Thanksgiving 2022 notes

Thanksgiving this year was verrrrry small. We had a few options to celebrate with friends / family, but ended up just sticking to the three of us at home. I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now and was not about to give this to someone else. 💀 Plus that meant we could move it to Friday, which was helpful since I was at least feeling a little better at that point.

Food was good though! I think this is the last year I’m going to do my grandma’s rice + walnut + mushroom stuffing. It’s nice, and part of me wants to stick with family tradition. But honestly, I just prefer a bread stuffing.

The cornbread was just from a box this time round, and I’d be happy to do that always moving forward. Lets me focus on cooking everything else. Turns out B is a huge fan of cornbread. Maybe we could do a cornbread stuffing next time?

I followed J. Kenji López-Alt’s NYT recipe for Mayo-Roasted Turkey this time round instead of what I usually do, and it was very worthwhile. Next time though, I’d honestly just use plain old mayo instead of the herby version. When you’re cooking something for so long, herbs or spices on top always burn and I don’t love that. That said, I would definitely make the herby mayonnaise anyway, it is really superb on a leftover sandwich.

I’d also be wary of the salt… The dry brining is super effective, but I only used half of what was called for (about 1/4 c instead of 1/2 c Diamond Crystal kosher salt) and it was almost too salty. The technique of putting chopped onion + carrot + celery on the bottom of the sheet pan works great though, and slipping some whole herbs in there as well goes a long way towards making the turkey more fragrant. And his gravy technique is great, if a little more involved than what I normally do. I forgot to get low-sodium stock though and oof, that was almost too salty too. And I am usually a salty lady!

Made a cooked cranberry sauce this time, not the fresh relish I’ve done in the past. I like both, but the sauce works way better for leftover sandwiches so will probably stick with that from now on. I can’t remember exactly what I did… I think it was something like one 12 oz bag of cranberries, 1/2 c sugar (maybe more?), 1/2 c water, the zest of an orange, a pinch of salt, and a glug of Cointreau for funsies.

The veg was just spice roasted carrots (see recipe from 2019). I was going to do simple sautéed green beans as well, but it was already a lot of food for two adults and one baby who will pretty much only eat cornbread if it’s on the table.

And gasp horror… No potatoes! Would have done roasted potatoes (not a fan of mash at Thanksgiving anymore), but we just didn’t need them with the stuffing and cornbread.

I made a pecan pie with corn syrup for the first time ever. I only really started cooking the Thanksgiving meal when we lived in the UK, and golden syrup is a lot more readily available over there. Honestly? I prefer the golden syrup version! There’s a bit more depth to it. That said, the corn syrup version is definitely still tasty.

For the pie, I followed this recipe. I really liked it overall, but it definitely required some tweaks. Listed below for when I make it next year:

  • Use butter instead of veg shortening for the pie crust.
  • Definitely use half of the pie crust quantity, not a third. The thicker crust is nice and easier to work with.
  • Do NOT use an unbaked pie crust! Par-bake it instead. Line the crust and fill completely with pie weights or dried beans, then follow the standard instructions for blind baking. I think it’s something like 10 minutes at 400F, then take the pie weights out and prick the bottom and bake for another 7 minutes until golden.
  • Her technique of not trimming the pastry and instead just folding it over for a thicker edge is extremely effective.
  • Likewise, using chopped pecans as she suggests instead of whole pecans is far superior, it’s a much better texture. I probably used almost 1.5 c pecans and it was a good quantity.
  • Consider golden syrup instead of corn syrup if you can find it! The carmelly flavor is a bit more complex.