It’s time to talk turkey. Turkey on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day is the quintessential All-American meal, dating back to the Pilgrims. For those used to poultry on Shabbat, Thanksgiving Thursday sometimes poses a dilemma: Eat turkey on Thursday or wait till Shabbat? When
For instance, you can have roast turkey on Thursday and “Jewish up” the meal by adding a side dish such as Kasha Chili (delicious recipe below). You can use the leftover turkey on Shabbat for a hearty turkey soup or turkey chili with salad and sides. My sister uses her Thanksgiving turkey every year to make a “one-dish” Shabbat meal. She uses turkey and carcass for the broth, adds chicken or turkey broth (and chicken thighs if not enough leftover turkey) and tons of veggies and finally, barley. Serve with challah, and Shabbat is done.
For me, Thanksgiving turkey, celery, onion, cornbread, sage and pumpkin pie remain essentials. After many years of trial and error, I have perfected my method of serving turkey by slicing it ahead.
First, roast the turkey so it will be ready early in the day or the day before. Stop roasting when the turkey is brown but slightly underdone (an internal temp of about 160 degrees). Take it out to rest, and then get your cellphone! Seriously. Now snap a photo of that magnificent turkey. Remove the skin in as large pieces as possible. Now, slice your very slightly underdone turkey carefully. Arrange slices and pieces on a large oven-proof platter, pour over some turkey juice, reserving some juice. Press skin tightly over slices, and cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate and bring to room temp before reheating. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for about one hour, basting often. Remove the skin and pour remaining juices over slices. You will save time to allow decorating your platter and have moist delicious slices. And remember that photo? You can whip it out to show guests what your turkey looked like before slicing!
Pumpkin pie for your finale is always popular. My dessert table will have a traditional one as well as some mini-swirled cheesecakes for guests. For place cards, I use mini-pumpkins (or apples) and toothpick flags with guests’ names on each. And always remember to invite a guest or guest couple who would otherwise be alone on this holiday.
> Fresh fragrant sage is worth the investment; fry it or add raw to stuffing and decorate platters with the leaves.
> Want made-from-scratch stuffing fast? Buy and combine two different flavors of boxed stuffing mix. Add chopped fresh sage and sauteed chopped onions. Tastes homemade!
> Decorate your turkey platter with fresh sage, kale and raw cranberries or canned sliced apple rings.