Thanksgiving in New Orleans

Happy Thanksgiving! Will this be your first Turkey Day in New Orleans? You are in for a treat. Here are some options from our Instagram friends and other people we’ve asked.

• Grab your friends and cook a meal for Friendsgiving. Here are our foolproof recipes for a Southern Thanksgiving, including cornbread dressing.

• Head to a restaurant. These 5 places are cooking a classic spread. Don’t want turkey? All of these other restaurants are open.

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How to make a Southern Thanksgiving meal

We’ve been doing some of our favorite activities this week – cooking, eating and enjoying time with friends and family. And of course, Southern food makes everything better.

Our resident cook, Patsy R. Brumfield, has been sharing her go-to Thanksgiving dishes the past few weeks. They are:

Roasted turkey (how to brine and roast one)

Cornbread dressing

Turkey giblet gravy

‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole

Sour cream pound cake
Homemade mayo
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How to brine a turkey for a Thanksgiving feast

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

A few years ago, I watched food guru Alton Brown propound the virtues of brining a turkey. He explained that the salt water brine changes the turkey’s cellular structure so that it holds more moisture, while seasoning the meat.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Boy, was he right! This has been my favorite way to roast a turkey ever since, and I’ve got a least one friend who insists it saved his family holiday meal. Amen, brother.

Of course, this recipe and approach can be used with other meats, especially chicken. For example, if you’d like to roast a whole, fresh chicken, half the recipe below.

You also should change your perspective on how long to cook the bird. Buy yourself a meat thermometer and cook by the internal temps, not how long it’s been cooking. You’ll be amazed at how much more flavorful the meat will be.

Header image is from christmasstockimages.com and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license.

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How to make turkey giblet gravy like a real Southerner

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Gravy sometimes is overlooked during the cooking process but it is the unsung hero of holiday meals. You do it right and no one thinks about it. You do it wrong and everyone is disappointed. This smooth giblet gravy makes everything better, from the turkey to the cornbread dressing (recipe) to the mashed potatoes.

This is a recipe that was passed down from my wonderful mother, Betty. Hope you enjoy. And make sure to check out my other Thanksgiving recipes.

Header image via Angie’s Southern Kitchen and used in accordance with the Creative Common license agreement.

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How to make cornbread dressing like a real Southerner

Thanksgiving turkey isn’t complete without moist, yummy cornbread dressing. It’s taken me years to get this one right, so I’ll share my experience with you.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

First, my wonderful mother, Betty – who adored Thanksgiving and cooked for weeks in anticipation of hosting a crowd that day – died on Halloween 1999 and left me, the eldest child, to make our first holiday meal without her. I had no idea what to do. Thank goodness she left recipes, although some have taken years to get just right. (You know how cooks are about secrets.)

This is her cornbread dressing, which I like topped with a splash of smooth turkey giblet gravy (recipe). It’s also fabulous to slice thinly onto leftover turkey sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise (recipe) and a sliver of cranberry sauce (easy recipe). Goodness, my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Header image via Angie’s Southern Kitchen and used in accordance with the Creative Common license agreement.

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Sweet potatoes

How to make ‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole like a true Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Some years ago, Mississippi’s Jill Conner Browne wrote a series of hilarious books based on her “Sweet Potato Queen” stories and philosophies of Southern culture. Fortunately, she also offered a recipe for said-named casserole, which I’ve expropriated and adapted through the years because my daughter likes it so much.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

It’s now a staple of our Thanksgiving feast and equally delicious leftovers. That’s why I usually make two casseroles – one for the midday meal and another for later.

You will love it, and it couldn’t be much easier. It’s a nice, fluffy, modern “company” side dish that I think is far superior to grandma’s marshmallow-topped version. You will appreciate it even more, if you read Jill’s books.

Header image via louisianasweetpotatoes.wordpress.com and used in accordance with the Creative Commons user agreement.

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We’re planning our Thanksgiving menu. Are you?

Holiday alert! The Southfacin’ Cook will begin soon with some fabulous ideas and tips for your holiday table. This week, please go out and buy your sweet potatoes in anticipation of my “Sweet Potato Queens Casserole” recipe.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Sweet potatoes need to chill in the refrigerator a couple of weeks before you cook them so they increase in sugar content. I’ve already got mine there.

As for how many to buy, figure one large tater for every two servings. I mean “large,” too. I look for potatoes about the same size so that they will bake across the same time. Baking is the best way to go because it also maximizes the sugar content.

Watch for my cooking lesson and recipe in a couple of weeks. We’ll cover the sweet potato casserole, the turkey, gravy, cornbread dressing and more.

Header image via flickr user Nick Bastian.