Thanksgiving for Two
November 19, 2018 9:24 PM   Subscribe

So I’ve gone from “all my friends are out of town I’ll do nothing “ to “oh hey cooking all day will keep me distracted!” So whose got thanksgiving for two recipes? We’re thinking turkey breast, stuffing, one appetizer, one side. Fussy and or distraction providing recipes a plus. Novel approaches like a turkey curry encouraged. Less prep work the better, all day-of. Minor condition, he doesn’t like stuffing with bread in it.
posted by The Whelk to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Someone linked to a sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner recipe in another Turkey Day thread that looks amazing and could be customized to your taste.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:36 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Does it have to be turkey? Duck breast is so much tastier (and surprisingly simple to make). Hit up whatever greenmarket the Hudson Valley people are going to be at tomorrow or Wednesday.
posted by praemunire at 10:02 PM on November 19, 2018

~24 oz cranberries, one medium orange (peel and all), one cup sugar. Food process to relish consistency. Keep in fridge until dinner, the longer the better for the flavors to meld.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:14 PM on November 19, 2018

I'm pretty sure that How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner in a Single Sheet Pan checks your boxes. It might not be fussy enough but you could complicate it as much as you want and make the substitutions you want.

Consider homemade dinner rolls - my family makes butterhorn rolls.
posted by meemzi at 10:44 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Chia yi (also romanized as Jia Yi) Turkey Rice if you want something really non-traditional. It’s a very homey regional Taiwanese specialty, similar to Hainanese chicken rice only made with our seasonal bird friend the fire chicken 🦃.

I have made it before but I cannot find the recipe I used at the time.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:12 PM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Smitten kitchen’s turkey meatball recipe is also excellent, but it may not be fussy enough for what you’re looking for. Make it with the fattiest ground turkey you can find so it’s not too dry.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:14 PM on November 19, 2018

If you like chopping things, my parents used to make gong bao ("kung pow") turkey with the turkeys they got from work. It was celery, fresh-fried peanuts, potatoes, carrots, and turkey, all in ~1cm cubes; individually fry everything except the celery, velveting the turkey bits with soy, and generously season with chili garlic sauce. #america
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:30 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

A few years ago I went temporarily insane and made Thanksgiving Pie (with pumpkin pie for dessert). It involves almost all the cooking of thanksgiving dinner but the result is a single pie. It's a savory turkey pie with stuffing for the bottom crust, the filling is turkey, peas, carrots, onions and gravy with herbs, and the topping is whipped mashed potatoes. Homemade cranberry sauce on the side.

The filling was all fully cooked except for the peas. If I were to do it again, I would roast the carrots and onions off in thin slices and do a layer of that on the bottom of the pie, but at the time I mixed everything together. I roasted a turkey breast with lots of fresh herbs and paprika - there was plenty left over. I also got my hands on a turkey neck, so that got roasted too. I put the neck and the bones from the breast to boil and make stock for gravy and moistening the stuffing. Meat got chopped up and mixed with frozen peas and the other sauteed veg. Variations could involve mushrooms or green beans but I felt like carrots and peas would be prettiest.

I make my stuffing with bread, so I'm not sure what you would need to do to replace it. Maybe a cornbread stuffing? But I do the usual bread chunks with turkey/chicken stock, sauteed aromatics and butter. The key is that I smushed it up and let it soak and then pulsed it in the food processor so it got more pliable, then placed it in the bottom of a pie dish and used another pie dish on top of that to gently press it all down and form the shape of a pie crust. I suppose you could just do a basic savory pie crust recipe, or maybe work some herbs into one.

Anyway I sort of blind baked the stuffing crust by baking it half of the time with the second pie plate on top and the other half like normal. Meanwhile I boiled potatoes, made the remaining stock into gravy and started cooking down my cranberries. I cooked the gravy down more than I would usually, and made it with a more robust roux than I would normally bother with. Mixed just enough gravy into my filling to combine it all but not make it soupy. For some reason in my family turkey gravy always has milk in it so I added a bit of cream at this point, and also some remaining fresh herbs. That goes into the prebaked stuffing crust.

Potatoes got mashed, lots of butter and some cream. I used a beater to whip them, I'm not a big fan of lumps, and then dolloped it onto the top of the pie. Then I did some spoon sculpting. You could go wild and use a piping bag but I liked the look of the potatoes smoothed around with the back of the spoon. Baked that at I think 325 until the potatoes started to get a lovely crust.

Meanwhile, finished my cranberry sauce, I usually add some orange juice and zest and honey. Oh, and got out the pumpkin pie I'd baked the day before.

Honestly it was so good, I would make it again in a heartbeat if it weren't a thousand years of cooking for the result. I loved it, it was shockingly structurally sound, it didn't remind me of a sheppard's pie much at all, and the whole thing impressed the hell out of the one friend I had over.
posted by Mizu at 4:38 AM on November 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

Ths is SO not my thing, but my sister-in-law makes a meat stuffing that has no bread and doesn't look super hard to make.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 6:16 AM on November 20, 2018

I'm having trouble jiving "fussy" with "low prep," but you could do something like a turkey porchetta or roulade- butterfly the turkey breast, add some filling, roll and tie, and then roast. If you prefer dark meat, you can confit it and then do any number of things with the meat.

Does "no bread in stuffing" mean regular yeasted bread? What about cornbread? Or hell, just make turkey tamales.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:22 AM on November 20, 2018

Backseatpilot: I think the OP means that they don't want recipes that require prep work prior to Thanksgiving Day. They want fussy and distracting recipes that can all be done on the day itself. But that's just my guess...
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 7:15 AM on November 20, 2018

Behold, Serious Eats Thanksgiving for Two!
posted by Perplexity at 8:29 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes I’m totally fine with chopping forever but not stuff that’s “let sit in fridge for three days”
posted by The Whelk at 8:34 AM on November 20, 2018

Epicurious also has a Thanksgiving for Two meal plan that looks pretty nice.
posted by saladin at 9:18 AM on November 20, 2018

This is a Cajun rice dressing I've made before. I halfed it and just used the pork and left out the liver paste. Pretty yummy!
posted by BlueBear at 10:12 AM on November 20, 2018

Rather than a turkey breast, which in the best of cases still has to be cooked to a very precise temperature in order to hit the magic window between "cooked" and "overcooked," why not do braised turkey legs? These are delicious, have a huge margin for error and can even be done a day ahead of time and reheated. A nice crisp salad, some roasted potatoes and perhaps some sauteed Brussels sprouts and you've got a pretty good dinner going.
posted by slkinsey at 11:01 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

~24 oz cranberries, one medium orange (peel and all), one cup sugar. Food process to relish consistency.

I would actually amend this to "taste first and add the amount of sugar you think it needs". It most likely won't need the full cup.

How about a cassoulet? That's a beans-with-different-meats casserole/stew kind of thing that takes a bit of fussing over, but still hearty and nourishing. (There's a ton of different recipes for a cassoulet, so you could probably mix-and-match.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:02 AM on November 20, 2018

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