Arguably the most important meal you’ll eat this year is rapidly approaching. Turkey Day. The Gobble Feast. Thanksgiving. Every year, Thanksgiving becomes a friendlier holiday to me, especially when compared with the always-stressful Christmas and constantly-disappointing New Year’s Eve. Mashed potatoes will never cause you existential distress at midnight. Stuffing is never stressful. Eating is good and happy.
All of this was confirmed at the recent Thanksgiving Workshop class that I took at The Chopping Block. Under the careful guidance of Chef Max Hull, we cooked our way through a whole Thanksgiving feast and learned the shortcuts, secrets, and pro-tips for a painless dinner. Take a peek below, then go sign up for their remaining classes! Your friends and family will thank you, and your turkey will be horrified.
1. If you don’t have a drink in your hand, you’re doing Thanksgiving wrong.
Not sure what to pair with your pre-feast cooking frenzy? Ask the experts at The Chopping Block to help you find the perfect glass of wine for every step of the way, including planning!
2. Stuffing makes the turkey take longer to cook, making it more likely for you to go from the perfect bird to a dehydrated one.
The turkeys we put in the oven at The Chopping Block were prepped, roasted, basted, cooled, and cut in more than enough time during a four-hour class. If we had stuffed them, they’d have taken longer to cook to a safe eating temperature and not been nearly as deliciously moist as they were. Instead of stuffing your bird, make a stuffing dish that can shine on its own time. Try this one, which focuses on fennel and sausage, and takes
less than 20 minutes to put together.
3. Elevate classics to take your feast to the next level.
There are some dishes you have to serve every Thanksgiving. Take away mashed potatoes, and you’re going to be met with fierce resistance, from me most of all. But instead of serving the same tired take on these essentials year after year, try quick and simple changes to add a new taste and wow your guests. The one we talked about at The Chopping Block? Adding brown butter to jazz up mashed potatoes. Life = changed.
4. Take the time to carve your turkey right.
Chef Max took us through a step-by-step turkey carving tutorial, showing us how to take apart the gorgeous bird you just put together. Using his method, you yield an equal amount of white and dark meat to satisfy every guest, save the bones to make a mind-blowing stock, and end up with an Instagram-worthy plate if I’ve ever seen one.
5. Pie dough is easier than you think to make from scratch -- and you can store it ahead of time.
Even though Chef Max and the rest of The Chopping Block’s amazing team had done us a favor and made our pie dough ahead of time, he showed us in the shortest demonstration of the day how easy it is to whip up a batch of from-scratch goodness as early as the morning of the big dinner. But his pro-tip? Pie crust freezes and defrosts so easily, you might as well get it out of the way so that the only crimping you have to worry about on the big day is focused on pie edges and not your style.
6. Gather, enjoy, celebrate.
Don’t forget what Thanksgiving is all about at the end of the day: dishes. No, wait, the right answer here is spending time together. Gathering your friends and family around the table for a time of tasty togetherness is the reason for the season.
A lot of the dishes we cooking in this Thanksgiving Workshop class can be found in The Chopping Block's free Thanksgiving Survival Guide, so download it now to prepare for your feast!