Jewish Journal

NO-STRESS THANKSGIVING PREP PLAN

Every year I teach a sold out Thanksgiving Class with waitlisters begging to be admitted. Why? Because this is THE American food holiday, and this holiday causes lots of stress to hosts and hostesses.

The number one question my students come to class with is: What can I do in advance?

Since we are making all the recipes right then and there together as a group, it is actually easy for  me to explain and for everyone to understand what can be done in the days prior and what needs to be done last minute. You, however, presumably, have not been to my class and haven’t made all these recipes with me.

So let me break it down for you.

Basically, you can do all this on Thanksgiving Day, but that’s a looong day.  I broke it down into 4 days, but these are just a few leisurely hours a day. Leisure cooking is good. Want to speed up the process? Do it it all in two days. No problem.

Here’s the overarching theme, if you will:

You are going to be making a broth and that broth is going to be a part of multiple recipes, including a soup. These recipes all taste better when made in advance so that’s good news for us! You will make stuffing, but all the components of the stuffing are fine to be made in advance. The desserts are great done in advance too, even the pumpkin bread because it’s so moist. Only the turkey and the roasted veggies should be done right before the meal. Everything else can be assembled or reheated on game day. Make sense?

Don’t worry, I stepped it out for you. You’re gonna be just fine. Just cook with your heart. That adds the best flavor that will be unmistakably appreciated!

P.S. If you are making the stuffing in advance I suggest making a little extra roasted mushrooms and sausage cuz you won’t keep your fingers off of them! It’s my downfall every year. xo

On the menu:

The Easiest Turkey Ever
Tuscan Garden Grove Brussels Sprouts
Nobel Prize Winning Multi-Grain Portobello Stuffing
Root Vegetable Soup with Crisped Sage
Celery Root Mashed Potatoes
Sunshine Pumpkin Pie with a Date Pecan Crust
Pumpkin Bread (Wheat-Free, plus Gluten-Free Option)

 


4 Days Prior: Grocery Shopping

#1. Print out all the recipes.

Don’t expect your grocery shopping for Thanksgiving to just take an hour. It will take longer, but that’s ok. Think of yourself as an artist who is setting up the studio. Take your time to procure all the right ingredients so you can begin to paint your culinary canvas, step by step over the next few days.

You will find the most delicious vegetables at the farmer’s market, but if there isn’t one convenient go get the best, preferably organic, produce you can find. (My favorite is the Santa Monica Coop – now in Culver City too – and then I get everything else I need at Whole Foods.) The flavors start with the quality of the ingredients.

 

3 Days Prior: Make Broth as your Base

Make the Batch of Broth that keeps Giving and Giving as this will provide you with foundation for the Root Vegetable Soup, the Celery Root Puree, and the Nobel Peace Prize Winning Stuffing!  Because you’re making the broth ahead of time, you can cook it for hours. Let it cook all day long if you can. You honestly can’t cook a broth too long. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes, AND it tastes even better the next day, and better the day after that! So get it started early.

Note: You’re going to make a lot of broth, but if it doesn’t fit in the fridge you can keep it on stove overnight and bring to a boil the next day to purify it before making your soup and celery root puree the following day!

 

2 Days Prior: Soup and Sides

 

1 Day Prior: Desserts!

 

Day of!!! – Putting it all together

5 hours before game time:

 

2 ½ -3 hours before:

Get your turkey in the oven! Once it’s done, let it rest so it tenderizes. Carve it up last minute.

1+ hour before:

 

30 minutes before:

 

Go Time:

Start with the Soup, top if with grated pecorino romano and the sage leaves and just let it flow from there!