Authors in the Kitchen–Thanksgiving with Venita Louise

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I met my husband seven years ago and since his family is very Italian, their custom is to have lasagna for Thanksgiving. I welcomed this change especially since he does all the cooking. As far as the tradition goes, I spent many years finding ways of making my Thanksgiving meal less stressful for myself. It was really those last few minutes of getting everything prepared and on the table that frazzled me the most. Often I would run out of gravy and Lord knows there is a whole lot of whining when that happens.

I resolved this problem by making gravy (lots of it) about a week before. Simply put a turkey thigh (the most flavorful), chopped onion, 3 stalks of sliced celery and salt and pepper to taste in a crock pot. Cover all of that with chicken broth and let it cook on low overnight. I used to cook this for my son throughout the winter months because when served with mashed potatoes, stove top stuffing and vegetables it is like a Thanksgiving leftover meal all by itself. He loved it.

Anyway, strain the turkey, onions and celery from the broth and pour the stock into a large pot and heat to a simmer on the stove. Thicken with a mixture of cornstarch and water. I just put about 3 tablespoons of cornstarch in a jar and fill it half way with water and then shake until all is mixed (don’t forget to put the cap on). Add slowly to the stock until it thickens stirring constantly. You may have to adjust these proportions based on how big your gravy boat is. Season to taste. You can freeze it until the big day and all you have to do is heat it up. You’ll never run out of gravy again.
You can dice up the turkey thigh and put it in your stuffing or find another recipe that suits you. It also became my custom to make the mashed potatoes ahead and freeze them so all I needed to do was heat those up as well. Anything to make Thanksgiving Day a little less hectic. Isn’t it enough to have to wrestle with a twenty pound turkey?
God Bless and may you make warm Thanksgiving memories and above all, enjoy your Thanksgiving, it should be about family not stress.
Venita Louise
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