OK it’s time to get serious about the approaching holidays and the kind of food we’re going to fix for family and friends. That’s why I’m sharing 2 favorites: Do ahead gravy and do ahead mashed potatoes. No kidding, these turn out great and a boon to the busy cook who has to pull the whole dinner together.
One more thing – I saw this saying on a plaque in a gift shop. It pretty much sums up the way we all should feel about Thanksgiving:
“Thank you for the food before us, the friends and family beside us, and the love between us.” Happy Thanksgiving – you are what makes this column special!
MAKE AHEAD TURKEY GRAVY
Your perfect roast turkey needs a flavorful gravy. This can be frozen up to a month ahead of time.
- 3-4 pounds turkey wings
- 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered or l large onion
- 1 cup water
- 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1 carrot, unpeeled and chopped
- 1 nice rib celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried
- 3/4 cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Arrange wings in a single layer in a large sprayed roasting pan
- Scatter onions over top.
- Roast about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until wings are browned.
- Put wings and onions in large pot.
- Add water to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. Add the brown bits to the pot.
- Add 6 cups broth, carrots, celery and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Remove wings and save meat for another use.
- Strain broth into a saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables.
- Refrigerate overnight if you have time so that you can skim the fat off the top easily. If not, do your best to skim it after straining broth.
- Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended. Set aside.
- Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil.
- Whisk in broth/flour mixture and boil 3-4 minutes to thicken gravy.
- Stir butter in. Season to taste.
- Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.
- When reheating, add defatted drippings from the roasted turkey to the gravy.
MAKE AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
I like to use baking or Yukon gold.
- 4 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened, not fat-free
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 stick butter, softened plus extra for dotting on top
- Seasoned or regular salt and pepper to taste
- Place potatoes in pan; add water to cover, stir in a little salt, and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain.
- Beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add potatoes; beat until light and fluffy.
- Beat in butter and seasoning.
- Transfer to a sprayed 9×13 dish. Refrigerate, covered, overnight or up to 2 days.
- To reheat in oven: Remove from refrigerator an hour ahead of time. Dot top with butter.
- Cover and reheat anywhere from 325 to 375 until heated through – about 45-60 minutes or so.
- To reheat in microwave: Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before heating. Microwave, uncovered, on high 10 minutes, stirring once. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons softened butter. Microwave until heated through.