Thanksgiving is just around the corner and while I’ll serve all the usual favorites my family looks forward to, I still haven’t decided on the main course. Oh yes, it’ll be turkey alright (plus a ham. Eck.) but how to serve it? My table will be set with mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn on the cob, turkey gravy, salad, homemade cranberry sauce, hot yeast rolls and deviled eggs. I’d love to herb and garlic roast a variety of new, fingerling, and sweet potatoes but Clay loves mashed potatoes with his turkey gravy. I’d love to saute asparagus or fresh green beans but our youngest daughter would be heartbroken without her greenbean casserole. The boys love buttery corn on the cob and deviled eggs are simply criminal to leave out. What I will not have though, is pumpkin pie! Nope, No Way, Nada!
I don’t hate it but I wouldn’t order it in a restaurant either. I love, love, love pecan pie! Here’s the pickle and a mystery…. Clay, nor any of our kids that are coming this year, like nuts. Every one of them, on the other hand, LOVES pumpkin pie. That being said, I make 2 Dixie pies ( A bourbon pecan pie with chocolate chips) and 2 pumpkin pies. Here’s where the mystery comes in… every year, nothing but crumbs remain of the Dixie pies and 1 1/2 pumpkin pies end up in the trash! How is this happening? So, this year, I’ll make 2 Dixie pies, 2 Buttermilk pies and some pumpkin cranberry bread with FREAKING NUTS IN IT!
So let’s talk Turkey… If you are wondering how I like turkey, roasted, smoked, deep fried, the answer is YES! I love it all, so how shall I serve it this year? Here’s are the options:
Herb Butter Roasted Turkey
1 tablespoon each, finely chopped fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
2-3 cloves garlic smashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Stick unsalted butter
1 Orange cut in half
1 medium Onion halved
Work herbs and garlic into barely softened butter. Loosen skin: Working from the neck end, slide fingers under skin until you reach the end of the breast, being careful not to tear the skin; rub herb butter under the skin leaving just enough to coat the cavity. Place orange and onion halves into cavity and roast according to weight / time on package.
This Turkey, I’ll serve with Clays absolute favorite part of the meal, cornbread dressing. There will be none of that soggy bread dressing mess. Oh no, not on my southern table but for those who aren’t fond of dressing at all (weirdo’s) I’ll make a rice variation as well.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup butter
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon pepper poultry seasoning, sage, salt, pepper to taste
PREPARE cornbread mixes according to package instructions using milk and 2 egg. Bake according to package instructions. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Country Rice dressing
5 c. Cooked Long grain rice
1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
3 c. Sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 c. Diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 c. Shredded carrot
1/2 c. Diced celery
1/2 c. Dried cranberries
1/2 c. Sliced green onion with chive
1/2 – 2/3 c Chicken broth
In a large skillet, brown the sausage. Add the carrots, diced onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms and cook until tender. Drain any excess liquid. To the skillet, add the rice with Chicken broth to keep moist, stirring to heat through. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Toss in cranberries and green onion. Serve
Uncle Wiltons Cajun Fried Turkey
1 c. Diced Celery
1 c. Diced Onion
1 c. Diced Bell Pepper
2 cloves Garlic minced
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne
Mix ingredients throughly in a bowl and set aside. Gently push back the skin from the turkey breast. Using a filet knife, cut deep pockets into the center of each breast. Stuff the the pockets as full as you can with the above mixture. Your bird should look like Dolly Parton! Gently pull the skin back over to cover your pockets. Deep fry your Turkey as usual. Once the Turkey is sliced, this area, Uncle Wilton calls ” the honey hole.” The rich flavor permeates every bite! I would serve this version in cajun thanksgiving style with Dirty Rice and black eyed peas.
1 1/2 cup long-grain rice
2 cups water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup cooked chicken livers
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 green onions, chopped
Salt Pepper Cayenne to taste
Cook the rice according to the package instructions, but use chicken broth the cooking liquid.
Turn the rice out onto a sheet pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Mix to combine and let cool.
Mash the chicken livers
In a large pan, put 1 tablespoon of oil plus the bacon and cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is crispy.
Add the ground pork and increase the heat to high and cook until well browned. As soon as the pork starts to brown, add the final tablespoon of oil and add the celery, bell pepper and onions.
Brown them all over medium-high heat. You may notice the bottom of the pan getting crusty. Keep it from burning by lowering the heat if needed. Add the minced liver and cook for a few minutes more. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom.
Add the seasoning and turn the heat to high. Boil away most of the chicken stock and then add the cooked rice. Toss to combine.
Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Toss once more to combine and serve hot.
What will your feast look like this year and what are you most thankful for? Friends, I am so abundantly blessed, even in these crazy times. Among my many blessings, I am grateful for you.
Always with love – Laura💕