Phoning it in?

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

phrogpilot73

Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 22, 2018
56
53
Virginia Beach, VA
Is there anything related to your Thanksgiving dinner that you just phone it in? In my case, it's the gravy and the stuffing. Gravy because I'm the only one that does the cooking for the whole meal (much to my wife's chagrin, but I hate cleaning/setting the table and entertaining guests as I'm trying to hit a time for dinner) and I just run out of time/space on the cook top. Stuffing because my wife refuses to eat any other stuffing than Stovetop. Seriously. If she was awake right now, she'd say "don't tase me, bro."

With that in mind, any tips on ways to slightly elevate/recommendations for products for things when you just phone it in?
 

phrogpilot73

Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Dec 22, 2018
56
53
Virginia Beach, VA
You can use chicken stock/broth instead of water for the Stovetop Stuffing.. it also calls for butter, which you can use a compound butter to add additional layers of flavor. Some of that same butter could be added to the gravy to tie things together.

I already use chicken stock instead of water, but I've never thought of using compound butter. I do have some black garlic compound butter in the fridge already (my go-to for a steak topping), and I think the sweetness of that might be a nice complement to the salty-ness of the stock.
 

phrogpilot73

Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Dec 22, 2018
56
53
Virginia Beach, VA
Well, tweakin yams and cranberry sauce are usually fairly easy. I tend to phone in a lot as I usually work holidays.
If I phoned in the sweet potatoes - my wife might stab me! My sweet potato casserole is like crack cocaine to her...

I used to never do cranberry sauce, until my in-laws moved to our city from Texas, and her Dad likes it. I didn't really enjoy the stuff out of a can the first year, so ended up trying the Serious Eats recipe from Kenji Lopez-Alt. That one is so easy, I don't phone it in!
 
  • Love
Reactions: negolien

zwiller

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Nov 16, 2016
3,476
2,078
Sandusky, OH
You can use chicken stock/broth
+1. Low sodium chicken stock (especially homemade) is magic and adds "love" or scratch made flavor to anything it touches. Probably the best hack there is. Butter also works but be careful with compounds as most store stuff is already loaded with salt.

I'd hit the the gravy with some fresh ground white pepper. I like orange zest and chili powder on yams. Maybe some nutmeg too.

FYI my MIL ran Yacht Club and Elks Club kitchens and stellar cook. Blew my mind talking shop with her. Very little scratch made in commercial kitchens. It's all about tweaks like stock and spices.
 

phrogpilot73

Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Dec 22, 2018
56
53
Virginia Beach, VA
+1. Low sodium chicken stock (especially homemade) is magic and adds "love" or scratch made flavor to anything it touches. Probably the best hack there is. Butter also works but be careful with compounds as most store stuff is already loaded with salt.

I'd hit the the gravy with some fresh ground white pepper. I like orange zest and chili powder on yams. Maybe some nutmeg too.

FYI my MIL ran Yacht Club and Elks Club kitchens and stellar cook. Blew my mind talking shop with her. Very little scratch made in commercial kitchens. It's all about tweaks like stock and spices.
I make my own compound butter, and always use unsalted butter. I don't want a company controlling my seasoning profile! :)

As for yams/sweet potatoes, this is my recipe that my wife loves (I don't mash, but use a food processor to make them very smooth and creamy):

Ingredients​


5 sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions​


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. Bake sweet potatoes 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until they begin to soften. Cool slightly, peel, and mash.
3. In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, salt, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and heavy cream. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
4. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup butter, flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Mix with a pastry blender or your fingers to the consistency of course meal. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
5. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until topping is crisp and lightly browned.
 

cutplug

Meat Mopper
Dec 31, 2020
151
89
Great Northwest
Giblets man, don't forget the giblets. Simmer them til done (20 minutes) and then pull the liver and chop finely. Add to the stuffing. Use the simmer liquid for the stuffing.
My wife always turns up her nose about it so I don't (that is what she thinks) and she always says she is so glad I didn't (but I did!) use them in the stuffing.
Gobble Gobble!
 

uncle eddie

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
May 14, 2016
2,095
1,508
Boone County, MO
I use giblet broth in my stuffing...and also for my gravy. Use the neck, giblets and whatever you trim off the bird, skin even. Simmer a good long while. Taste the broth, season to suit. Add some turkey drippings to the giblet broth for some extra flavor.

I will use the gravy pack that came with the bird or use a poultry gravy pack to start the gravy (for color) and use corn starch to get the consistency right.
 

gmc2003

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 15, 2012
13,799
9,106
We use stove top more then I care to admit, but I'll up the anti with chicken broth instead of water, and add in a few quartered slices of a smoked naked sausage fatty.

Chris
 

phrogpilot73

Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Dec 22, 2018
56
53
Virginia Beach, VA
I don't think I could get by sneaking the giblets in to the stuffing... No matter how much I tried to hide it, my wife wouldn't like the mineral taste. That being said, the black garlic compound butter and chicken stock (actually the Ocean Halo No Chicken broth that I've come to love - very umami) fit the bill.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kilo charlie

SecondHandSmoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Jun 30, 2018
3,630
2,417
SE Arizona
Mea culpa.
Boxed stuffing, jarred gravy, etc these days since being on my feet in the kitchen all day just ain't gonna happen anymore.
 

phrogpilot73

Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Dec 22, 2018
56
53
Virginia Beach, VA
Mea culpa.
Boxed stuffing, jarred gravy, etc these days since being on my feet in the kitchen all day just ain't gonna happen anymore.
I wasn't looking forward to being crazy busy/on my feet all day this year. I par cooked all the sides Tues & Wed. Then just threw stuff in the oven/on the smoker. 30-45 minutes of standing in the kitchen to plate/carve/simmer. That's about it.

In case anyone is wondering, the mushroom gravy at Whole Foods (in with their prepared soups) is pretty good. My wife wants it every year now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: uncle eddie