Easy Thanksgiving Shortcuts

How to Make Stock & Gravy for the Holidays

These are two great project to make this weekend and freeze for your holiday next week. You don’t need to wait until the turkey is cooked before making your gravy. You can make the stock in a slow cooker, much hands off and you don’t need to precisely cut the vegetables since you will discard them after the stock is made. 
This time of year all grocery stores, especially the high end ones, Whole Foods, Gelsons, Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms will carry turkey and chicken pieces for your stock. You can mix chicken parts with the turkey and you won’t notice a difference.

Even if you say you don’t want ‘pre-made’ gravy and want to wait until your bird is done, make the roux (flour and fat which thickens the gravy) ahead of time and refrigerate. Cut up the vegetables for the stock, put them in a freezer bag and pop in the freezer until you make the actual stock. There’s enough to do at the last minute! I know many of you will balk at not stuffing your bird but it’s very dangerous and takes so much longer to cook that the turkey is usually overdone. If you insist that the dressing tastes better there are a couple of ways you can accomplish more ‘turkey’ flavor in the dressing. One, use turkey stock to make the dressing/stuffing and mince some turkey parts to mix in with the dressing. You can buy gizzards, hearts etc. and use them to make stock then mince and add to the dressing. Here’s a really great trick to cut down on time in the kitchen….Cut your turkey into pieces instead of cooking a huge unwieldy bird. Add the dressing to the pan with the turkey 30 minutes before it’s due to come out of the oven and you’ll have that ‘cooked in turkey’ taste. The turkey not only cooks faster, it’s easier to serve, easier to carve and the clean up is next to nothing. You won’t have that carcass that you try and cover and stick in the overcrowded refrigerator and you will have a perfectly cooked bird as you can now remove the breast pieces from the oven when they are done rather than take the chance the breast will be overdone before the legs/thighs are cooked. 

So those are my simple tricks to make Thanksgiving an easier meal to cook. Get started with these two short video’s and get cookin’ this weekend! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Here are a couple of video’s that I made with my friend, Christina Peters from
Food Photography Blog

 

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