This is Mary's first Thanksiving in Seattle. Before she moved here, she wrote a regular column for the Port Townsend Leader. They published this in 2007.
I like browsing through the library’s magazine articles about Thanksgiving dinners, complete with elaborate recipes and hotline numbers. Then I just make my usual stuffing and put all the vegetables in alongside the turkey to roast. Honestly, the only thing difficult about Thanksgiving dinner -- other than patience -- is cleanup. You need the recipes after, for the leftovers.
During our marriage, my ex and I often entertained on Thanksgiving, but sometimes we shared the feast at someone else’s house. In which case, we still had to make a feast of our own, just for the leftovers. One year on the road in Georgia, we decided it was crazy to make a Thanksgiving dinner in an RV, so we went out to a buffet at a hotel restaurant banquet room where we shared the table with strangers. The dinner was tasty; we wanted more. Next day we bought the smallest turkey we could find, plus sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts to roast, and a take-and-bake pecan pie. As I recall, we had to de-bone the turkey to get it into the little RV oven.
Now single, I still roast a turkey. I like the packages of turkey and soup stock in my freezer, ready for the long, cold winter. I roast extra squash and yams too. And I always make fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish. You need 12 ounces fresh cranberries with one thin-skinned, unpeeled, seeded orange, cut into eight pieces; just chop it all up in your food processor in two batches for nice even results. (In Mom’s kitchen, we used a food grinder.) Then add sugar to taste, about 1/2 cup. It’s delicious on cold turkey sandwiches with lettuce and mayonnaise, and alongside hot ones with leftover gravy.
Out of my recipe file box comes the recipe my ex copied down over the phone from friends who had made it for us. I suppose it’s meant to be Sopa de Pavo Picante, since “turkey” in Spanish is “pavo.” But like Jon, I always call it Sopa Pouto Picante, as it appears in his handwriting.
The first thing I do is push the turkey bones and skin scraps and other miscellaneous leavings into the pressure cooker for soup stock. Then cook a cup of barley in two quarts of turkey broth with one or two dried red peppers. After an hour, add 3 or 4 sliced carrots, 2 chopped bell peppers, a large can of chopped tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce, marjoram, paprika, and salt to taste. When everything is tender, add chopped or shredded leftover turkey and fresh chopped parsley.
Turkey Mole Enchilada Casserole
I used to make my mole sauce from scratch, until I found the Dona Maria Mole at Safeway. I use about twice as much broth as they call for; be careful to add it slowly, stirring away, or you’ll get lumps you can’t stir out. Then just add a bunch of leftover turkey. My favorite thing to do with turkey mole is an enchilada casserole. In a round baking dish -- I use my souffle dish -- put enough salsa to just cover the bottom of the dish. Then lay on a flour tortilla, then a layer of your leftover mashed roasted yams or winter squash, and then a layer of turkey mole; repeat until it’s enough. I add some chopped pimento olives too. For the top, put on a final tortilla and cover it with good tomato salsa -- I like Safeway’s Chipotle -- and grated cheddar. Bake it up until bubbly and serve with sour cream and a green salad.
A simpler, and equally delicious plan, nice for us singles, is to fill half a roasted Delicata squash with the mole, and top it with salsa and sour cream. As I say, be sure to roast extra squash.
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