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Thanksgiving 2014 - Open Thread

Turkey talk and stuffing too, commentary about the football games, parade floats, and stories about crazy family members, even if that is you!

"Christmas Vacation", 1989, Warner Bros.
"Christmas Vacation", 1989, Warner Bros.

Clark: So, when did you get the tenement on wheels?
Eddie: Oh, that uh, that there's an RV. Yeah, yeah, I borrowed it off a buddy of mine. He took my house, I took the RV. It's a good looking vehicle, ain't it?
Clark: Yeah, it looks so nice parked in the driveway.
[Raises glass to his mouth]
Eddie: Yeah, it sure does. But, don't you go falling in love with it now, because, we're taking it with us when we leave here next month.
[Clark nearly chokes on his drink]

Ahh...the holidays.  That special time of year of overeating, family overstaying their welcome, and stories of lore from seasons past.

This is your place for all things Thanksgiving.  Share recipes, who you bet to win against your uncle Tommy, and the final score and injury report from the family football game.  Bonus points if played in snow.

Three NFL games on the docket.  Early game is the Chicago Bears at the Detroit Lions.  I grew up as a Lions fan (prior to being a Vikings Fan) due to Barry Sanders.  I followed him in college, and then on to the NFL.  A true tragedy that he was stuck in Detroit's mediocrity for his whole career, and then ended his playing days in such a disappointing fashion.  These Lions are only slightly better than the Sanders era, but I'll take them over the Bears today.  Lions 31 Bears 24.

Second game is matchup of 8-3 teams with Kevin Nesgoda's beloved Philadelphia Eagles visiting Jerry-World to play the Dallas Cowboys.  Hopefully Kevin has his shrine to Mark Sanchez (The Sanchize!) up and running because this game looks to be a shootout with 65+ points to be scored I suspect.  Despite being -3 dogs, I'm picking Philly to win this one, regardless of how annoying that will make Kevin afterwards.  38-31 Philly is my pick, and it may well come down to who has the ball last to score last in this one.

The third game nobody really cares about right?

Some meaningless matchup of 7-4 teams that really like each other recently.  Bosom Buddies.  Would be interesting to see Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick in a remake of that TV show...

Very difficult to predict how this game is going to go.  Points will be at a premium, and I expect a LOT of talking smack.  The last 5 games the Seattle Seahawks defense has been back to it's superb levels we came to expect from last year.  Pair that with the San Francisco 49ers having a bunch of key injuries on their defense, and I am going to go with Seattle in a grind it out game with a Marshawn Lynch touchdown rumble late in the game to close the deal.  24-17 Seahawks in a nail biter.

And finally, if football isn't your thing, and you've run out of great stories to tell us about Aunt Mable, you could try a few of the following recipes.

Apple Brandy Toddy

In a medium sauce pan combine 3 cups of Apple Cider, 2 Cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves, juice of 1/2 orange and other 1/2 of orange sliced into 4-6 sections.  Bring to simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Strain into a pouring container (a Thermos works really well here).  Add in quality Brandy at a rate of 1.5oz (a shot) per 6oz of Cider base as you serve it.  If you want to kick it up a notch, find a bottle of Tuaca instead of the Brandy and go 2oz per 6oz of Cider.  And for more flavor you can add Gran Marnier to the Cider mix while it cooks if you're not driving home.

Leftover Turkey Gumbo (a variant from Chris Shepherd's recipe)

Makes 8-10 servings, takes an hour to make.


4 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
24 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into thin rounds
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups chicken/turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce - Louisiana Hot Sauce mind you...
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt, as needed to taste (1-3 teaspoons likely depending on your broth/stock base and sausage)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, as needed
6 cups pulled cooked turkey meat or rotisserie chicken, skin removed

In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper. Process until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the canola oil with the olive oil and whisk to combine. Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan or Dutch oven (ideal), add the flour, and place over moderate heat. Cook the mixture, stirring slowly and constantly, until the roux is dark brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the puréed vegetables, and stir to combine. Cover and reserve.

In a heavy large pot over moderate heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup canola oil. Add the andouille sausage and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the red bell pepper, along with the remaining green bell pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just soft and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining celery and onions, along with the garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 8 cups of chicken stock, along with the thyme, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and the reserved roux, whisking as needed to dissolve the roux in the liquid.

Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce the heat to low, season the gumbo with salt and pepper, and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 15 minutes. (The gumbo should have the consistency of chowder. If it thickens too much as it simmers, add additional stock; if it's too thin, in a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and 3 tablespoons canola oil and gradually add this mixture to the gumbo, simmering the mixture for a few minutes between additions, until the desired consistency is reached.) Add the turkey meat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.  I personally like mine served over rice, and I cook rice to order depending on servings needed for that meal.  About 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked rice per serving.

The gumbo can be prepared ahead and kept, covered in the refrigerator, up to 3 days, or frozen, in an airtight container, up to 3 months. To reheat: Warm the gumbo in a heavy pot over moderate heat, adding additional chicken/turkey stock as needed to adjust the consistency.