Social Hall Cookbook: Southern Egg Gravy

So we’ve got the turkey recipe covered here. Now it’s on to the gravy. Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve always believed gravy needs to be perfectly smooth to be good. If you have lumps, you’ve done it wrong. And you certainly are not throwing eggs in there. Who in the world puts eggs in their gravy?? Well apparently, the whole Southern half of our country does, and it is AMAZING. For any of my Yankee friends who are reading, let Claire and I introduce you to the last gravy recipe you will ever need for Thanksgiving.

Southern Egg Gravy

Southern Egg Gravy

Ingredients:

  1. All of your turkey drippings
  2. 4 tablespoons flour
  3. 2 – 3 tablespoons minced shallots (you could also use a yellow or white onion)
  4. Chicken stock
  5. 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  6. Salt & pepper

Equipment:

  • Large pot
  • Large measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Tablespoon

Steps

  • Skim 4 tablespoons of fat from the turkey drippings and add to the pot over medium-high heat
  • Add your minced shallots/onion and sauté until they turn translucent
  • Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture turns a medium brown color, only a few minutes
  • While that’s cooking, pour the rest of the turkey drippings into the measuring cup, and then add enough chicken stock until you get to 4 cups total
  • Slowly whisk in the drippings/stock mixture – it’s important to keep whisking and add the liquid slowly. This prevents the flour mixture from clumping.
  • Bring to a boil while still whisking
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how thick you want your gravy (longer time = thicker gravy)
  • Once it’s reached your desired consistency, stir in the eggs, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve it up!

This will give you enough gravy for 8 to 10 people. You can always double it if you have a larger crowd.

So we’ve got our bird and gravy covered, which leaves us with side dishes. And maybe a festive cocktail recipe. Or two :)

Social Hall Cookbook: Easy 5 Ingredient Turkey (promise!)

Turkey. I don’t know if there’s a more notorious food than this bird. Frozen birds, burnt birds, burnt husbands who tried to deep fry the bird. The turkey has a bad rep. However, when done correctly, turkey can be juicy, delicious, and EASY. We get turkeys at work every year as a little Thanksgiving gift, so I decided to cook one up 2 years ago and have a Thanksgiving dinner with friends before the actual holiday. Having never cooked a whole bird before, I scoured the internet for techniques and recipes. Thankfully, Food Network was showing a Thanksgiving special, and Claire Robinson was demonstrating a “foolproof” method of cooking a classic, juicy turkey. It looked perfect, so I took notes and decided that her recipe was going to be my plan of attack. It didn’t hurt that she only used FIVE ingredients.

So I gathered everything up the morning of the party and got to prepping. Claire wasn’t kidding when she said it was simple. Prep took about 15 minutes. I baked it off for about 3 and a half hours. When I pulled that bird out, oh my heavens, it was PERFECT. I was thoroughly impressed with myself. And with Claire. It was so easy. Way easier than I ever thought possible. If you want a classic, delicious, and simple turkey, follow this recipe and you’ll be golden!

Turkey

Easy 5 Ingredient Turkey

Ingredients:

  1. 1 turkey (I used a 16 pounder, but you can adjust the ingredients and cook time up or down for a bigger or smaller bird)
  2. 2 big onions, cut into quarters (I used Vidalias)
  3. 2 lemons, cut in half
  4. 4 sprigs of rosemary (get the little plastic pack in the refrigerated veggie case – you can use the extras as garnish or cut them up and use them as part of your place settings)
  5. 1 stick butter (get the real stuff – Thanksgiving is not the time to skimp on calories)

You’ll also need salt and pepper and 4 cups of water. But I figure you probably have those on hand :)

Equipment:

  • Roasting rack and pan
  • Meat thermometer

 

Prep:

  • Preheat your over to 325 degrees.
  • Remove the giblets from the inside of the turkey, rinse the bird, and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Salt the inside of the turkey cavity.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemons inside of the cavity.
  • Stuff the turkey cavity with the squeezed lemons, rosemary springs, and 2 of the onion quarters.
  • Place your turkey on the roasting rack inside of the roasting pan.
  • Add the giblets, the remaining onion quarters, and 4 cups of water into the bottom of the roasting pan. Do not pour the water over the turkey.
  • Generously sprinkle the skin of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  • Rub the stick of butter all over the skin of the turkey. Really massage it on there. This will ensure juicy meat and a brown, crispy skin.

Roasting:

  • Put the turkey in the oven and roast for about 3 – 4 hours, depending on the size of your bird.
  • You’ll want to baste the skin of the bird every half hour. I just used a big serving spoon to scoop the juices from the bottom of the pan, but you could use a turkey baster too. If the skin is getting too brown for your liking, just cover the pan with foil.
  • In order to be sure the bird is done, you want the breast meat to be at 170 degrees. So when you think it’s getting close (around the minimum suggested cooking time), pull it out, stick the thermometer into the chubbiest part of the breast and get a good reading. If it’s not 170, put it back in for another 15 minutes and repeat that process.
  • Once the meat is up to temperature, remove the turkey from the pan and set on a cutting board to rest for about 20 minutes. I made a loose, foil tent over it just to keep the heat in a little better. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, so every bite is juicy and delicious. This step is VERY important. Otherwise, you’ll cut into the bird and all of the juices that settled to the bottom will just end up on your cutting board, and you’ll have drier meat.
  • Finally, carve that turkey and serve it up on a platter. You can garnish with the extra rosemary sprigs, and you could add a couple of lemons to the platter for a little color.

 

This recipe may not be the fanciest or the ‘chef-iest’, but it is truly foolproof, and you’ll end up with a delicious, juicy turkey that everyone will love. I tried to break it all down the best I could, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll be glad to help you out.

Later this week I’ll have a gravy recipe to die for, and also some great side dish and dessert ideas. All of the recipes work well together and can be spaced out so your day is easily manageable. The goal is a simple, foolproof, yet absolutely delicious feast that everyone will be raving over. You can do this!

 

Let’s Party!: Easy DIY Thanksgiving Decor

The holidays are in full swing, and as much as I’m already in Christmas mode (it’s hard not to be with the onslaught of ads and store displays), Thanksgiving comes first. And I LOVE Thanksgiving. I crave turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and sitting , completely over-stuffed, on the couch with my dad watching football. I love the tradition. I love the simplicity of good food and good company. In that spirit, here are some simple tablescapes and décor ideas if you happen to be the lucky hostess this year.

Grab some leaves from the backyard, hit them with gold spray paint, and use a Sharpie to write your guests’ names for super easy, but super glam, place cards.

Thanksgiving Decor 1

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Get a roll of craft paper at the dollar store, cut sheets to use as placemats, and make a list for everyone to share what they’re thankful this year.

Thanksgiving Decor 6

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Get a roll of fall-colored ribbon in the dollar bin at Michael’s, and do a simple knot to pretty up your silverware.

Thanksgiving Decor 2

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Mix and match your tableware, maybe even grab some fall-toned pieces from thrift shops, layer them up, and add a tiny gourd on top.

Thanksgiving Decor 5

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Use gold leaf or any spray paint to pretty up some small gourds. Just use painters tape to tape off the area you want to spray.

Thanksgiving Decor 3

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Pull together all of your big vases and jars, put cheap white candles (use unscented – you don’t want the scents to compete with the glorious smells of your food), and surround them with nuts or grains.

Thanksgiving Decor 4

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If you are the hostess this year, don’t stress! Your loved ones do not care if your house isn’t perfectly spotless. They’re there for the quality time with family and the food! I’ll have my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for you over the next couple weeks. I promise they are easy and fail-safe. And so so DELISH.

Have a great weekend!

Closet Thoughts: Leather Pants Should Be a Staple

I am an accountant and an extreme introvert.

But, I own a pair of leather pants.

Well, they’re fake leather, but all the same. I have never worn an article of clothing, other than my wedding gown, that gives me more confidence and makes me feel more like an all-around badass than these things. I got my pair on clearance at Target last year for 11 bucks. ELEVEN DOLLARS. Favorite item in my closet by a mile. I don’t see them on Target’s website this year, but they’re so popular now that you should be able to find an affordable pair of your own anywhere. The best part about them is that they go with everything….dressed down with a chunky sweater and ankle boots, dressed up with a printed blouse, sassy heels, and a statement necklace, or all out biker-chic with a long t-shirt, leather jacket, and studded boots.

And you feel like the hottest chick walking around town. Swear. Treat yo’self and go get a pair. And rock the hell out of them.