Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanks for a Grand Thanksgiving

What is this? A ham for Thanksgiving?

Yes, Joma is a ham any time there is a camera in the room. Very proud of her first year as Bread Shredder. While she tore bread up for stuffing, I made some pie shells in the oven, getting ready for Legendary Pumpkin Pie.  And I didn't do much else all day, except for one thing, which I'll speak of in a bit.

In an unusual fit of preparedness, on Wednesday I made the celery-and-onion seasoning for the stuffing, and with a little extra time on my hands, stewed giblets for broth as well. Thus on Thanksgiving morning, pie shells were all I had to do.

Alex and Lil tackled the turkey; we always remove the legs and wings and cook them in foil separately so they don't dry out. The turkey is stuffed and trussed up -- looks kind of odd, but it works.

I think this is really the first year that Lil had a chance to handle the turkey. I KNOW it was the first time I let her handle the Victorinox chef's knife she used to cut the wings away. My job was to "supervise" -- that is, to pace back and forth between the kitchen to sweat about people cutting themselves and the living room to swear at stupid calls in football games and ask John about rules that made me swear in confusion.

When it was the opportune time for the pumpkin pie, I walked away, and found something else to do, finally leaving Alex and Lil to the family tradition. They did a fine job of it, too.

What remained of my required attention was the turkey gravy. Bernie had two cups of his excellent homemade chicken broth in the fridge, so I combined that with my giblet juice, added a bit of salt and some thyme, and reduced the broth by about half before adding it to the drippings in the turkey roaster. A slurry of cornstarch and water, and the gravy was done. It was The Best Gravy I've ever made.

Bernie took a swing at a new dish, too: in addition to his cranberry sauce, he made a similar side dish with pomegranates. WONDERFUL!

With peace and family, and great food, it was a delightful Thanksgiving celebration. I'm thankful that we're a family together, and will add in an extra thanks for the continuing blessing of my gravy by Fr. Schmalhofer.

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