Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday smells like...Thanksgiving Dinner

J and I spent a quiet Thanksgiving Thursday at home (aside from waking up early to serve breakfast at a place downtown, which was an awesome way to start the day). We postponed our Thanksgiving Dinner extravaganza to today (Saturday) to share with friends who had other plans on Thursday.
We are pretty much sticking to our typical menu (turkey roasted with herbed duck fat, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin ice cream) with a few additions (grilled asparagus and vanilla ice cream, too).  I'll be back throughout the day with pictures, because they'll say so much more than I could try to find the words for!
We'll start with my cranberry-orange relish, which is best when made a couple days early and allowed to sit in the refrigerator.  (By the way, this recipe is 2 points per 1/4 cup serving.)

Next up, y'all know that duck fat plays a big role in our Thanksgiving.  The herbed duck fat compound is used to bard the turkey (Basically, you squeeze this concoction between the skin and the meat of the turkey.  As the turkey cooks, the fat melts and drips down through the turkey.  Makes for an incredibly moist bird!).  You start with frozen duck fat:

So you cut off a chunk of duck fat and throw it in the KitchenAid stand mixer.  Then, you add a variety of chopped herbs and blend it all together.  When you scoop it out, the compound looks like this:

 Then, this is the cool part (I think)--you roll the duck fat compound up into a cling wrap tube of yummy goodness and toss it back in the refrigerator.  It stays like this until you're ready to pop your turkey in the oven!  (On it's own--though I don't know why you'd eat it on it's own--the herbed duck fat compound is about 5 WW points per 1 tbsp. serving)

Okay, as of 11:00 we've added the following:
See how the turkey is kind of green now?  That's all of the herbs in the duck fat compound, smoothed out under the skin!

The legs are in the oven, getting a head start on roasting, and the turkey breast/wings are chilling (literally) waiting for their turn to join the legs.

Since the ice cream base needs to set up a bit before actually turning it into ice cream, I went ahead and made the vanilla and pumpkin (below).  Both are cooling in our rapidly running out of room refrigerator!

Next up--prepping ingredients for the stuffing and asparagus, and boiling potatoes!

12:30 update:
The turkey legs smell and look amazing!

The breast is now in the oven, and I'm struggling not to compare it to a frog!  With its wings tucked back, they kind of look like legs.  To me, at least...

The pumpkin ice cream is made and hanging out in the freezer.

Next up...hmmm...same as last time--we still need to prep stuffing ingredients and boil those potatoes!

2:30 update!  Ready for more? We finally got started on our sides by putting the potatoes on to boil and browning the sausage for our stuffing.  J sliced the leeks earlier today, so that means all of the 'parts' are ready to combine for the stuffing.

He also prepped the asparagus, and since he cooked the bacon and sliced the onions earlier, that dish is ready to put together just before we eat, too!

I also made the vanilla ice cream, so it is setting up in the freezer with the pumpkin ice cream I made earlier.

What's next?  Chantilly cream for the pumpkin ice cream and mashed potatoes are the last of the 'make-ahead' items.  When the turkey comes out of the oven, we can put the stuffing in.  Then, we're just waiting until closer to meal time to make the gravy and the asparagus.  Oh, and I need to set the table...
Okay, I failed to get back with another cooking update before dinner, so this part of the post will probably be even heavier on pictures (and since it's nearly ten and I'm exhausted, lighter on words!).  The turkey breast came out:

...and the stuffing went in.

The Chantilly cream was whipped...
(but I forgot to take a picture)

...and the potatoes were mashed.

The stuffing baked...

...and the gravy was made.

And somehow, I forgot to take a picture of the food table (we did buffet style).  Believe me, though, everything tasted just as great as it smelled today!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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