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Quick Thanksgiving help\questions:

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Haricot Verts:
I always steam for 5-6 minutes then submerge in ice bath. Then drain, pat dry and saute in fresh garlic and red pepper flakes. I need to make about 3 pounds for Thanksgiving dinner so can I steam and refrig the day before or at least the morning before I plan to sauté? Or will they get too limp\soggy?

Bone in turkey breast (fresh):
We have done a full breast in the oven before and I usually do a couple split breasts on cedar planks out on the grill with a maple butter. This year it is hard to find a full breast that does not cost $5-6 per pound (Shelton\Diestel). I can get fresh at the local grocery store but they are only split breasts. This is fine for the grill but will this be ok for the oven? I have brined before and do not see the advantage so I do not plan to brine this time.

Mashed taters:
Hate using a hand masher for 5-6 pounds of potatos as I can never get right consistency and electric mixer usually makes a mess. We all know over mashing produces “gluey” potatos. So I bought a ricer at Sur La Tab last weekend thinking this will make perfect mashed potatos and my life easier. I plan to peel, cut in half and boil until fork tender. Then rice and add warm half\half, butter, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sound good?

Any help is appreciated...

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble… gobble…

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  1. No need to peel with a ricer.
    I think the green bean would be fine par-cooked, then finished later.
    Split breast, fine, just adjust your cooking time accordingly.

    sounds delicious!

    1. I'm pretty sure the green beans will be just fine that way (I helped a chef prepare a meal for a huge crowd and that is what he did).

      I don't see why the spit breast would be different. Just make sure to adjust cooking time. I should add I have never roasted split turkey breasts.

      Ricer sounds like a great idea!!

      1. That ricer is gonna make you very happy on T-day! Agree with wyogal on the rest although I do peel before using the ricer. I find that with the ricer I get super-silky mashed potatoes using far less fat although that may not be a consideration for this meal...

        13 Replies
        1. re: GretchenS

          Glad you guys reminded me to use the ricer. I am thinking to make the potatoes before the guests arrive, so I can concentrate on the gravy when the bird comes out. The ricer will take a little longer but if I do it in advance that could work.

          Anyone ever tried the method I see here using a crock pot to keep the potatoes warm? I have one of the older ones from the 70s with two settings, just took it out of storage with that in mind.

          1. re: coll

            I have had good slow-cooker-warmed potatoes and bad/cold ones. I think the key is putting some extra moisture in that conducts the heat. The best ones I ever had, both taste and temperature-wise (I cannot abide lukewarm mashed potatoes), the maker told me she made them how she liked them and then stirred another container of sour cream in. :)

            1. re: coll

              We need 15 pounds of mashed, so this year I am trying the crock pot method. I will make the potatoes, put them in the crock pot, cover the crock pot with a dush towel before putting on the crock pot lid, keep on warm, and see what happens. The potatoes are always a pain, as I always had to d them at the last minute, to make sure they were served hot, and the kitchen is usually in a frenzy as we get ready to eat. Good luck.

              1. re: macca

                Exactly my issue, I'd rather concentrate on really good gravy. I'm thinking if I check every hour or so and add some heavy cream if it gets too thick, it should work. It's not like they're so perfect when you're rushing around at the last minute either. I wish someone else knew how to cook around here!

                1. re: coll

                  I hear you!! I have 5 celiacs coming, so that means separate turkeys, separate stuffing, separate rolls and separate gravy. And I have to make sure I dont "cross contaminate" anything. But- I do love Thanksgiving, and really enjoy preparing the meal.

                  1. re: macca

                    Me too, but I enjoy the day after even more!

                    1. re: coll

                      Yup- that is when I can really enjoy the turkey, stuffing, etc. Seems like I dont eat too much when I have cooking for days! And some years, I am so over the cooking, pots, pans, etc, that I toss the turkey carcasses. Need to keep them this year for some soup/broth.

                      1. re: macca

                        I live for my weekend turkey broth, I have so many recipes to utilize it. This year it's Wife of Kit Carson Bowl of Chili for sure, turkey pot pie and of course!!! a cauldron of turkey soup to be served however and also frozen. But I will stab anyone's hand that tries to take too much meat from my leftovers.

                        1. re: coll

                          Chili sounds great. will have to google the recipe. i think you have given me some inspiration to save the carcass . thanks, and enjoy your Turkey day. I am off to the store in an hour to pick up my birds before it gets too crazy~

                          1. re: macca

                            http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/781...
                            This is the original recipe I used, I like to add some tomatillas too. Of course I sub turkey broth and meat for the chicken called for. Oh and despite what it says, I use canned garbanzos, I'm such a rebel. If you want to google other versions, it is more often called "soup" rather than chili. It is quick to throw together and really tasty.

                            1. re: coll

                              Thanks. Looks great- and nice to find something a bit different to do with leftover turkey. Will give it a shot.

              2. re: coll

                I was so pleased with the results of holding the potatoes in the crock pot. Put them in about 4 hours before: while boiling potatoes, I put a stick of butter and some half and half in the crock on high, along with all the seasonings. It was all melted together by the time the potatoes were done. Riced them in there (messy though, next time do in kitchen! I had it on the side table, out of my way) turn to low, covered and let sit. After company arrived, I remembered it and threw in some heavy cream just to make sure. They were perfection! Thought I knew everything about Thanksgiving dinner, but this old dog just learned a new trick.

                1. re: coll

                  i used the crock pot for the potatoes for the first time, too. Loved it! I had 15 pounds of potatoes, cooked them, then added warm cream, butter, S/P and mashed them. They just fit in the crock pot. I did put paper towels oever the potatoes before I put on the crock pot lid, and it prevented condensation. I cant even tell you how happy I was. The potatoes were done by 8:30 am, and were piping hot when we served them. I started them on high, and lowered to warm as soon as the crock pot was hot. The only problem- next year I am going to have to make 20 pounds of mashed, as we had about 2 cups of lefover mashed, and I didn't even get any. It is a great tip for saving time and aggravation.

            2. Agree with everyone

              Turkey breast - you'll be fine

              Green Beans - you cook them longer than I do when I"m going to reheat them but they will be fine (I do more like 4 minutes).

              Ricer - game changer in the mashed potato game. I do peel for thanksgiving but ONLY because of the time factor. I do them last minute and while the ricer will catch the skins it also can clog up the ricer (which honestly isn't a big deal to pull the peels out, they are just HOT and it takes a little time). I never skimp on the butter in my mashed potatoes :D

              3 Replies
              1. re: thimes

                Thanks for the turkey breast tips. I plan to roast at 350* until internal temp of 160* and I planning for approx 90 minutes. I plan to add a cut white onion, few carrots and celery stalks, lemon (halfed) and place breasts on top. Breasts will be rubbed under and top of skin with butter, and fresh thyme\rosemary\sage and salt and pepper. Might also add a cup of chicken broth to keep moist and baste once or twice. This will also give me more pan drippings for gravy.

                Good idea… I’ll do 4 minutes on the beans. Might also do some crispy shallots on top.

                I only planned to peel potatos to avoid the skin clogging issue with the ricer. I thought about keeping warm in crock pot but want to avoid gummy potatos so on the fence here. Butter and cream is a must. Sour cream (and fresh grated parmesan) does add a nice taste\texture but I do not plan to use any for turkey day.

                1. re: boltsfan

                  Parmesan and a hint of garlic for me, plus yogurt/heavy cream and a stick or two of butter.

                  1. re: boltsfan

                    You might convince me to do split breasts this year! Now if only I can convince the hubby!

                2. I love my ricer. My only suggestion would be to mix in the butter first, because then it coats the potatoes. (I melt it for faster mixing.) Then I'll add my warm 1/2 and 1/2, plus salt & pepper. Yum!

                  1. Beans are fine to blanch and shock a day or two ahead. I wrap them in a kitchen towel after draining and store in crisper.

                    For the potatoes, Cook's suggests rinsing and tossing sliced raw potatoes in a colander under running water for 30 seconds before boiling. I don't know that a ricer is faster than other ways of mashing but it does give you do get a smooth potato; I find it's best to fold in (versus stirring) the hot butter/cream/milk to help keep them creamy.

                    Enjoy!