Serving the Thanksgiving dinner at home can be a daunting task, even for a seasoned home cook.
But do not panic – you'll be armed with some tips from professional chefs who can save you time and even give dinner guests the peace of mind they need because they know what you're doing and doing everything under control.
Make the Dishes ahead of time
Do not try to fry a turkey and make all sides of Thanksgiving ̵
Many foods can be prepared in advance without compromising taste or quality.
Kathy Fang, who is both a recipe developer and chef / owner of San Francisco's San Francisco Tech favorite restaurant, recommends home-chefs to consider certain baked goods such as macaroni and cheese, potato gratin, candied yams and pies in advance.
"That's how you clear the turkey oven room and only need the oven to warm up the food," she explained. "For cheesy dishes, leave the cheese and add it before reheating it before serving."
Sauces and stuffing
Fang also recommends dressing up 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 would like to stale before 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 – preferably with a selection of nuts or raisins – and soak it in milk and eggs, season it with chopped sage and thyme and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Bake it one hour before dinner and then you're done. "
" 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 on – 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 cooking on the day of the meal can be started earlier in the week.
"You can prepare and chop anything, except fruit such as apples or pears that oxidize," Fang said. "Vegetables can be prepared early, and I like to chop herbs every 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
Defrosting a 16-pound turkey lasts 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 is frozen at Thanksgiving? Here is.
And decide how to cook it
There are numerous ways to prepare and fry your turkey, and some must be prepared in advance.
If you are salting, you should make a plan of 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: ] Cook different dishes in the same oven
"The use of aluminum foil is a great way to use the oven during dry roasting like turkey," stated D & # 39; Ambrosio stuck. "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," ordered Fang. "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 have sold this holiday to all At a time when you are presenting a home-cooked meal, it is 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 you are serving a shop-side 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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