This will be my first year hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I'm a little nervous, and not just because my kitchen currently does not have a floor. Really. All of the baseboards in my kitchen are being ripped up. Hooray for water damage.
As excited as I am to share my new home with my family, I'm really worried about is cooking the turkey. I've been told it's easy, but my main Thanksgiving duties are usually limited to pies and Brussel sprouts.
This year's menu may be a bit ambitious, especially when you consider that I'm only cooking for five people...
You may be thinking, girl has no idea how much food is too much food. But you are wrong. I know this is waayyyy too much food. My goal is to have enough leftovers for at least a week. So I'm about 92% sure that I know what I'm doing.
For the other 8% I'm taking a few short cuts and making a game plan.
Living in Lexington means even buying shortcuts need a game plan. I'm buying the cranberry salsa, gravy, whipped sweet potatoes (so all I have to do is spice and top with marshmallows), mac & cheese, and the rum pie's graham cracker crust pre-made. Since I live over an hour from the closest Fresh Market, that's a good amount of travel time to work into Thanksgiving prep, but TFM is totally worth it. Sorry Kroger.
For the things I may not be able to find at Kroger or TFM, there's D'Artagnan. I've recently become enamored with D'Artagnan after receiving their duck confit legs from Plated. I bought their Duck & Veal Demi-Glace, Duck Fat, Duck and Armagnac Sausage, and Wild Boar Sausage for the big day.
I am also buying the Rye Whiskey Caramel Sauce from Terrain, because making my own caramel is certain to set off the smoke detector.
Lastly, I'm asking my favorite local cheese shop, Cheese to You!, to curate a charcuterie plate for the big day. It will be amazing without a doubt, my only concern is that I'll eat it all absentmindedly throughout the week.
With all my shortcuts in place, here is my game plan for a successful Thanksgiving day!
Monday: Make pie crust dough for pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Make and freeze rum pie. You can also make (and devour) a practice pie. Don't forget to pick up charcuterie fixins (unless, of course, your favorite cheese store is restocked on a regular basis).
Tuesday: Grocery time! Pick up preordered items (Turkey, Cranberry Salsa, Mac & Cheese, Cornbread, and Sweet Potatoes) and rest of grocery items. Fry shallots and make the mushroom mix for Green Bean Casserole.
Wednesday: PIE DAY!! Bake all the pies, make the salad (dressing and all), then make the stuffing (but leave out any liquids), blanche the green beans, and par-cook the turkey.
THE BIG DAY: Mull cider (which will make your home smell lovely) and add bourbon. Finish making stuffing and stuff the turkey. Preheat oven to 375 and cook potato gratin and sweet potato casserole; raise oven temp to 425 and cook green bean casserole; raise temp again to 475 and roast turkey. Cover all dishes with foil to keep warm after removing them from the oven. When carving the turkey, return other dishes to oven and turn the oven on to warm dishes.
Now I'm at 100% confidence for hosting Thanksgiving. After all, where could a turkey covered in duck fat go wrong?