Thanksgiving Cooking Challenge November 2019

Joined Jan 8, 2010
The sides done, now for the chicken.
I did some McGyvering and figured that my 18.5" kettle would fit on top of the bottom of my 14.5" webber smoker. And it did.
I can still control the contraption by using the vents on the smoker :)

My legless kettle and the solution:
01 legless braai.jpg 02 fitted on bottom of wsm 14.jpg

Trussed the chicken on the rotisserie. I marinated with Sri Racha sauce, to stay with my Thai theme. The pic is before marinating though
03 trussed chicken on rotisserie.jpg

Got the drip tray ready
04 drip tray.jpg

And there we go:
07 on the way.jpg

And after some time....
11 ready.jpg

The results:
12 drip pan potato and onion.jpg
13 chicken.jpg

And that it, folks ;)
Sri Racha chiciken, drip pan potatoes and onions, red curry green beans (pat prik king), and potato and butternut coconut red curry
Joined Jul 13, 2012
Just realized tomorrow is the December first yikes. Anyway leftovers tonight - slices of stuffing pan fried in compound butter and olive oil, turkey pulled from the carcass I made stock with, creamed corn and oyster pudding, gravy of course and a smoked turkey skin cracklin' oh and a slice of (not pictured) home made sweet potato pie for desert.

Oh man I'm all messed up with time this week. What we get for having T-day last Saturday - hell I might squeeze one more in.
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
Okay, getting this in just under the wire!

[Note: I posted a different version of this about 18 hours ago, but Flickr mishandled the photos and at least some viewers couldn't see them at all. I've retooled, and the final posts are shorter -- and still complete in the required month. Apologies for the extra posts below!]

I began on Monday, prepping the turkey. I separated the legs and wings from the body, peeled off the skin around the main carcass, and removed and trimmed the cleaned breasts.

1 Whole Turkey.jpg 2 Cutup.jpg

The breasts were sprinkled with fresh sage and oregano, then I dusted the whole inner surfaces with transglutaminase (meat glue) and formed it into a single tight roll by pressing the breasts together top-to-tail and rolling in plastic. The whole bag went into the fridge to set up overnight.

4 Breasts.jpg 5 Roulade.jpg

I made brown butter (beurre noisette)…

6 Beurre Noisette.jpg

Then seared the leg-thighs and such until golden…

7 Seared Thighs.jpg

Added herbs…

8 Readying Dark.jpg

Then sealed the dark meat in bags with the brown butter and a mild brine solution, to cook in the immersion circulator for 24 hours at 149F:

10 Circulator.jpg

The bones got roasted…

9 Roast Bones.jpg

…with a few tablespoons of skim milk powder (a suggestion from Heston Blumenthal), and then they went into the InstantPot with water and some veg trimmings from my freezer:

11 InstantPot.jpg

So that was Monday.
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
On Tuesday, the glued-together breasts…

12 Roulade.jpg

…and the skin spread out as tidily as possible…

13 Skin.jpg

…got glued together with transglutaminase, and then back in the fridge for a few hours.

14 Glued Roulade w Skin.jpg

Since the stock was ready, I used some and a whole bunch of apples—and a lot of white pepper and cayenne—to make an apple variant of Paul Prudhomme’s spiced pear gravy:

15 Apples.jpg 16 Apple Gravy.jpg

Finally the breast roulade went into the circulator for 3 hours at 145F, but I didn’t take a picture, because what’s to see? Although I did inject a milk-cider brine, which I forgot to show.

On Wednesday, I made dinner rolls…

17 Rolls.jpg

A traditional-type pan gravy using stock…

19 Trad Gravy.jpg

Roasted a bunch of root vegetables individually foil-wrapped with olive oil and garlic…

18 Root Veg.jpg

And sharpened my knives…

20 Knives.jpg

I also rendered about ½ pound of good bacon in little dice and saved both separately.
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
Thursday morning, before people arrived… here we go!

Sauteed mushrooms, onions, and celery for the stuffing…

21 Stuffing.jpg

Peeled, diced, and well-rinsed potatoes for mashed…

22 Potatoes.jpg

And the turkey bags went back in the circulator at 135F, so they’d be hot but wouldn’t cook further. (No picture, because why?) I also peeled and sliced butternut squash, blanched it, tossed it with cream, covered with parmesan, and baked under foil. And finished off the salad, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. The sprouts were trimmed and rolled in the bacon fat (extended with neutral oil).


Half of the turkey (the version at the adults’ table):

23 Turkey.jpg

Squash gratin:

24 Squash.jpg

Brussels sprouts:

25 Sprouts.jpg

The stuffing (the weird color came from the gluten-free bread cubes, which came from a much-touted GF bakery but were IMHO pretty bad):

27 Stuffing done.jpg

Molded cranberry sauce couronne:

28 Cranberry.jpg

Mashed potatoes:

29 Mashed.jpg

Root vegetable, arugula, and goat cheese salad:

30 Salad.jpg

The pies and such were made by others, so I didn’t take pictures.

On Friday, I put mashed potatoes, turkey chunks, and gravy in a pie dish, put a tortilla over the top, poured over two beaten eggs, and sprinkled with a lot of shredded Cotswold cheese. It baked up like this:

33 Leftovers Baked.jpg

That’s my entry. Happy Thanksgiving, all!
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Joined May 5, 2010
I finally got around to my challenge entry. I waited until I had to prepare dinner before I executed the idea.
I bought a large 22 pounder and broke it down. In doing so, I noticed the oysters were still in place on both sides, so I carefully boned them out with enough surrounding skin showing.

I flattened them a bit with my meat mallet.

I seasoned them with Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Sage, and Freshly chopped garlic.

I laid this whole piece on a large sheet of plastic and rolled it into a large cylinder completely encased in its skin.

I rolled this up in plastic to create a tight seal and refrigerated the piece for 4 hours.
I then rolled this in seasoned flour, then egg wash, then back to the flour again,and placed it on a hot skillet with Olive Oil and Butter.

I browned it on all sides, then placed this, uncovered in a 375-degree oven to roast.

It took 75 minutes to finish.

I served this with homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce.

3 cups of fresh Cranberries
1-2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup OJ
1 Tablespoon low sugar Pectin

Combine all ingredients (except Pectin) in saucepan. Cook until all berries have opened. Add Pectin powder and stir well. Allow to boil 1 minute. Remove from heat Allow to cool. Push through a food mill, and stir well. Pour into appropriate can and chill overnight.
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Oh wow thanks for the post Tday entries everyone. Today is the last day of November and I’ll be choosing a winner on December 1st so you have until then to boast about your holiday dinner and/or your leftover concoctions.

I leave here the thanksgiving leftover sandwich scene from Friends, one of my faves.
Joined May 28, 2015
My alternative light approach for festive turkey - Turkey Breast with Cranberries & Saffron:

In Persian cooking, barberries which have a sharp taste, similar to cranberries are often paired with saffron, particularly in chicken and rice dishes. So, for a festive alternative I thought using cranberries might work well with turkey and saffron. For each 'papillote':

1 small turkey breast (or 1 medium chicken breast)
A small pinch of saffron strands plus 4 tbsp hot water
1 fat clove of garlic slivered
1 small piece of ginger slivered
30g cranberries
A few thin rings of leek or onion
A few pieces of butter
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp honey

The turkey is marinaded for an hour in the saffron/water mixture. Then all is assembled:


Baked for 30 mins (approx. according to size) at 180 C. Then a blow torch used to char the top of the turkey breast.


Joined May 28, 2015
This is one way to use up leftovers of cranberry sauce:

A few minutes in the making and you have a comforting British sponge pudding. Traditionally, a pudding like this would be steamed but the microwave works wonders here. Serve the puddings with cream or custard. You’ll need 2 dariole sized microwaveable moulds or one larger mould. You could use small tea-cups or coffee cups. I used home-made cranberry sauce (its so easy to make) but you could use ready-made.


Ingredients (serves 2)
For the cranberry sauce (makes a small pot)

100g cranberries
20 g sugar
1 tbsp port
Zest and juice of a clementine

For the pudding
60 g butter softened
60 g caster sugar
1 x small egg, beaten
70 g plain flour
1 x level tsp baking powder
Grated zest 2 clementines
1 tbsp milk (any type)
2 heaped tsp cranberry sauce
A little icing sugar (optional)
Custard or cream to serve

To make the cranberry sauce:
  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently for 5 minutes until the berries begin to burst. The mixture will thicken as it cools. This recipe makes a firm set cranberry sauce. Add more clementine juice if you want a looser consistency.
To make the pudding:
  1. Cream the butter & sugar together. Gradually add the beaten egg.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, clementine zest and milk, beating well.
  3. Grease the moulds with a little butter. Place a teaspoon of cranberry sauce in the bottom of each mould and spoon on the sponge mix until 2/3rds filled.
  4. Microwave, uncovered on full power for 1.5 minutes. Test that the sponge is cooked by inserting a toothpick and cook a few seconds more if needed.
  5. To serve, turn the moulds upside down on the serving dish and remove moulds. Place a little icing sugar in a sieve and dust the tops of the puddings.
  6. Serve with cream or custard.


Joined Jul 13, 2012
I thought I'd get one more in, but planted garlic instead. It was a beautiful sunny day and as soon as it got above freezing @ 2pm I staked out my plot and put 208 cloves in the ground then covered with 3 bales of mulch hay.
Joined Apr 18, 2016
My last minute only partially serious entry! I went to a community pot luck and brought sides. I'm gluten free, and I made my stuff gluten free and vegetarian, which turned out to be a great idea, because there were surprisingly few vegetarian options! I'm not vegetarian, however, and oh boy, did it go good with turkey.
Chili roasted sweet potatoes (sweet potatoes with chili powder, chipotle powder, and coconut oil)
Black beans (homemade!! with chili spices and more chipotle. When I make these for myself, I use bacon fat for extra yum, but they were still good with coconut oil.) and green rice (long grain white rice, spinach, cilantro, a poblano, a couple scallions, garlic, and vegetable stock)
Cranberry crumble bars made from a couple different recipes. I used my standard recipe for the crumble, added a bit of extra sweet rice flour for the crust, and used the recipe from for the berries and topped with some coarse sugar. The sugar + orange juice syrup didn't really stick to the berries, so they ended up more sour than I would have liked. Still only took three home out of twelve though! And they were the prettiest thing on the dessert table. So I'm mostly happy with them.
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Thank you to all who participated in this month's challenge. Boy these challenges used to be very popular and we'd have to sift through page after page of entries and I definitely thought this one would get more traction. But I'm grateful to all who shared their cooking with us and as always I'm impressed by the diversity of flavors and techniques in our little community. This was a very difficult choice for me because there were so many contenders, you are all worthy of top prize. I especially want to thank our friends from across the oceans who took part in a holiday they wouldn't have otherwise celebrated and brought their own spin on it.

The winner of this month's challenge is chrislehrer chrislehrer Chris your post embodied everything I was looking for in this month's winner, from taking us through your preparations, all the way to leftovers. The knife skills alone and attention to detail on that bird was outstanding. So congratulations and please, I have to know what the purpose of roasting the bones with skim milkpowder!?
Joined Oct 9, 2008
Yikes! Wow, didn't expect that. Now I have to think about what challenge to suggest for December. Thanks to all who participated. To koukouvagia koukouvagia too, I want to thank you for a terrific monthly challenge!

(As to the skim milk powder, it's something about increasing free proteins. I don't quite understand it, but my stock was an extraordinary, luxurious, chocolate brown. Give it a try.)

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