I will admit that, like pizza, I prefer the day after leftovers to the original meal. I will say, however, that the turkey this year was one of the best ever - the brine recipe I used is a keeper! I also ended up brining the bird for 48 hours instead of overnight. One advantage of our present climate is that it is cold enough to make the great outdoors an extension of the refrigerator.
I've got the carcass (not mine, the turkey's) in my big stock pot, simmering away with roasted vegetables. I've got a pile 'o leftover bird waiting a white chili makeover (tomorrow - I've got the day off today). There was no stuffing for this girl, but there was no lack of delicious food for me to choose from. And how did the the meal pan (pun intended) out? Here's a review of my recipe adventures:
Turkey - New brine recipe is GOOD. Basically - two quarts of apple juice (I used unsweetened, natural), one cup of kosher salt, one gallon of water, five pounds of ice cubes. Dissolve the salt in the juice/water combo, put your turkey breast down, put ice cubes on top and add more water to submerge, if necessary. I brine my turkey in a giant zip loc bag in a cooler. You could skip the bag and just use a cooler, but I find it easier to clean everything. Plus I usually have to transport the turkey for cooking, so it works out much better. We roasted it without adding anything else, although my sister popped half a large onion and half a head of unpeeled garlic in the cavity. I am using both in the stock.
Cranberry Relish - Last year I made it with fresh, unfrozen berries. It was better. This year I made it with frozen berries. GOOD (but better with fresh berries). The recipe is Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish (the famous, Pepto Bismol pink relish from an NPR personality's mother). It is an unusual recipe but we all love it.
Carrot Mash - A hands-down GREAT recipe. I will make this often.
Mincemeat Pie with Gluten Free Crust - Mincemeat was GOOD (if I do say so myself, it being homemade). The crust was BAD. This was the first time I have been disappointed in a Gluten Free Mama mix. It was difficult to roll out, so it ended up thicker than I like. This made it tricky to bake - and even with my handy silicone crust protector, the edges were toast (and not in a good way) by the time the top browned sufficiently. I may tweak it a bit, as I have four more mixes.
Now, for the WEIRD. The Gluten-Free and Vegan Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Bars. Somehow, I missed the fact that they were not baked. And the reference to "Vegan" should have raised an eyebrow. But I was so focused on the Pumpkin and Gluten Free, that I missed the warning signs. Once I got over the shock that it was not baked, it still sounded promising - with a crust that included dates, oats, coconut and pumpkin seeds. However, the filling/topping, being pumpkin puree with no binder, sat atop the crust like weird, cold pudding. I will not make it again. Surprisingly, I have loads left. The chickens will be dining well...
All in all, it was a great meal, made more so by the inclusion of family - those at the table, and those that couldn't be with us, but were in our thoughts and fond remembrances. There is so much for which I am thankful. I hope everyone had the day they desired.