Rethink your feast
Nothing speaks to the heart of Thanksgiving like dining at a historic inn. It’s just like eating at home, but without all the hard work and dirty dishes.—Tami Keaveny
Tired of the turkey trot? Let a local option entice you away from the oven this Thanksgiving.
The Boars Head’s varied menu practically guarantees family harmony. Offerings include lobster bisque, foie gras mousse, roasted turkey and bourbon-glazed ham. Pace yourself and end with the cranberry white chocolate bread pudding.
At Clifton Inn, the classic roast turkey breast goes gourmet with a confited leg, and the house- made tofu with fennel quinoa transcends the typical vegetarian option. Best may well be last when it’s poached apples with salted-caramel brown butter ice cream and rosemary sablée.
Keswick Hall features heritage turkey three ways or more alternative choices like potato-crusted trout or cornbread, cranberry-stuffed quail. At the buffet, get your fill of local meats from the carving station and indulgent sides like bacon, potato and onion fondue.
At The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, opt for the traditional (stuffed turkey breast, sweet potato casserole and baby Brussels) or the inventive (pumpkin seed-crusted swordfish). Their pumpkin-jalapeño pie’s bound to arouse anyone from a tryptophan-induced stupor.
If triple-bird’s your game, reserve your seat at Silver Thatch Inn for Turducken—stuffed boneless turkey, filled with stuffed boneless duck, filled with stuffed boneless chicken served with sweet potato au gratin, green beans almondine, baby carrots and creamed turnips.
When you’re elbow-deep in a cold turkey cavity, takeout sounds pretty darn good for rounding out the rest of your holiday spread. These places will set you up with all the fixings faster than your bird can hit the carving table.
With true Southern style, Anderson Carriage Food House offers sides like broccoli, green beans, sweet potato casserole, mixed green salad, mashed potatoes and stewed tomatoes for $4.99 per pound. They’ll also sell a Thanksgiving meal (minus the bird) —dressing, cranberry relish, gravy, rolls, plus your choice of two of those tasty sides —for 12-14 hungry mouths for $89.99. Sides are packaged for convenient reheating—or get ’em hot on turkey day for an additional $20. A shrimp or crab cheese ball makes for a good stomach stretcher and a pumpkin roll will sweeten the deal. You can even order online at andersoncarriagefoodhouse.com.
Or, let Hotcakes dish up twists on the standbys—horseradish whipped potatoes, green bean casserole with mushroom béchamel, or roasted tomato, tarragon and sweet onion chutney—for $5.99 to $11.99 per pound. Folks will loosen their belts enough for pumpkin and pecan pies, or try the frosted Maple Apple Cake. Drool over the full menu at hotcakes.biz.—Meredith Barnes
My gravy lumps
The butt of jokes the nation over, lumpy gravy can ruin an otherwise lovely meal. Here’s a 101 on how to make your gravy as silky smooth as you are.
While your turkey is resting, pour the juices left in the roasting pan into a fat separator. Place the pan over medium-high heat and add 1 cup of good quality chicken or turkey stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan until the liquid comes to a boil. In a lidded jar, combine 2 cups of stock and 1 tbs. of Wondra flour. Shake until well combined and pour into the roasting pan. Stir to combine and then return to a boil. Cook until the gravy is reduced and thickened. Add the defatted pan juices and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, strain and keep warm until ready to serve.—Megan Headley
Step away from the turkey, ma’am
Fifty home cook and turkey experts staff Butterball’s free helpline from 6am to 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Call 800-BUTTERBALL and save your bird from the brink of disaster.