Food & Drink

Thrifty Thanksgiving Recipes

Dry-brined roasted turkey

12 servings

For the turkey:

1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh turkey

1/4 cup kosher salt mixed with lemon pepper and herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme

2 medium to large yellow onions, left unpeeled and cut into eighths

2 medium carrots, left unpeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 1/2 cups water; more as needed

For the gravy (about 3 cups):

Drippings and vegetables from turkey

3 cups turkey broth (store-bought or homemade)

2 teaspoons lightly chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

- The night before: Remove the giblets from the turkey, cut off the tail, if attached, and reserve for making turkey broth. Rinse the turkey thoroughly. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Sprinkle the salt all over it, starting on the back side, then the cavity and finally the breast. Put the turkey on a wire rack set over a rimmed pan or platter and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

- One hour before roasting: Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Fifteen to 20 minutes before roasting, position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put half the onions, carrots and celery in the turkey cavity. Tuck the wings behind the neck and under the turkey and place bird in the large flame-proof heavy-duty roasting pan. Scatter the remaining onions, carrots and celery around the turkey.

- Roast for 30 minutes. Pour 1 cup of the water into the roasting pan and roast for another 30 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170 degrees and the juices run clear when you remove the thermometer, about another hour for a 12-pounder. (Keep a close eye on the vegetables and pan drippings throughout the cooking process. They should be kept dry enough to brown and produce the rich brown drippings to make gravy, but moist enough to keep from burning. So add water as needed throughout.)

- Transfer the turkey to a carving board or platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving and serving.

- To make the gravy: Set the roasting pan with the turkey drippings and vegetables over two burners set on medium-high heat. Add 1 cup broth; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the browned bits in the pan, until the liquid comes to a simmer. Strain the contents of the roasting pan through a large sieve into a large saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cups broth and the thyme and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and let simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.

- Meanwhile, put heavy cream in a small bowl and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually whisk the cream mixture into the turkey broth mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer to thicken the gravy and cook off the raw flour flavor, about 10 minutes. Keep hot over very low heat until ready to serve.

- "How to Cook a Turkey" (Tauton) from the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking magazine

Susan's peach stuffing

12 to 14 servings (about 12 cups)

1 loaf rustic Italian bread (about 1 pound), crust on, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish

2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 teaspoons minced garlic

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped ( 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1 (29-ounce) can clingstone peach halves in heavy syrup, drained, syrup reserved

1/2 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate

1/2 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock (optional; use if cooking in baking dish)

- Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature overnight. (Alternatively, bake bread in a 300-degree oven until dry but not browned, about 15 minutes.)

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in herbs, and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add bread and toss to combine.

- Whisk peach syrup into orange juice concentrate, and add to bread mixture with peaches.

- To cook stuffing in a turkey: Loosely stuff into a turkey and roast until center of stuffing registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Spoon the remaining stuffing into a buttered 9-by 13-inch baking dish, cover with parchment, then foil, and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

- To bake all of the stuffing outside of the turkey: Stir in stock, spoon into a buttered 9- by 13-inch baking dish, and bake at 375 degrees as directed above.

- Martha Stewart Living magazine (November 2008)

Yukon gold and sweet potato mash

12 servings

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 cup low-fat milk

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

- Place potatoes and sweet potatoes in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until very tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

- Drain the potatoes, transfer to a mixing bowl and mash them to the desired consistency. Place milk and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat on high until the butter is mostly melted and the milk is warm, 30 to 40 seconds. Stir the milk mixture, sugar, salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes until combined.

- Eating Well magazine (December 2008)

Pumpkin-chocolate loaf

1 loaf or 12 slices

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch nonstick loaf pan.

- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt, and whisk together.

- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla, then add the flour mixture, beating just until well blended.

- Heat the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until completely melted and smooth.

- Spoon half of the batter into the loaf pan. Spoon half of the melted chocolate on top of the batter and swirl into the batter with a wooden skewer. Repeat with the remaining batter and chocolate, making sure to swirl the chocolate into the batter well.

- Bake the loaf about 1 hour, or until a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. To remove from pan, run a knife around the edges and invert onto the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into slices.

- Plan ahead: This may be made up to 1 day ahead, covered tightly, and kept at room temperature. This recipe also easily doubles.

Pumpkin-chocolate bread pudding

8 servings

Pumpkin-chocolate loaf, cut into 12 slices

For the custard:

4 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 cups half-and-half

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks

Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Whipped cream, for serving

- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

- Slice the pumpkin loaf into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices, overlapping them, to fill the dish.

- To make the custard: In a large bowl, with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and egg yolks until frothy. Slowly add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is thick and lemon-colored. Reduce the speed to low and add the pumpkin puree and half-and-half. Add the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.

- Ladle the custard over the pumpkin bread slices until the baking dish is filled to the top. Scatter chocolate chunks all around the pudding, making sure they are evenly distributed. Set the baking dish in a larger baking pan and pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Place the pudding in the oven and bake 40 to 45 minutes.

- If the top of the bread is browning, use heavy oven mitts and a large spoon to push the bread down so the still-liquid custard rises in the dish spooning evenly over the bread slices. Bake about 10 minutes more, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out barely clean. Use heavy oven mitts to remove the baking dish from the pan of water. Let cool slightly on a rack. Sprinkle the pudding with confectioners' sugar and spoon out onto dessert plates. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

- Plan ahead: The custard may be made up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate covered, and bring to room temperature before assembling. You may also prepare the dish with custard and chocolate chunks up to 1 day ahead and refrigerate before cooking. It will be less custard-y when baked because the bread will absorb the custard.

- "The Taste of the Season" (Chronicle Books) by Diane Rossen Worthington

Buttermilk biscuits

12 biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned into the cup and leveled with a knife), plus more for rolling and cutting

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits, plus 4 tablespoons melted

1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to combine. Add cold butter; pulse until mixture is the texture of coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add buttermilk; pulse just until dough is moistened, 2 to 3 times.

- Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead just to combine (do not overwork). Roll with a floured rolling pin (or pat with hands) to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out rounds with a floured 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter.

- Transfer to a baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart. (Re-roll and cut scraps only once.) Brush top and sides of rounds with melted butter. Bake until biscuits are puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

- To make biscuits by hand: Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl, then cut into butter with two knives or a pastry blender; gently mix in buttermilk with a fork and follow remaining directions.

- To freeze: After cutting dough with a biscuit cutter, place dough rounds on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, and brush with melted butter. Freeze until solid, then place in a resealable plastic bag, and store in freezer for up to 2 months.

- To bake from frozen: Place frozen dough rounds, buttered side up on a large baking sheet; bake at 450 degrees until biscuits are puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

- Everyday Food magazine (November 2007)