Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today, we're walking you through solutions to the most common Thanksgiving-day kitchen disasters.
Even the most seasoned of home cooks is susceptible to a kitchen disaster, especially on such a high-stress occasion as Thanksgiving. Despite your best efforts, the mashed potatoes turn out gluey. Cook a new-to-you turkey recipe, and it comes out dry. These things happen, and the most graceful of cooks knows to take them in stride.
To arm you with as many tricks as you can fit up your festively colored sleeve, we've outlined some of the most common Thanksgiving fails -- and how to fix them.
1. Your Turkey is Dry.
This is nothing a little (or a lot of) gravy can't fix. Pour it on generously, and make sure your mashed potatoes have healthy doses of cream and butter in them.
2. Those mashed potatoes came out gluey or lumpy.
Make a well in the top of gluey potatoes, put a pat of butter in it to melt, and sprinkle on a little paprika. This will hide all ills. And, as with the aforementioned turkey, don't forget the gravy. For a lumpy mash, push them through a strainer or sieve -- it's messy, but it works.
3. Your beautiful cubes of roasted vegetables are over-salted.
Haven't made your stuffing yet? Assuming the vegetables aren't so salty that they're inedible, add them to your stuffing and don't add any additional salt. Conversely, you can add these to an unseasoned soup, or save them for Friday morning and make your guests an impressive frittata.
4. There's not enough gravy.
If you can, make extra drippings and/or stock the day before with whatever poultry you can get your hands on. Use this to stretch the gravy you have, or add in other flavorful additions like wine, pre-made stock, and herbs.
5. It's 8 AM, and you just realized that you forgot to thaw your turkey overnight.
As soon as you can, soak the bird in cold (never hot!) water, changing the water every 30 minutes. It should take about 30 minutes per pound. Then, cook it immediately. If you're left with a frighteningly short amount of time to cook it, try spatchcocking your bird -- it will cut your cooking time almost in half.
Tell us: what are your best tips for saving the day in a pinch?