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Nov 25, 2010 05:46 PM

2010 Thanksgiving Wins and Losses

The big day has come, and with it have come the epic wins of dishes that are huge hits, as well as the inevitable losses of dishes that flopped. what went well for you? what didnt?

Brown Bag Turkey. always a consistent win.
Brussels with Bacon and Balsamic-Orange Reduction
Basil and Parm Stuffed Tomato Upside Down Rolls--> delicious!!

Lemon Meringue Pie was too loose. tasted good, but lemon juice ran and pooled in the dish after cutting!

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  1. actually, since the pie still *tasted* good, i'd call it a draw ;)

    1. Win: Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies with Gouda Biscuit Topping - delicious

      Loss: Vegan Pumpkin Pie - daughter is allergic to eggs so I tried it. The taste was great, but the texture was like rubber. Yuck.

      4 Replies
      1. re: janehathaway

        if you want to post the vegan pie recipe here or elsewhere, i'd be happy to help you troubleshoot...or i can dig up my recipe for you to try next time. the filling is terrific - not rubbery at all!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          That is so kind of you! I threw my recipe out in frustration and can't remember where I found it in the first place. I do remember that it had 6 tbs. cornstarch, which seemed like a lot to me. I would love to have your recipe when you have time. My daughter loves pumpkin pie, but is severely allergic to eggs. Thank you so much!

          1. re: janehathaway

            so it doesn't necessarily have to be vegan, just egg-free? oh, and yes, 6 Tbsp of cornstarch is too much. i've *never* seen a recipe that called for more than 1/4 cup, and even that's pushing it!

        2. re: janehathaway

          Our dishes were similar:
          Sort of win: veggie pot pie with Trader Joe's puff pastry crust. The filling was wondefful, but the pastry crust sagged and remained pale instead of puffing up and turning golden. The pastry scraps I baked with the pot pies were great though.

          Win: baked artichokes from Martha Stewart web site

          Win (as always): roasted veggies: brussels sprouts, baby potatoes, carrots, parsnip, beets, onion

          Win: dessert of mixed berries, vanilla custard (scratch made), lemon whipped cream

        3. fab giblet gravy
          neighbor's cranberry and port sauce terrific
          good potatoes

          losses - white part of turkey a little dry
          Paula Dean's chocolate, bourbon pecan pie was horribly sweet - not sure I would make that again without a lot of adjustments.

          14 Replies
          1. re: smartie

            my lemon pie was paulas as well! it doesnt sound like you could go wrong with chocolate, bourbon, and and pecans though doesnt it??

            1. re: smartie

              @smartie, do you typically like pecan pie? it's generally pretty cloying. there are several things you can do to tone down the sweetness of this one - use unsweetened chocolate or add some dark cocoa, cut back a bit on the sugar, sub molasses for half of the corn syrup, and increase the pecans (try an extra 1/4 cup). i'd also toss in a bit of espresso powder.

              believe it or not, Tyler Florence's recipe uses the same basic ingredients, but calls for even *more* corn syrup and fewer pecans! i can't imagine how sweet it is. blech.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I'm not American but English so perhaps the pie was too sweet for our Brit tastebuds! I did use unsweetened chocolate as per the recipe but it had 1 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of dark corn syrup which I wondered when I made it yesterday if it would be a bit too sweet. I like the idea of coffee added. I will play with the ingredients for another time.

                1. re: smartie

                  ok, the Paula Deen recipe on the FN website calls for 1/2 cup corn syrup & semisweet chocolate. the Tyler Florence recipe uses 3/4 cup syrup and unsweetened chocolate.

                  i think you used the Tyler Florence recipe.

                  Paula's here:

                  Tyler's here:

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I use a recipe that has 1 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup brown sugar, which is far less sweet that most pecan pies I've had.

                  2. re: smartie

                    I make this maple syrup pecan pie recipe and it is to die for. The author only uses maple syrup, no sugar or corn syrup. I never liked pecan pie until I tried this.


                    1. re: Jen76

                      :0 oh thanks for the extra 10 pounds I'm about to gain :)

                      uh, I'm either reading wrong or something because I see it does call for 1/2 cup sugar

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        you're right - it does call for 1/2 cup of sugar. but if Jen76 made the pie without the sugar and it was still that good, then all the better! ;)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          oh I agree, I'd much prefer it without..........I am not a sugaraholic though, so to me, the pure maple syrup is all I'd want in there.......

                        2. re: iL Divo

                          D'oh...I didn't see that and now I don't remember what I did. I haven't made it in awhile! Probably followed the recipe though as I usually try to get all my ingredients in order before starting.

                          1. re: Jen76

                            well you're a better man than I am, because although I try to do that, I am usually too excited to just get it patience, no patience at all in the kitchen...... :(

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              Well, I did say "try"! ;) It's very possible I left it out. It's not really that much though in comparison to other recipes. You could always try it without!

                              1. re: Jen76

                                and I will cause i like the sound of it a lot, thanks

                      2. re: smartie

                        smartie: wha??? have you taste tested sweets in the US vs. UK? I'd say the makers are little more generous there than here. YMMV.

                        but I will agree pretty much everything is too needlessly sweet.

                  3. Win: sausage and chestnut stuffing - yum!
                    win: baked kabocha squash for my calorie-conscious consumers - nice change from butternut and pumpkin
                    no real losses - my family's not a big fan of green bean casserole, but i have all my homemade french fried onions to nosh on tomorrow!

                    1. Great Diestel turkey (this year with a probe thermometer finally)! Wonderful mushroom and leek stuffing. Super yummy and sort of light creamed spinach/kale combo. Mom's marinated mushrooms to cut through the richness of everything. Dulce de leche with salt pumpkin pie all good.

                      Not too bad was giblet gravy (my first, I prefer ungiblet-ed) and braised turnips. SO really liked these though.

                      I actually went so overboard that I have 4 new things to cook and 5 new things to serve tomorrow with the leftover turkey and gravy. My glazed brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, braised carrots, beet and apple salad, and apple sage tart didn't even make it to the table today!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: sasha1

                        "Dulce de leche with salt pumpkin pie all good." - oh my god, that sounds wonderful!

                        would you be generous enough to post a recipe?

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          I didn't have a recipe. I based it very loosely on this:

                          But generally, here is the process. I made a graham cracker crust and prebaked it a bit. Then I spooned in about 1/3 of a can of sweetened condensed milk that I had boiled for 3 hours (in the can). Then a generous sprinkling of pink salt crystals. Finally the pumpkin mixture went on top. I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie spice, so I mixed 2 cups of pumpkin pulp I had roasted with the remainder of the dulce de leche can, a heaping tsp of powdered ginger, and an egg. Baked it at 350 for an hour and let it cool.

                          It's not "real" pastry, so you can fudge it to some extent. Enjoy.

                          1. re: sasha1

                            wow, thanks! i know this is a dumb question, but i don't really do sweets hardly ever.... i need to open a hole in the can to boil it for that length of time, don't i? what happens to the condensed milk, does it solidify so it is more like the consistency of the pumpkin? it's a layered thing? thanks again for posting it.

                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              MC, you don't punch a hole in the can, but you do make sure it is fully covered with water; the texture can be anywhere from pourable caramel sauce to more solid, depending on how long it cooks. Everything you need to know covered extensively here:

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                so it would have to be weighted down, right? oh, ok, i'll check out that link, thanks CMc!

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  It doesn't have to be weighted down. Just put the can in a big pot with lots of water covering it, cover and cook for 2-3 hours. I used my stockpot, and there was no danger of water boiling away.

                        2. re: sasha1

                          sounds like everyone that is at your house for thanksgiving and today are the real winners here! the stuffing and pie sound excellent

                            1. re: sasha1

                              I improvised a mushroom-leek stuffing extremely similar to this recipe (same mushrooms, same wine, same thyme; I used olive oil instead of butter, and much less of it; I included celery along with the leeks, and parsley when I mixed it all with the bread). It turned out quite delicious.