Don’t Screw up Thanksgiving!: Most Common Mistakes and Ways to Fix Them.
The best way to avoid mistakes is to 1) make a plan and stick to it 2) test the recipes out in advance, and 3) know how to fix your mistakes and have a “plan b”. If you are prone to screwing up, here are a few common mistakes that you can make and more importantly, ways to fix them.
If you were not on the “butterball” this year, you may not have read the thawing instructions. Typically you want to allow 1 day of defrost time for every 5 lbs. of meat. That means you need to start defrosting a 20lb. bird, 4 days before. If your bird is still frozen, a fix could be to place it (with the plastic wrapper) in a sink full of cool water. It should defrost in about 4 hours. If you only have 2 hours, you may want to carefully carve the legs, wings, and chunks of breast and defrost them that way. However, this makes for a more complicated cooking process.
Your Gravy isn’t Right
So.. many of you may be in for some gravy texture issues this year! Some have lumps, some make it too thick. and some make it too thin. Well here are all the fixes to all your gravy problems:
Too Lumpy– If you can’t get the lumps out by simmering, stirring for three minutes, covering and simmering again for five minutes, take the shortcut and use a strainer.
Too Thick– This is an easy problem to fix. Just add a little chicken broth, water or wine. If you use chicken broth, make sure to taste for salt content and adjust as necessary. If you use wine (recommended), make sure to simmer for about 8 minutes to allow for the alcohol to burn off.
Too Thin-Remember, gravy tends to thicken as it cools, so don’t add too much thickening agent (a cornstarch slurry[cornstarch dissolved in water] or a bit more roux [equal parts melted butter and flour]). The best advice is to add in tablespoons, let simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add more if necessary. Let the gravy cool for at least 5-10 minutes before deciding to add more thickener.
However, if you’re choosing to be lazy this, year and want to simply open up a can of gravy, or as I like to call it “Horsecrap in a Can” you can use these ideas to make it better!:
Wine– Add some white wine to the gravy!
Herbs– Add fresh herbs like rosemary & thyme.
Spices: Add a little spice to your canned gravy to kick it up a notch!