Thanksgiving dinner this year? It can also be a daunting task for an experienced home chef.
But do not panic – you'll be armed with some tips from professional chefs that will save you time and even give your dinner guests the peace of mind you need to relax knowing what you're doing is doing it all and have everything under control.
Make the dishes ahead of time
Do not try to fry a turkey and make all sides on Thanksgiving – you will burn through quickly and be exhausted from dinner
Many foods can be prepared in advance without To make compromises in terms of taste or quality.
Kathy Fang, who is both a recipe developer and chef / owner of favorite Fang restaurant in San Francisco, encourages home cooks to prepare certain baked goods such as macaroni and cheese, potato gratin, candied sweet potatoes and pates at least a few days in advance.
"That way, you'll clear the turkey oven room and just need the oven to reheat the food," she explained. "For cheesy dishes, leave the cheese and add it before reheating it before serving."
Sauces and Stuffing
Fang also recommends making a salad dressing for two days. Compotes, marinades, cranberry sauce and gravy to save a lot of time on Thanksgiving. The filling can be started technically as soon as you buy the bread you want to have stale until the holiday.
"The Thanksgiving Filling is certainly something that improves in advance," said Christopher D & # 39; Ambrosio, Executive Chef Cook in the Barn and Farmhouse in Bedford, New York. "Take dry or stale bread ̵
" For me, the least recognized star of the Thanksgiving meal is the sauce, "said Greg Biggers, head chef of Margeaux Brasserie in Chicago. "Let's be honest: A good gravy is poured on everything and often postponed to the last minute, which makes it a big time, I always like to start a few days in advance, so there's time to sit and all the flavors come really good together and take the stress of the day. "
Dessert is a course that you can get into super early – how now if you want?
"A light dough crust," said Margeaux Brasseries pastry chef Ashley Torto. "You can prepare and freeze the dough in advance, you can even make the dough, crimp it in your cake plate and freeze it in this way, you can bake the cake a day or two in advance, it will hold well and it will open Place in your oven on Thanksgiving. "
Prepare Your Ingredients
Even meals that need to be cooked on the day of food can be started earlier in the week.
"You can prepare and chop everything, except fruits like apples or pears that oxidize," Fang said. "Vegetables can be prepared well in advance and I like to chop the herbs each day to make sure they're fresh."
Buy your turkey now
"First, I would not buy a frozen bird, it should always be fresh," insisted D & # 39; Ambrosio. "The turkeys are already dry and lean, so the purchase of frozen foods certainly will not help." The New York Times found that a fresh turkey can be vacuum-preserved for three days when vacuum-packed.
If you get a frozen turkey – and most Americans do – make sure it has enough time to thaw. In the refrigerator, this process takes about 24 hours per pound, according to USDA.
Thawing a 16-pound turkey takes about four days and can be left in the refrigerator for two days before cooking. Buy your turkey this Saturday and it will have plenty of time to thaw. If you get a bigger bird, the sooner you buy it, the better.
Turkey remains frozen at Thanksgiving? Here is.
And decide how to cook it
There are many ways to prepare and roast your turkey, and some must be prepared in advance.
If you want to roast, make a plan when to start. If you go on the Spatchcock route, make sure the turkey is defrosted until Wednesday so you can soak it overnight with butterflies and dry brine.
Read more about Chowhound: A guide for beginners to cook Thanksgiving dinners
Cook different dishes in the same oven
"The use of aluminum foil is a great way to cook the oven during dry-roasting like turkey, "says D & # 39; Ambrosio. "This allows supplements to remain moist and cook lightly, as the film protects and enhances a moist environment within the oven."
"The turkey needs the longest, so it has to be put in first," Fang ordered. "Usually over four hours, depending on the size of the bird."
Place the turkey on the bottom shelf to make room for it to bake, heat and roast. Once the turkey is about an hour from completion, you can heat up casserole dishes such as sweet potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese, which takes about 30 minutes. Once this is done, insert other items and turn them out once they are done.
When the turkey is done, it has to rest for at least 10 to 20 minutes before carving it. During this time, you can put everything else in the oven that needs to be warmed up or cooked, eg. B. roasted vegetables.
Remember: Semi-homemade and Potluck are more than OK
Even if you've sold this vacation to all At a time when you're presenting a home-cooked meal, it's no shame to buy the semi-homemade and / or adopt potluck approaches with more shortcuts if you feel they are saving you time and stress and allowing you to enjoy the day a bit.
This could mean that you are serving a shop-bought garnish or simply asking someone in advance to bring something straightforward, such as: As a drink or a few packages with bread for dinner.
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