Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first or fifteenth time, having the right equipment can definitely make or break your day. And since I’m about to embark on preparing my fifteenth Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, I’m happy to share some of my favorite, tried and true food and wine related equipment essentials with you.
Ranging from the perfect roasting pan to easy to care for wine glasses to my favorite serving pieces, I hope you find these items as helpful as I have.
(Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at NO additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these items, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.)
1.) ROASTING PAN WITH RACK: Getting the right size roasting pan for your Thanksgiving turkey is critical. It needs to be large enough to accommodate the entire bird and will usually be much bigger than the roasting pan you use to cook weeknight chickens for your family. A rack is also very important when cooking a large bird as it allows the air to circulate around the entire bird and prevents the bottom from getting soggy. This is an important investment you’ll keep forever and rely on every year – I’ve had mine for 15 years and don’t know what I’d do without it! Also, if you happen to be looking for a delicious Turkey recipe, please click here for two tempting options! All-Clad Stainless Steel Nonstick 16 x 13″ Roasting Pan with Rack $119
2.) MEAT THERMOMETER: This piece of equipment is absolutely essential for Thanksgiving or any holiday gathering where you’re cooking a large piece of meat. Let’s face it, the worst thing that can happen is to start carving up the bird in front of friends and family only to discover it’s still pink inside or, even worse, overcooked. This small and relatively inexpensive piece of equipment will ensure your bird is perfectly cooked every time and guarantee nobody will leave with food poisoning! KitchenBros Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer with Alarm Timer and 2 Probes $29.95
3.) IMMERSION/HAND BLENDER: While you definitely COULD puree that Butternut Squash Soup (try my favorite recipe here) in batches in your stand blender and risk it exploding all over your kitchen but why on Earth WOULD you! This super handy immersion blender will puree your soup to a silky consistency right in the pot. This amazing blender also comes with a handy whisk attachment as well – SCORE! Braun MQ505 Multiquick Hand/Immersion Blender $47.96
4.) POTATO RICER: For the silkiest, fluffiest mashed potatoes EVER you simply must use a potato ricer. While there are varying schools of thought as to whether to a food mill or a potato ricer is better, let me just put it to rest. I’ve been using my potato ricer since Martha Stewart recommended it in the late 1990’s and my mashed potatoes have been a major hit ever since. Metaltex “Mr. Mash” Potato Ricer White/Silver $40
1.) WINE GLASSES: If you’re expecting a big group but don’t have enough nice wine glasses to go around, these glasses are for you! Designed by friend and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, “The One” line of wine glasses feature ONE glass for white wines, and ONE glass for red wines. Period. End of story. No more purchasing a different glass for each grape variety. And as an added bonus, these lovely glasses are also dishwasher safe, break-resistant and reasonably priced. The One White Wine Glasses Non-Lead Crystal (Set of 2) $29.95; The One Red Wine Glasses Non-Lead Crystal (Set of 2) $29.95
2.) WINE DECANTER: If you plan on opening any special bottles of wine during the holidays, it’s always good to have a decanter on hand. A decanter comes in handy when you need to tame the tannins in younger red wines and can also be used to remove an older red wine from its sediment which naturally collects at the bottom of the bottle as a wine ages (for more info on decanting, please click here). You don’t need to spend a ton of money on an elaborately shaped one either, just a simple crystal decanter in a practical shape works beautifully. Riedel Wine Decanter $37
3.) WINE AERATOR: If you don’t want to decant an entire bottle of wine, decant a glass with this handy tool that works like a dream! The Vinturi infuses young tannic red wines with oxygen as you pour it through the funnel instantly mellowing its tannins. This handy device can also be set inside the mouth of a decanter to double the effect! Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator $24
1.) STAUB CAST IRON PUMPKIN COCOTTE: I am absolutely SMITTEN with this gorgeous piece that makes a fabulous statement on your holiday table! Use this cast-iron serving piece in conjunction with the ceramic pumpkin cocottes below for serving Fall soups and stews. While a bit pricey, this is really the perfect vessel for you delightful butternut squash or pumpkin soup (see my favorite recipe here). Staub Cast Iron, Burnt Orange Pumpkin Cocotte, 3.5 Quart $179
2.) STAUB CERAMIC PUMPKIN COCOTTES: These delightful burnt orange, ceramic pumpkin cocottes are the perfect touch to any elegant Thanksgiving gathering. I use them to serve my Butternut Squash Soup to my guests as a first course. Staub Petite Ceramic Burnt Orange Pumpkin Cocottes 5-inch .5 Qt./16 oz. $24.95
I hope you find these items as helpful as I have over the years. While some of them are a little bit of an investment, you will have them forever and rely on them for many a holiday in the future. Also, if you have any questions about ANY of the items featured in this post, please feel free to e-mail me at Stephanie@theglamorousgourmet.com OR simply leave a Comment below and I promise to get back to you ASAP.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy & Delicious Thanksgiving,
“As long as we have wine, Thanksgiving will be fine.” – Steve Miskew
The Miskews are fresh off a trip to California wine country, and while very travel weary, we’re blissfully content from indulging in some of the amazing food and wine the Napa Valley has to offer. More on that in the coming weeks but here we are with Thanksgiving a week away (how did THAT happen?) as well as the impending question of which dishes to prepare and, perhaps more importantly, which wines to pair with them.
If you’re a Francophile you may be thinking of breaking out the Burgundy or Bordeaux to pair with your holiday feast but I urge you to consider a French region you might not readily think of, the Languedoc. This diverse region spans the sunny Mediterranean coast and is the largest wine making region in the country. But what makes the region’s wines so perfect for Thanksgiving is a little term known as, garrigue. Garrigue refers to the aromas and flavors of the wild, plentiful vegetation that grows throughout the region, consisting largely of herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme as well as the regional staple, lavender. These delightful aromas and flavors are also expressed in the region’s wines, so what better selections to pair with your Thanksgiving feast?
I recently received a delightful package containing a “Garrigue Kit” which consisted of jars of dried herbs, a few bottles of Languedoc wine and Thanksgiving-inspired recipes to do a little experimenting just in time for the holidays. I’m happy to report the wines highlighted the flavors of the Thanksgiving dishes beautifully and, for these prices, they are incredibly hard to beat and perfect for entertaining a crowd! Below are the pairings we enjoyed most – please click on the name of the wine or dish for purchasing or recipe information:
1.) Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter: This traditional incarnation of the holiday bird by Chef Tyler Florence is simply slathered with sage butter (over AND under the skin to keep the breast meat from drying out) and then roasted to a delightful golden hue. The resulting savory flavors and sage-scented meat and crispy skin harmonized beautifully with the 2014 Chateau de Landure Minervois ($10). This medium-bodied red is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre exhibiting enticing aromas of red and black fruit and spice. On the palate, flavors of cherry, blackberry, leather, black pepper and garrigue accompany supple tannins and a lovely, pleasing acidity.
2.) Farmhouse Herbed Stuffing: If you love a simple, meatless, old-school stuffing that highlights Thanksgiving’s glorious, traditional herbs then THIS stuffing recipe is for you! While we enjoyed this recipe, I recommend making your own bread cubes by simply toasting day old bread in the oven and then stuffing as much of the mixture into the bird to cook as possible. We really enjoyed the flavors of this stuffing paired with the 2014 Chateau de Lancyre Coteaux de Languedoc Pic St. Loup Vielles Vignes ($24). This red blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Grenache, has savory notes of blackberry, plum, cassis and earth with supple tannins and a garrigue-tinged finish. The wine’s food friendly acidity also makes it a very versatile pairing at the holiday table.
3.) Lavender Roasted Potatoes (scroll down for recipe): I must admit, I’ve never incorporated the flavor of lavender in my Thanksgiving meal but I’m really looking forward to it this year! For this recipe I used both yellow and purple potatoes to complement the color and flavor of the lavender. While these roasted potatoes also pair nicely with a lavender-imbued rosé, we especially liked them with the 2014 Luc Pirlet Corbières ($10), a medium-bodied blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache and 20% Syrah. This wine exudes fragrant aromatics of blue and black fruit and earth while notes of plum, blackberry, cassis and black pepper delight on the palate while beautifully accentuating the lavender in the dish.
To learn more about the wines of France’s dynamic Languedoc region, please click here. I hope you have the chance to enjoy these remarkably food friendly wines over the holidays and if you do, please be sure to let me know in the Comments section below! For more delicious Thanksgiving recipes or wine recommendations from The Glamorous Gourmet, please click here. If you’re preparing the holiday meal this year you also won’t want to miss our Thanksgiving Day Cheat Sheet with oodles of helpful information.
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Our latest Fast & Fabulous recipe was inspired by the post-Thanksgiving nirvana of leftovers! Nothing’s better than leftovers, am I right? This recipe for Roasted Chicken, Sage, Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Salad can handle just about any leftover you have on hand: chicken or turkey, sage, mushrooms, cranberry, onions and even gravy if you’re feeling particularly decadent. Bring. it. on!!! As luck would have... Read More
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While I sincerely adore each and every classic Thanksgiving dish from stuffing to sweet potatoes, this year I’ll be treating my guests to a delightful “amuse bouche” before we dig into the main meal. This deliciously Decadent Butternut Squash Bisque will prime everyone’s palates for the meal to come and, as an added bonus, it can even be prepared in advance! I must admit I came... Read More
The post Thanksgiving Deliciousness: Decadent Butternut Squash Bisque! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.
In addition to your friends and family, a job you really love, and/or that fun vacation you took this Summer, our Thanksgiving Day Cheat Sheet is one more thing you’ll be giving thanks for this year! As you tackle the plethora of recipes you pretty much only make once a year, questions invariably emerge. How many cups in a quart?... Read More
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In addition to your friends, family, a job you love, and that dream vacation you took this Summer, our Thanksgiving Day Cheat Sheet is one more thing you’ll be giving thanks for this year!
As you tackle the plethora of recipes you pretty much only make once a year, questions invariably emerge. How many cups in a quart? To stuff or not to stuff? How many pounds of turkey per person? What was I thinking inviting thirty people over for Thanksgiving? Bookmark this page right now to save yourself a panic attack in front of thirty of your closest friends and family members. Scroll down for all our advice on Necessary Equipment, Liquid/Dry Measure Equivalents, a little Culinary Vocabulary, and 6 Tips & Tricks that will help get you through this crazy, culinary marathon!
Thermometer: You’ve put alot of effort into this meal so why risk a dried out or undercooked turkey? Eliminate the guesswork by using a good quality, digital read thermometer with a roasting probe and you’ll never ruin another piece of meat again! Just insert the probe into the deepest part of the thigh (being careful not to hit any bones) and roast the turkey until the thermometer reads 170 degrees. The bird should then rest for 20-30 minutes before carving during which time it will continue to cook just enough and the juices will redistribute resulting in a juicier turkey.
Electric carving knife: Rather than struggling with that dull, old Chef’s knife that’s been siting in your knife block needing sharpening for the past 5 years (or more), do yourself a favor and invest in an electric knife for occasions like this. A good electric knife will make carving that ginormous 25 pound bird feel like running a hot knife through butter.
Bulb Baster: Rather than risk burning your hand trying to clumsily baste your turkey with a metal spoon, the handy dandy bulb baster makes basting your bird with its beautiful juices a snap! Definitely worth the very minimal investment.
Roasting Pan with Rack: If you plan on hosting Thanksgiving on a yearly basis, a good quality roasting pan should be the first piece of equipment you invest in. A rack is important to keep the bird off the bottom of the pan where you can also roast vegetables, potatoes and herbs OR just collect all those heavenly juices to make your gravy. Keep in mind though, the same pan you roast your 20 lb Thanksgiving turkey wouldn’t be appropriate to roast your weeknight 5 lb. chicken, you’ll need a smaller pan for that.
Turkey platter, serving dishes, & spoons: After your cooking marathon the last thing you want to encounter is a shortage of serving platters, dishes, or serving spoons. Have a nice serving platter specifically for the turkey and set our your serving dishes and bowls the night before along with their corresponding serving piece to eliminate any confusion.
Liquid/Dry Measure Equivalents
1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 ounces = 3.8 liters
1 Tablespoon = 3 teaspoons = 1/2 fluid ounce
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons = 12 teaspoons = 2 ounces
1 pint = 2 cups = 16 ounces
1 cup = 8 ounces
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
Baste: to moisten with liquid (usually using the drippings or other liquids in the bottom of a roasting pan) during the cooking process. This task is usually done using your bulb baster.
Giblets: the edible organ meat of poultry which most commonly includes the heart, liver and gizzard. The giblets (along with the neck) are usually packaged together and inserted into the bird’s neck cavity. Be sure to remove prior to roasting or stuffing!
Spatchcock: the removal of the backbone of a bird such as a chicken or turkey which allows it to cook more quickly; also called butterflying.
Turducken: a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck which is then stuffed into a deboned turkey. Once assembled, it is then either braised, roasted, grilled or barbequed.
6 Thanksgiving Tips & Tricks:
1.) Be sure to give yourself enough time to thaw your turkey. It takes 1 day for every 3 pounds to defrost so get out your calculators and do the math. Or, you could save yourself the trouble and purchase a fresh turkey, just be sure to check the purchase date on the label.
2.) To achieve the most delicious stuffing humanly possible, cook it inside the turkey! Just be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly. A stuffed turkey can take a half hour to an hour longer than it would take to cook one that’s not stuffed – another great reason to invest in a good quality meat thermometer! If you have stuffing leftover that won’t fit in the bird, put it in a buttered casserole dish and cook it alongside the turkey.
3.) After experimenting for years with different rubs and brines, it turns out the secret to a cooking-magazine-cover ready turkey is butter! Add some chopped herbs such as sage and thyme to some softened butter, mix well and slather the bird on top of as well as under the skin for maximum moistness. Just be sure when working under the skin not to tear it and all those juices makes for a delicious gravy too!
4.) In addition to the turkey drippings, my secret to delicious gravy is to add some Cognac towards the end which really gives it fabulous depth of flavor!
5.) Make as many things in advance as humanly possible. This might sound like common sense but even something simple like having your veggies washed and prepped the night before will save you plenty of time.
6.) To highlight your beautiful meal, as well as appease your guests, it ALWAYS helps to have the right wines! We have 10 selections all picked out for your at The Wine Atelier, click here to view.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Delicious Thanksgiving,
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey During this season of giving thanks, well for this week at least, I am thankful for pumpkin! From Starbucks’ infinitely sippable Pumpkin Spice Latte to Publix’s deliciously scoopable Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream,... Read More