!
And, of course, my last Thanksgiving admonition - save the carcass from the turkey! I’m making After Thanksgiving Turkey Soup next week, so don’t throw out those bones. (You *do* save the bones, right? I’m not the only one who, when I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, asks to take home the leftover turkey carcass?)
What do you think?
Any essential Thanksgiving side dishes I’m leaving out? Questions? Leave them in the comments section below.
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