I am posting my Thanksgiving menu a bit early so that you have the advantage of witnessing ahead of time what I have planned. This post will also be a bit different in its layout—I will be inserting notes between each of the various components of the meal.

So, first, let’s start with the turkey. Keyword here: FRESH. I haven’t used a frozen turkey in many years, because the difference in taste is very noticeable. Additionally, if at all possible search out a source for a bird that has been raised organically—that also makes a big difference in flavor. It’s also important to season the bird with salt and pepper at least 24-hours ahead of cooking.

Turkey breast with an herb butter of parsley, sage, thyme, and garlic  stuffed under  the skin, roasted over a “rack” of celery and carrot logs, onions, and orange wedges lodged into the cavity of the breast
Gravy made from the pan drippings and poultry stock

Now let’s move on to the sides. I have never stuffed a turkey and never intend to do so, because it takes so much longer to cook, and the “stuffing” I propose here is so much better baked in a dish alongside. In the American South, we call this “dressing.” And it absolutely must be mostly cornbread, and it must always include celery and onions. But after that, I break with tradition and make my dressing differently every year. This year’s version will be:

Dressing of cornbread and wheat bread cubes tossed with sauteed onions, celery, wild chanterelle mushrooms, red peppers, and spicy sausage moistened with eggs, poultry stock, and cream

I don’t find it necessary to add another “starch” to my menu, since the bread dressing is more than enough. But veggie sides are a must at Thanksgiving.  Here are the ones I will be making this year:

Mashed rutabagas with sour cream and dill
Braised Brussels sprouts and cipollini onions with maple-Dijon mustard glaze
House-made pickled beet wedges

And, since I bought a small sugar pumpkin last week, I offer a pumpkin pie for dessert, but this is not your typical pie! After making my piecrust, I bake it briefly before adding a “praline” mixture of brown sugar, chopped pecans, and a drizzle of cream on the bottom of the crust and bake again until the mixture is bubbly. Then, I add the traditional pumpkin pie filling over top and finish baking the pie. The result is kind-of a cross between pumpkin pie and pecan pie. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream is a welcome addition if you choose.

Praline-Bottomed Pumpkin Pie Chez Edouard

I am also planning additional posts throughout the next few days to
(hopefully), inspire you in creative ways to use leftovers that you might not
have encountered before.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!