Given that Benjamin’s celiac diagnosis came right before Thanksgiving, I had to quickly come up with a gluten-free Plan B for almost every dish I usually make for the big day. We hosted 11 adults and 3 kids, and only 3 out of the 14 were gluten free. But still, it was really important to me that everyone was able to eat [almost!] everything, and no one got unintentionally glutened in the process. Not the easiest task, but certainly easier to do at MY house than at someone else’s.
We have gone back and forth spending Thanksgiving with Benjamin’s family or with my family. This year, we got a little of both (though not all of either — too many families, too little time!).
My brother and sister-in-law, their two kids (Tori, almost 2, and James, 4 months), and their dog Charlie drove up from Philly to spend a few days with us. I was so happy to see them and to have some of my family represented at the Thanksgiving table! As I said in my last post, we had a blast while they were here, showing them our favorite playgrounds and pulling all of Owen’s toys out of the cabinets.
On Thursday afternoon, some of Benjamin’s family joined us for Turkey Day. I supplied the turkey, stuffing, rolls and cranberry sauce, and others brought vegetable side dishes. This worked out so well for the gluten issue — they didn’t have to adjust their dishes since things like mashed potatoes, butternut squash and peas don’t have gluten anyway. We even made gravy from the turkey drippings with gluten free flour and no one noticed the difference!
The pie baker in the family was even up for trying a gluten free pie crust so the non-gluten eaters even had their very own pumpkin pie. I don’t know how she did it, but man, it was delicious!
Turkey: I was surprised to see that several of the turkeys available at my grocery store were pre-brined or flavored with things like “artificial flavoring” (even the organic ones!!!), which often is wheat-based. Thankfully I found one brand that had a big “gluten free” icon on it and was able to find a perfect 20 pounder to take home. We prepared it according to our recent family tradition (started last year — side note: Owen looks like such a baby in the pics from last year!) of wrapping it in bacon. It doesn’t get much more delicious than that.
Stuffing: I vaguely followed this recipe for Apple & Onion Stuffin’ Muffins for both my gluten and gluten-free stuffing. I sauteed a ton of onions, celery, apples and spices. Then I kept my two bowls of bread separate, split the sauteed veggies and apples between them, and then added gluten-free chicken broth until they were the right texture to bake. For gluten stuffing I just used a bag of good ol’ Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, and for the gluten free stuffing I made a batch of homemade French bread and dried it out. Both were delicious, if I do say so myself.
Rolls: Easy peasy bake ‘n serve rolls for the gluten-eaters, and from-a-box gluten-free cornbread muffins for the gluten-free. Hey, gotta cut corners when you’ve got so much going on in the kitchen!
Cranberry sauce: I like a tart chutney rather than a jellied cylinder, so I make my own by throwing a bag of cranberries, a washed but unpeeled orange (sliced into quarters) and a little bit of sugar to taste in the food processor. I could eat it with a spoon it’s so delicious. And believe me, I did.
We had so many leftovers I’m STILL eating turkey with all the fixins for almost every meal. Tomorrow is my cut-off, though. Whatever’s left goes in the trash and I have to return from my turkey-infused haze back to the real world!