It is time again to learn how to make Thanksgiving dinner recipes; the time for our very best baking and cooking. For now I want to focus on Southern Thanksgiving recipes. There are so many great cooking ingredients grown throughout the southern states. Since Thanksgiving is the first major holiday following the harvest season, many of the products are utilized in the celebration of Thanksgiving.
When driving through the south one cannot help but notice all the pecan signs. This is one of the most important southern crops for me. I learned how to make Thanksgiving dinner recipes using pecans in all my baking. I can’t even guess how many pounds of this nut I use each year especially through the holiday season. The pecan is the only tree nut native to North America and today Georgia is the leading producer.
As I have spent much time in the South, I can tell you that many people would not have an entrée for their Thanksgiving dinner recipes if it were not for the wild game; wild turkeys in particular. They are beautiful as they roam the land in huge flocks. It is just a way of life to have one for a special feast.
All Southerns learn how to make Thanksgiving recipes incorporating the popular squashes and pumpkins which grow throughout the south. Harvest time this year brought in a huge selection to use in our recipes. Pumpkin pie is “mandatory” for all Thanksgiving dinners and squash casseroles and other squash dishes are common on the table. These are all good to teams up with some fresh cranberries.
Henderson, North Carolina is the home of many apple orchards making all those Thanksgiving dinner recipes much better with the abundant availability of fresh apples. Of course these are used in the many delicious apple desserts but also added to other dishes like salads, entrees and stuffing recipes. Fresh apple butter makes a great condiment to the holiday table.
I never knew what grits were until I came south. I had always heard about them but you also have to learn the “Southern” way of cooking them. You might think this is just a simple breakfast dish and not suitable as a Thanksgiving dinner recipe but that is not true. I have tasted many casseroles made with grits suitable as great celebration foods.
Southern Thanksgiving dinner recipes almost always include greens. All types of greens are so important to true southerners. They know how to fix them in an endless variety of recipes. These too are very good in great casserole dishes; especially escalloped ones with fresh cheeses.
All Thanksgiving recipes must include drinks and through the South that has to be “sweet” tea. That is something I have never gotten use too and don’t want to. I drink a lot of unsweetened tea and to be quite honest, I do not need the extra calories. For the true original southerners, they have to have it sweet.
Bourbon is another ingredient used in many parts of the southern states, especially the state of Kentucky. You will find many recipes with bourbon surrounding the Kentucky horse racing and in recipes with mincemeat. This American whiskey derives its name from the county of Bourbon in Kentucky. Bottles of bourbon account for many holiday gifts.
NOTE: This recipe below for dressing is not suitable for stuffing the turkey. It is too moist but delicious baked in casserole dish.
Cooked giblets and turkey neck meat
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
Combine salt and pepper; blend well and set aside.
Combine butter and dried thyme in a bowl; mix well and set aside.
Rinse turkey in fresh water and pat dry.
Season inside of cavity with half of the salt and pepper mix.
Loosen skin from turkey breast without detaching; spread butter under the skin.
Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper on the outside of turkey.
NOTE: If desired bind wings and legs to the turkey to hold the shaped while roasting.
Place turkey in lightly oiled roasting pan with breast side up.
Bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours; meat thermometer should register between 180F and 185F degrees.
NOTE: Insert thermometer in deepest part of meat away from the bones.
Baste with pan juices every 30 minutes; if needed cover with foil to prevent over browning.
TO MAKE SAUCE cook giblets and neck in boiling water until tender; drain and reserve 1 cup of broth.
Chop the neck meat and giblets; set aside to cool.
Transfer turkey to a warm serving platter reserving the pan drippings; remove fat from drippings.
Stir together wine, 1 cup of reserved broth and chopped giblets; set aside.
Pour ¼ cup of the drippings in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; stir in the flour stirring until browned.
Gradually add the wine giblet mixture and the cream; cook stirring constantly until bubbly.
Add ½ teaspoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
Simmer mixture while stirring until desired thickness has been reached; serve with turkey.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine cornbread crumbs and breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water; pour over crumbs and mix well.
Sauté the celery, onion and green pepper in butter until tender.
Add vegetables to the crumb mixture and mix well.
Brown the sausage in heavy skillet until crumbly; drain off excess grease.
Stir sausage and remaining ingredients into cornbread mixture; mix well.
Spoon into a lightly greased 9 X 13 inch baking dish; bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
HOW TO COOK ONIONS
Many ask how to cook onions. If you have never tried the delicious Vidalia onions from Georgia, you must. They have such a wonderful flavor! I never can get enough of them! This recipe brings out the great flavor even more. Try it as one of your Southern Thanksgiving dinner recipes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Drain onions and arrange in shallow baking dish.
Combine sherry, sour cream, salt, pepper, eggs, pimientos and mushrooms; pour over onions.
Dot top with butter and sprinkle with grated cheese; cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Sprinkle gelatin into cold water; in saucepan stir together ½ cup of the sugar and cornstarch.
Gradually stir milk into mixture; beat egg yolks and stir into mixture.
Cook mixture over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture becomes as thick as mayonnaise.
Remove from heat and reserve 1 cup of the mixture.
Stir gelatin mixture and bourbon into remaining hot mixture.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until cooled thoroughly.
Stir chocolate and vanilla into reserved 1 cup of mixture; spread over bottom of pie shell and refrigerate.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar gradually beating in remaining ½ cup sugar.
Beat whites until soft peaks form; fold into chilled bourbon mixture.
Spoon over chocolate layer in pie shell; refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.
The perfect finish to your Thanksgiving Dinner recipes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Beat egg in medium bowl; add sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla.
Mix mixture well and then stir in pecans; pour filling into pie shell.
Set pie on baking sheet in oven and bake 55 to 60 minutes until center is firm.
Cool before serving.