Gilligan's Gourmet: Getting geared up for Thanksgiving - useful tips and recipes
Choosing the perfect turkey and delicious sides
If time is of the essence, go hard-chilled or fresh. Hard-chilled or partially frozen turkeys are chilled between 0 - 26 degrees F, and so are quicker to defrost. Fresh turkeys (the most expensive sort) have never been chilled below 26 degrees F, so they have never been frozen. The latter need to be transferred to the refrigerator as quickly as possible and should be cooked within two days of purchase.
APPLE AND SAUSAGE STUFFING
Makes 40 cups.
This savory stuffing recipe makes enough to fill a 14- to 16-pound bird and is always a hit, even with kids. And when made with low-fat turkey sausage, this is a healthy and complete meal in itself.
2 lb. sweet Italian turkey or pork sausage, casing removed
4 tbsp. butter
2 large onion, chopped
8 celery stalks, diced
4 Granny Smith or delicious apples, cored and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4tsp. poultry seasoning
24 cups cubed multigrain bread, cubed and dried in an uncovered bowl overnight
42 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Brown the sausage until cooked through. Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and crumble sausage.
Melt the butter in the skillet and simmer the onion for 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery, apples, garlic, and poultry seasoning, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the apple-vegetable mixture to the bowl of sausage, along with the bread; mix well. Moisten with the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Cool completely before stuffing the turkey.
Gilligan’s tip: Stuffing can be cooked separately in a large glass casserole dish, but more stock may be needed to replace the moisture that usually comes from the turkey cavity.
CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH DRIED APRICOTS, PORT WINE AND CARDAMOM
3 cups Port Wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup honey
2 6-ounce package dried apricots, quartered
2 12-ounce bag cranberries
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
8 whole green cardamom pods
Coarsely crush cardamom in mortar with pestle or place in re-sealable plastic bag and crush with rolling pin; discard skins.
Bring next 5 ingredients and cardamom to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add apricots; cook 2 minutes. Add cranberries and cook until berries pop, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Mix in lemon peel. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
This can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Serve cold or at room temperature.
Makes about 4 ½ cups.
AND FINALLY… A lady goes into a veterinarian’s office holding a limp turkey under her arm. She says to the vet "we've had this turkey for many years. I think he's dead, but we love him and want to make sure."
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