– This episode of Basics is sponsored by YouTube Movies and Shows. YouTube Movies and Shows is your go-to place to rent or buy the latest films, from comedies to thrillers and anything in between. You can watch directly on all devices where you already watch YouTube.
It’s seamless. Check it out now at youtube.com/movies. (upbeat music) (jazzy music) All right, so I’m gonna start the episode off by shooting myself in the foot and suggesting that you make a chicken instead of a turkey.
If you’re feeding one to four people, this is gonna be a much more time and budget friendly option. If you’re starting today, the day before Thanksgiving, we’re gonna start by dry brining our tur, chicken.
In other words, we’re just gonna lightly coat it with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, then letting it rest uncovered in the fridge overnight is not only gonna deeply flavor it, it’s gonna help dry out the skin which is gonna make it crispier.
Then, if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, figuratively speaking, if you’re wearing gloves, you can run your fingers between the skin and the meat, separating them. This is both an opportunity to get some salt and pepper directly on the meat and also separating the skin helps it crisp up even better.
It’s why Peking duck is so crispy. They inflated like a balloon then hang it in the fridge for several days so the skin can dry out. But even overnight or just a few hours will make a huge difference.
Another thing we wanna ready up before anything else is our stock. If you’re like most of us, and you don’t feel like making your own stock from scratch, you can amp up your store-bought stuff quite easily.
We’re just gonna deeply brown a quartered onion, along with the chicken neck, if yours came with one, a little bit of neutral flavored oil, like vegetable, for a few minutes until it’s got some nice color.
Then we’re gonna add the core of leaves of a head of celery, the stuff that you normally throw away, two ugliest carrots you’ve got cut into two inch pieces, some fresh sage and thyme, if you got it, and then we’re gonna add a quart of store-bought turkey stock.
It’s gonna help bring back some of those Thanksgiving flavors that we’re missing with the chicken. I’m also gonna add a tablespoon of whole peppercorns and two dried bay leaves. Bring this guy up to a nice gentle simmer, and keep him there uncovered until he’s reduced by half.
It’s gonna leave us with a nice, concentrated, flavorful stock that’s gonna be perfect for our gravy. Strain out the solids, let it cool. Cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Trust me, this step is worth doing.
Another dish that is super easy to make and really worth making from scratch is cranberry sauce. Get yourself a bag of cranberries, and dump it into your widest and deepest saucepan. Then all you really need to add as a whole lot of sugar, about one cup or five ounces per 12 ounces of cranberries, but some very welcome additions might be a couple tablespoons of Grand Marnier, the peel and juice of one large orange, maybe a little knob of fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick.
Then we’re setting this over medium high heat and bringing the whole affair to a rolling simmer. Reducing the heat to low to maintain said simmer, stirring occasionally and cooking for 15 to 20 minutes until an almost cranberry sauce-like consistency is achieved.
Then we’re picking out our inedibles, tasting for seasoning and adjusting as necessary with water, sugar, salt being sure to bring it back to a simmer, if you added any sugar and cooking until you have the cranberry sauce of your dreams.
Go ahead and let this cool, cover it, and put it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Next up a no fuss, no muss, no fuss, no muss, no muss no fuss, apple pie, or more accurately, an apple pie, apple crisp, apple tart hybrid.
I’m gonna call an apple crisp tart. In a large bowl, we are combining 10 ounces of flour, four ounces of sugar and one teaspoon of kosher salt. Tiny whisking until homogenous, and then we’re adding 15 tablespoons or 7.
5 ounces of melted unsalted butter, gently mixing together with a rubber spatula until it has the consistency of Play-Doh. Nope, not the Athenian philosopher, the Hasbro product. Then we’re grabbing about two thirds of this dough and pressing it into a nine inch removable bottom tart pan pushing and spreading it out evenly into the corners and up the sides until you’ve got a relatively consistent one centimeter thick layer all around.
Trim off the tops, make it look pretty and it’s time to parbake. You could also use a traditional pie plate, but it’s gonna be harder to slice and retrieve, and you need to be emotionally prepared for some slippage.
Whatever your vessel, we’re baking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until golden brown crisp and set. To the remaining third of the pie dough, we’re adding one tablespoon each flour and sugar.
This will turn the mixture rather crumbly and ideally suit it for becoming a crumble. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Next up, we’re making our pie filling. I’ve got six large Granny Smith apples here that I’m gonna peel and then place four cuts around their core.
This might not be the most efficient way to cut up an apple, but it’s not that wasteful, and it’s far and away the easiest. We’re then slicing those pieces into quarter inch slices, placing it in a bowl and rinsing and repeating with the remaining apples.
If they start to turn brown, go ahead and toss them with the juice of one lemon, but it doesn’t really matter if it turns brown. It’s apple pie filling. It’s gonna be brown. Moving those into a large bowl, and then, I’m making a mixture of sugar and spice and everything nice.
One cup of packed, light brown sugar, two tablespoons of corn starch, And then I’m just kinda eyeballing the rest. Two teaspoons of cinnamon, maybe a quarter teaspoon of ground clove, one teaspoon of ground allspice, half teaspoon of ground cardamom, and then if you’ve got whole nutmeg, well, you know what they say, once you go freshly grated nutmeg, you never go back to not freshly grating your nutmeg.
Go ahead and tiny whisk that until homogenous, and then add it to the apples, mixing and tossing by hand until everybody’s evenly coated, and the apples are starting to give up their juices. Speaking of juices, we’re gonna add the zest and juice of one small lemon.
If you don’t want your filling to be too sharp, leave out the juice, but you gotta have the zest, trust me. And then, because this filling is not gonna spend as much time in the oven as a traditional pie, we need to parcook it.
Into your very largest saute pan it goes, with three tablespoons of foaming butter, cooking over medium heat for about 10, 15 minutes until everybody is soft and sweet and thick, just like me. Get a taste for doneness and seasoning, adjust as necessary.
Maybe give it a pinch of kosher salt, if that’s your thing. And then we’re letting this mixture cool completely, covering and refrigerating until ready to use. Last step in the pre-pie process is our crust.
which is coming out of the oven, looking nice and golden brown, which one’s completely cooled, we can wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature until we’re ready to use it. For now, it’s time to talk stuffing.
You can totally buy croutons from the store. They’re gonna be perfectly good, and they might be flavored with things like Asiago and garlic, which makes them ideal for snacking. But you will find an unquestionable improvement in your stuffing if you make your own croutons.
You can use flavorful, robust, breads like sourdough. You can control their size and consistency and you can flavor them however you like. Cube up a whole loaf of bread into these maybe half inch size cubes, spread them out evenly on a couple of sheet trays and place them in your oven at its lowest setting.
Mine goes down to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. And then dry them tossing and rotating occasionally until they are completely dry. If you’re doing this the night before, you could just leave the bread out overnight and let it stale.
Next up, I think we need something green in our Thanksgiving meal, and if you have to eat something green, why not drown it in bacon fat? In this ingenious method, masterminded by our new kitchen producer, Kendall Beach, basically we’re cutting the bottoms off and cutting in half about two pounds of brussel sprouts, giving them a toss with a little bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.
Make sure that everybody’s nice and evenly coated, and then spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure that nobody’s too crowded, and making sure that everybody is resting cut side down. Then here’s the genius part.
You guys know how I feel about roasting bacon instead of frying it. Well, we’re gonna kill roughly 15 birds with one stone by laying half a pound of medium thickness bacon, not too thick, not too thin.
This can be covered and refrigerated overnight. And then we’re gonna bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 to 25 minutes. It is a perfect invention and no one can tell me otherwise. Last but not least, we need some sage sausage for our stuffing.
If you cannot find sage sausage, it’s easy enough to approximate. I have here a pound of ground pork, to which I’m going to add a teaspoon of kosher salt, a half teaspoon each have garlic powder and onion powder and a whole bunch of fresh sage, about two tablespoons’ worth, finely chopped.
I think the sage is kind of the genesis of where all those familiar Thanksgiving flavors come from. So do not skip the fresh sage. Mix up, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. And that does it for the stuff that can optionally be done ahead of time.
Next up, our Thanksgiving day of to dos. First thing we’re gonna work on is our stuffing, and the first thing we need for our stuffing is Mirepoix, the blessing triad of finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery.
What we’re doing here is a ritual known as mis en place, a very important ritual on a day as busy as Thanksgiving. The more you can chop, prep, measure and set aside your ingredients before starting to cook, the better.
So in addition to my half medium onion, two small carrots, and two ribs of celery, I’m going to finally mince about two tablespoons’ worth of fresh sage, along with picking and chopping about a tablespoon of fresh thyme.
Then we’re ready to head over to the stove top where we’re gonna heat a tablespoon of olive oil in our biggest Dutch oven, and in it, we’re gonna brown and mash up our homemade sort of sausage. We just wanna break it down to bite size pieces, get some decent color on the outside.
It’s okay if it’s still a little pink in the middle. Then we’re fishing it out with a slotted spoon, setting it aside and in the rendered pork fat, along with two tablespoons of butter, we’re gonna start sauteing our Mirepoix, for maybe five or six minutes until it starts to soften and pick up some color.
We’re also gonna start to warm up four cups of stock in a separate saucepan. Once our vegetables are sufficiently sauteed, we’re gonna start adding our herbs, one tablespoon fresh thyme, two tablespoons fresh sage, and one crushed clove of garlic I forgot to tell you to prepare earlier.
Saute these together for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. And then we’re gonna start deglazing the pot with a little bit of our stock. Deglazing just means adding a little bit of liquid so we can scrape up all the brown stuff off the bottom of the Dutch oven.
This is where flavor resides. Then we’re gonna add our sausage back to the pot, and I’m gonna add some chopped, roasted chestnuts. This is very optional, if you can find them, they have a very mild, sweet flavor, but mostly, it’s impressive to say I’ve got chestnuts in my stuffing.
Mix all that together until everybody’s evenly distributed, and then we’re gonna start adding our croutons, along with about half of the remaining warm stock. We want just enough to saturate the bread.
So don’t add it all at once. Give it a mix, see how it looks, see how it tastes, season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and add more stock and/or croutons as necessary. Once you’ve got it to the consistency that you like it, we’re covering and keeping it warm while we work on our other stuff.
This guy can be reheated on the stove top or crisped up in the oven before serving. Next up, it’s time to contend with our bird, which, as you can see, has been nicely desiccated in the fridge. Now, again, this is totally optional, but if you can find yourself a tub of duck fat, there’s never been a better time to splurge upon it.
If that’s not your bag just, hit the whole bird with a light coating of olive oil. But if it is your bag, give it as generous as possible a rubdown. Next up, for roasting, we have some minor preparations.
First, we’re gonna tuck the wing tips underneath the body of the bird. This is going to prevent them from burning. Next up, we have to sort of tress the legs, for which we normally need butcher’s twine, but I couldn’t find mine.
So in a pinch, you can actually use gauze, which is just cotton, so it’s like butcher’s twine in a different shape. Grab yourself a length of it, twist it into a sort of string and tie the legs together.
This is gonna help expose the thighs and drumsticks to more heat and help them cook more evenly. We’re giving this guy one last coat of salt and freshly ground pepper, and as for stuffing the bird, it’s generally not a good idea to stuff your poultry, because whatever you shove up in there has to be brought up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
So why not use some stuff that you’re not gonna eat that’s going to perfume the bird from within, like a whole head of garlic cut in half and a sliced lemon? Last up, we are roughly chopping a large onion and retrieving our very largest oven-safe saute pan, into which we’re gonna deposit our bird upside down.
This is a popular method that protects the delicate breast meat from the heat of the oven while exposing the dark meat to the heat that it needs to become tender. We’re then surrounding the bird with our chopped onion.
This is gonna help prevent any accumulated juices from burning or evaporating. It is then headed into a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about one hour. About halfway through, we’re gonna take it out and flip it.
This way. the breast meat can finish cooking and the skin on top can be browned and crisped up. During its last half hour of cooking, we’re gonna add the brussel sprouts and bacon to the oven and prepare our final side dish, some outrageously creamy mashed potatoes.
Now I recently did a Basics episode set of mashed potatoes. Click the link in the upper right hand corner right now if you wanna see how to make all different kinds of styles, but what follows is a super simple, ultra rich version.
Here I have roughly two or three pounds of Yukon golds that I’m peeling and cutting into one inch cubes, placing into a large stockpot or high walled saute pan like this, and covering with cold water.
We’re then gonna heavily salt this water and bring the whole thing up to the boil. Once the boil is reached, we’re gonna cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender, and can be broken in half without effort when pierced with a piercing object.
Go ahead and drain these and return them to the hot pan, where we’re gonna place them over very low heat and mix them to help drive off any excess moisture. Now we’re gonna be adding a whole stick or a half a cup of unsalted butter to these potatoes.
So I’m gonna melt about three tablespoons’ worth in a separate pan and crush in two to three cloves of garlic, allowing them to cook for 30 seconds to one minute until nice and fragrant. Once that’s done, we’re killing the heat under everything and adding the remaining butter, one cup of room temperature, heavy cream and our sauteed garlic and butter mixture to the potatoes.
And with that, we’re ready to commence to mashing. Just mash them up and mix them around until everybody’s smooth, taking care not to overmash. Season heavily with kosher salt, mix it in, and like everything else we’re doing today, we’re tasting for seasoning.
We wanna make sure that everything has enough salt and/or pepper before it ends up on the table. For now, we’re gonna cover these up and keep them warm because our chicken is headed out the oven. First thing’s first, we’re taking the bird out of the pan and setting him aside to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving.
Do not cover him with foil. You will ruin his nice crispy skin. Then we are straining the contents of the pan, which is gonna be mostly fat, but we are taking care to leave all that beautiful brown stuff in the bottom of the pot.
Set that aside because before we finish up our main courses, we need to prep our dessert. Simply pour the apple filling into the tart shell, top with our crumble, lower the oven to 350, and pop it in for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, over on the stove top, we’re building our pan gravy. Make sure you wrap the handle of the pan with a towel. You don’t wanna burn your fingies, and to the pan, we’re adding two tablespoons of butter, with which we’re gonna build a roux.
I’m adding three tablespoons of all purpose flour, whisking to combine, and also adding about a quarter cup of our accumulated duck and chicken fat. This is gonna make for an extraordinarily flavorful gravy, as is our amped up stock.
Whisk constantly as we slowly add about two cups of stock to this mixture, both scraping up all the beautiful brown stuff on the bottom of the pot and preventing any lumps from forming. Just add a little bit at a time, whisking until smooth before adding any more.
You might not wanna add all of the stock, if you want a thicker gravy. Once you’ve added enough to suit your tastes, we’re gonna cook it over medium heat for about five minutes then season generously with salt and pepper, making any necessary final adjustments to flavor and/or consistency and set aside our dream gravy for serving.
We’re on the home stretch now, just a couple more to-dos. First off, our brussel sprouts are headed out the oven. They are nicely browned and the bacon’s nice and crisp. Place the brussel sprouts into your serving bowl, chop up the bacon and top.
Simple as that, for the best brussel sprouts I’ve ever had my life. Next up, we can optionally carve the chicken before serving which is easier than it sounds and it’s much easier than doing at the table.
If you wanna see in detail how to do this, click the link in the upper right-hand corner right now, but basically, we’re just removing the breasts, slicing them up and serving them alongside the drums and thighs.
Only one final step, finding the right serving vessel for our stuffing and plating everybody up nice and pretty. And there you have it, a simple, entirely from scratch Thanksgiving dinner, totally doable in about four hours, about two hours of which can be done ahead of time.
The chicken is moist and juicy, with lovely, crisp skin. The gravy is absolutely the best gravy I’ve ever had in my life. Potatoes are rich and creamy. The stuffing tastes exactly how you hope stuffing tastes.
The cranberry sauce is sweet and tart, and the brussel sprouts are more bacon than they are brussel sprouts. Real quick, I just wanna say thank you to the sponsor of today’s episode, YouTube Movies and Shows.
It’s no mystery that I love a good show/movie. I literally built my career on it. Thanks to this service from YouTube, I can now search for and purchase basically any show or movie in the same place where all my content resides.
There are even free ad-supported movies in the U.S. if you’re afraid of commitment. So after watching an episode of Binging, head back and search to find the corresponding film to see how well I did or find a classic holiday movie to get you in the spirit.
You can check out the available movies and shows right now at youtube.com/movies. Thank you to YouTube Movies and Shows for sponsoring this video. Oh, whoops. I almost forgot the apple pie. It is best eaten after cooling about 30 minutes.
And I gotta say, this apple pie kind of reminds me of this year’s Thanksgiving. It’s not the one that we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less delicious or warm or comforting. And let’s look on the bright side.
It’s a hell of a lot easier. (light upbeat music)