It had to do with my wonderful best friend A, you know the one I visited in Paris, before she had the nerve to move away. She’s been coming to my house for Thanksgiving for over TWO DECADES. Well, I found out she’s been holding out on me…FOR YEARS!
As I was mixing the stuffing, she decides to tell me only then…that she soaks HER dried apricots in Grand Marnier before adding them. I WAS GOBSMACKED!!! I had never heard such a brilliant idea before. I was really peeved that she had never shared that with me.
I grabbed my Grand Marnier, threw in the chopped apricots (she told me to chop them first, which was probably smart) and microwaved them quickly, just to enhance the soaking up of the flavor. Remember, she mentioned this moments before the stuffing was about to go into the turkey and, luckily, I hadn’t yet added the apricots.
This made a HUGE difference to the stuffing. It was unbelievably good and unbelievably BETTER than it would have been without the Grand Marnier. Thanks, A…FINALLY.
Her defense was that this was part of a Silver Palate recipe and I had given her the book years and years ago. Well, I don’t know EVERY recipe in there by heart…Needless to say, this will become an essential part of the recipe from now on. I decided to forgive her, because, even though it was twenty years late, it really is such a fabulous idea.
On to the gravy...I was very conscience of Nikki's disapproval of my little coloring trick. I was determined to color my roux the natural way and not fall back on my old friend Gravy Master.
It was all going well. I had plenty of drippings, my stock was at hand AND I still had time before my guests arrived. I measured out the flour, stirred it into the drippings and started to cook it to a beautiful deep nut brown.
Stirring, stirring, stirring…I remembered Nikki’s expression about using Gravy Master: “Hell to the NO!”, she said.
And then I looked at the clock and said to myself, “Hell to the NO, I don’t have time for this!“ I added the stock to my still pale roux, stirred and whisked and stirred AND snuck in some Gravy Master to give it a gorgeous color.
No one knew, no one could tell, neither could I and neither would you. I contend it makes absolutely no difference to the finished product, because I’m simmering it for so long anyway that the flavor is rich and deep and soooooooo good. Sorry, Nikki, but Gravy Master is here to stay.