Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

We could not write a blog entry today and ignore Thanksgiving. For that reason, we thought it would be nice to share with you our Thanksgiving dinner. Of course for her, Thanksgiving is a tradition which cannot be skipped, no matter where you find yourself on the fourth Thursday of November. For him, Thanksgiving is still rather new, but he is willing to go along with it, including finding a way to tape the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade so she could watch it when she got back from work!

There was so much food at Thanksgiving that we could not take pictures of it all, but here we will share with you our secret to what we consider the perfect turkey (chicken in this case), stuffing, gravy, and caramelized carrots.

First, the stuffing. For great homemade stuffing we use a recipe from her mom, which she grew up with.

4 cups bread (any type is ok as long as less than 25% is something other than white and the bread should be left out overnight to dry out if it is sandwich bread)
1 stick butter
1 medium onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbs parsley
1/2 tsp herb mix
1 egg


Tear the bread into smaller pieces. You can cut it into the cubes but she grew up with it being torn so cutting just does not seem right! Melt the butter on the stove over medium. Add the onions and cook until they are glossy. Mix the onion/butter mix with the bread, add the celery, parsley, herb mix (I use Nature's Seasoning), and an egg. The mixture should be rather moist but not wet. If you do not think it is moist enough add another egg.

After the stuffing is ready, prepare the turkey (we used two chickens). Wash the turkey, take out anything that came with it (heart, neck, etc). Rub the outside and the inside of the turkey with salt. Stuff the inside (both back and front) of the turkey. Do not pack it too densely. It will not cook through if you do this!

Put the turkey on a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400 F. Lower the temperature to 350 F for as long as suggested for a turkey your size. We made two chickens which took in total 2 3/4 hours.

Four times during cooking we took the chickens out of the oven and brushed the juice they were sitting in. This gave them an extra brown skin.

To make the gravy, use the drippings that came off your chicken. Remove as much fat as you can and then use 1 Tbs of the drippings with 1 Tbs flour and heat on the stove until it starts to bubble, not longer! Add 1 cup of chicken broth, mix well and let cook until thickened. Much better than the canned stuff!

Besides chicken we also ate caramelized carrots. A dish which he found extremely disgusting and weird at first but has learned to eat and enjoys (as long as it is only served once a year).

The original caramelized carrot recipe is from her family, although she is not sure who came up with it. This recipe calls for maple syrup. Maple syrup is expensive in Germany and we don't have much use for it so instead we used brown sugar.

For our recipe you need:

4 large carrots, chopped
1/2 stick butter
3 Tbs brown sugar

Chop the carrots into round slices. Heat butter in a pan over medium. Add the carrots, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until they start to get soft. Add the brown sugar, stir and continue to cook until completely soft and caramelized.

Those were the main parts of our Thanksgiving dinner. We also had mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and carrot cake! Now we are very full and need to take the traditional Thanksgiving Day nap.

We hope that everyone else celebrating Thanksgiving had a disaster free day in the kitchen and a tasty meal!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Onion and Garlic Lover!!!

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