Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cranberry Sauce and Gravy

cranberry sauce recipe with maple

My personal favourite part of Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce.  I gob it on my turkey until there is more cranberry sauce than turkey.  I also prefer a simple cranberry sauce, and the recipe below is my favourite.  Gravy is the other must-have Thanksgiving condiment.  I haven't really eaten gravy in a few years, so you'll have to trust my taste testers that this gravy was delicious.

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a big job, but with some planning, you can make things easy and stress free.  The day before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to prepare a few elements of the meal so that you can be ready to hit the ground running on Thursday morning.  Cranberry sauce needs plenty of time to set up, so making it the night before is actually perfect.  The gravy obviously needs to be made after you take the turkey out of the oven, but you could make the turkey stock the day before too to save a stove burner for other things the day of.  You can also use pre-made chicken stock for the gravy.

Maple Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice

Wash the cranberries and put them into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the maple syrup, water, and orange juice.  Cook, stirring often until the sauce starts to bubble and the cranberries start to pop.  Turn down and cook for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.  Skim off the bubbles.  Store the cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use, or chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Turkey Stock for Gravy
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Turkey neck
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large carrots
1 large leek
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion, halved
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add the vegetables and cook for about 10 minutes.  Pour 4 cups of water into the saucepan, and then add the turkey neck, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.  Bring the water to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 45 minutes.

Strain the broth and set aside or in the refrigerator until you are ready to make gravy.

turkey giblet stock recipe

Adapted from  Michael Smith: Chef at Home

2-1/2 to 3 cups turkey stock
1 cup red wine (we used Pinot Noir)
3 tablespoons corn starch
Salt and pepper

After you have removed the turkey from the roasting pan, set the pan over a burner on the stove.  Turn the burner to medium.

Pour 1 cup wine into the roasting pan, to deglaze the pan.  Scrape the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Then add the turkey stock.

Dissolve the cornstarch in a little bit of water and then stir it into the liquid.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.


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