There are a number of things that can go wrong at Thanksgiving. Whether you left the giblets in the bird or made runny mashed potatoes, your Thanksgiving feast doesn’t have to be a disaster. Even first time cooks can fix some of the worst mistakes. All it takes is a bit of steady breathing and a quick remedy. The following tips will help fix some of the most common Thanksgiving mistakes.
#1: Frozen Turkey
It’s the morning of Thanksgiving and the guests will be arriving later in the evening. There’s only one problem. The turkey is still frozen. With all the work that comes with Thanksgiving, it can be easy to forget to thaw the turkey. Thankfully, thawing a turkey in cold water is quick. A turkey takes 20-30 minutes per pound to thaw in cold water. You just need to remember to change the water to keep it cold so that bacteria doesn’t set in.
#2: Forgotten Giblets
Even cooks that have been making Thanksgiving dinner for decades can sometimes forget to take the giblets out of the turkey. As long as the giblets weren’t in a plastic bag, there’s no harm done. In fact, this can work out to your advantage. Chop the cooked giblets into small pieces and use the pan drippings to make giblet gravy. Just make sure that the giblets have come to the proper temperature.
#3: Dry Turkey
This is another mistake that even seasoned cooks make. You’re rushing around and the timer goes off, but you decide to finish a couple more things before pulling the turkey out. Next thing you know, your Thanksgiving turkey is dried out. There are a number of different ways to remedy a dry turkey, but one of the best remedies is to slice the turkey, cover the slices in chicken stock, place aluminum foil over the dish and place it back in the oven. The chicken stock will steam the slices of turkey, making them juicy again.
#4: Runny Mashed Potatoes
We have this mindset that more is more at the holidays. Therefore we add more butter and more cream to our mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, this can often lead to runny mashed potatoes. Again, this is a mistake that has many remedies. If the mashed potatoes aren’t too runny, you can place them back on the stove or pop them in the oven to evaporate some of the excess moisture. You can also add binding ingredients, such as grated Parmesan cheese to thicken the potatoes.
#5: Dishes Getting Done Early
It can be a struggle to get dishes in a normal weeknight dinner done at the same time, let alone on Thanksgiving. This usually means that something is going to get served cold, but it doesn’t have to. There are a number of ways to keep dishes warm while the others finish cooking. Slow cookers are a great way to keep mashed potatoes and other side dishes warm (they even work great for serving the dishes as well). Another tip is the use of aluminum foil to lock in the heat. Aluminum foil can be added to the tops of casserole dishes and other containers. It’s also a great way to keep your turkey warm. Slice the turkey from the bone and place the slices on your serving platter and cover with aluminum foil until ready to serve. The turkey will stay hot without overcooking.