Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Wrapup – The Good, The Bad And The Soupy

   Thanksgiving 2011   

A small (actually, a very large) problem cropped up days before Thanksgiving. For unexplained reasons, my Whole Foods only had turkeys in the 14 pound range or ones over 22 pounds. I’ve had a long standing rule of never cooking a turkey over 20 pounds. They’re just too hard to handle, they take too long to cook and they’re really tough to turn upside down after cooking. 

But I had a big crowd and lots of houseguests, so I really didn’t have a choice. I got a 22.68 pound turkey.

For whatever reason, it was one of the best turkeys I ever made.

Here's Tom, before he got turned upside down.
It browned beautifully. And it took less than 5 hours to cook. (Somehow, my turkeys always take less time to cook than whatever I’ve calculated.)

We started with my new favorite dip combination – hummus and tzatziki with lots of goodies on top:

Where's my soup? I forgot to take a picture. It was goooood. 

I tripled my stuffing recipe and had only about a quarter cup left when I deemed it no longer ready for primetime (or eating) on Sunday night. 


Three out of four of the pies were quite good. (Am I allowed to say that?)

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie
Pecan Pie

But the last one, the cherry pie, had real problems. When I was considering which cherry pie to make, my smart friend, Tom, pointed out that the reason cherry pies usually have a lattice crust is so that some of the juice can evaporate. 

I was trying to avoid another latticed pie, because my apple pie had one, but I relented when I saw a pretty good (I thought) recipe in the Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook, which I’ve been thrilled with every time I’ve used.

Cherry Pie
The resulting cherry pie LOOKED okay, but it was way too soupy. Think of something at the opposite end of the texture spectrum from Comstock Cherry Pie Filling, which (between you and me - and you better not tell anyone) I love. But I would never serve it (in public), and I especially wouldn't at Thanksgiving.

I think what I would do next time is to get the cherries already thickened BEFORE they are put into the pie crust. I DID like that the recipe called for a thicker lattice than I usually do. I think ¾ inch makes a more definitive statement than some little namby-pamby ½ inch lattice.

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I had some inventive young men around (with very strong appetites) who made turkey sliders after Thanksgiving. These were NOT hot turkey sandwiches. They were cold sandwiches with hot gravy installed on them. This was done in a most unlikely way in the form of the slightly repulsively named Moist Maker, which found fame from Friends.

The Moist Maker is a sponge-like piece of gravy-soaked white bread which is stacked between the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries. (I don’t like any other starch on my turkey sandwich but the bread. To me, mashed potatoes are meant to be eaten hot and stuffing is slightly gratuitous on a sandwich.) But here are various versions of day-after sandwiches, which illustrate exactly how much can fit on a little roll.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Such a lovely table! I always envy your decor!

Mashed potatoes on a sandwich is a bit weird. I know they do it with stuffing, but stuffing adds a little more flavor to a sandwich that taters I think.

I admire anyone who can put a lattic on a pie. I'm lucky if my crust rolls out enough without breaking into bits to cover the pie and cutting strips from it would be dangerous!

Anonymous said...

It looks like a spectacular meal, Sue! I wouldn't like cold mashed potatoes on a sandwich either. But a fried mashed potato cake? With a little cranberry sauce? That would work. Last year Cy and I had a Paula Deen moment and mixed a little egg with some stuffing, rolled it into balls, coated them with bread crumbs and deep fried them. (They were awfully good, I hate to say it)

I'm surprised Bon Appetit didn't have you cook and thicken the filling first. That's what pretty much every recipe I've seen tells you to do. But your lattice looks gorgeous!

Abandoned By Wolves said...

That's a pretty cool application for a "slider"...I'll have to look into that next time I roast a turkey.

Mashed potato tacos are surprisingly good - but not a good choice to impress a first date with your cooking skills. Don't ask me how I know this...

If I ever get into pie making, these are the pies I'll try first!

Sheila said...

Looks great! What a yummy looking bird!

Sue said...

Thanks Rach!
Good point about stuffing. I think both are weird on a sandwich.

Roll out your dough and THEN put it in the fridge (or freezer) and THEN cut out the lattice. You'll be fine.

Thanks so much Tom,
That is a great thing to do with leftover mashed potatoes. If I could have stood (literally and figurately) to cook one more thing, I would have loved that. I guess my Paula Deen moment had passed.

You know, NONE of the recipes I looked at said to thicken the cherry filling first. But that's exactly the conclusion I came to of what was necessary to make a decent cherry pie. Back to the drawing board.

Hi James,
I agree. I never would have thought to call that leftover turkey sandwich a slider, but I guess if there's hot stuff on it, it is!

Mashed potato tacos!!! Eww. Although lots of people say potato pizzas are really good, so maybe there's hope for that.

You have to try your hand at pie making. It's fun!

Thanks Sheila,
And I only had to serve Thanksgiving dinner ONCE!