Thanksgiving Q&A Part 2

In Q&A, Tips and Advice by Robert Irvine

It’s that time of year again! And once again I went to facebook and twitter to ask for YOUR questions about Thanksgiving. A lot of the big questions were addressed in last year’s Thanksgiving article, so click here if you want to get up to speed with everything I’ve already answered. A ton of Turkey topics were discussed in the first one. You can also find my article about general Thanksgiving tips and tricks by clicking here.

Please keep the conversation going by adding your own thoughts in the comment section below!!

Question #1: 
I can never get the gravy right… HELP!!!
Answer:
Gravy can be tricky but here’s a couple of hints to help:

  • Brown your giblets and necks in a little butter before making your broth.
  • Use chicken stock as the base of your broth.
  • Deglaze your drippings pan with a little bit of white wine, or broth, and make sure you scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Allow to rest and then skim the oil off the top of the drippings to make your roux.
  • Brown your roux to a nice nutty caramel color, and remove all clumps, before adding broth.
  • Always add hot broth to hot roux. This will avoid any clumping or breaking.

Question #2:
How much alcohol should I buy for my Thanksgiving dinner?
Answer:
This really all depends on your guests and how much you foresee them consuming, but here are some general rules. I like to start with a pre-made pre-dinner cocktail (click here for my Whiskey-Cranberry Slushie recipe), and I normally only estimate 1 per person. You can typically get 15 servings out of a 750 ml bottle of liquor, so you do the math! Always adjust slightly for the one or two guests who tends to over-indulge (you know who you are Uncle ______ )! If Champagne is your preferred pre-dinner libation, plan for about 5-6 servings per standard-size bottle. With wine the usual estimate is a half of a bottle per guest (unless Uncle ______ is feeling frisky). I feel that you can go 1/2 and 1/2 red to white, but always try to gauge the preference of your guests to see if you need to lean heavier to one or the other. Pinot Noir is always a great multipurpose red wine that can balance a heavy meal. Your best bet for a crowd-pleasing white is a Chardonnay. Dry Rieslings work well too!

Question #3:
Any way to do some lighter fare for Thanksgiving and avoid the post-dinner bloat?
Answer:
My personal feeling is that there is no better “cheat day” in the entire year than Thanksgiving. That being said, I understand your not wanting to suffer through the food coma and discomfort that often follows a gluttonous and gravy-laden meal. Did you know that most Americans consume almost 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day!? That’s GOT TO hurt! Simple ways to avoid this over-indulgence is to substitute some lighter ingredients in some of your dishes and hold back on the butter and fat. I created recipes for an entire “healthy-er” Thanksgiving meal for Gold’s Gym last year (click here for the recipes) without omitting any favorite dishes and just making a few lower-fat and lower-calorie adjustments.

Lastly, don’t forget to get a little exercise in the midst of all the feasting! You may not feel like it with a gut full of Turkey but you’ll feel so much better with just a short walk in the autumn air, or a quick pickup game of touch football with your guests and family. Plus, it helps make room for dessert!!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

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