"It's Thanksgiving," Sifton says. "You can have a salad tomorrow."
Mom Parsons' cranberries
Makes about 2½ cups
3 cloves and 3 allspice berries
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup water
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
Grated zest of 1 orange
Make a sachet: Wrap the cloves, allspice and cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth square and tie it shut. Bring sugar, water and spice sachet to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring, until the syrup is clear, about 3 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook just until they begin to pop, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the grated orange zest and cool. Refrigerate one to three days before serving. Remove the spice sachet before serving.
This recipe is from Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times. Says he, "My mom has a recipe on Epicurious. At first I found that amusing. Epicurious, after all, is the holy grail of recipe Web sites, the collected works of some of the best food writers in the country. And, to put it most kindly, my mom was not a gifted cook. At least not by the definition we most often apply today.
"Oh, it's a good recipe. Maybe a great recipe. We printed it in the Los Angeles Times for the first time in 1992 and for the last time in 2000, and I still get calls and e-mails every Thanksgiving asking for Mom Parsons' cranberries.
"It has just the right balance of sweet and tart, with the spice of cloves, cinnamon and allspice coming up from the background."
Per ¼ cup: 134 calories; 35 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 1 milligram sodium; 32 grams sugar.
Tom Colicchio's herb-butter turkey
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds turkey necks and/or wings
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced peeled carrots
1 cup diced celery
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, plush 15 fresh sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, plus 5 large sprigs
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, plus 5 fresh sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage, plus 5 fresh sprigs
1 (14- to 16-pound) turkey
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Gravy base: Melt the butter in a heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add the turkey necks and/or wings and sauté until deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until vegetables are deep brown, about 15 minutes.
Add the 6 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the gravy base through a strainer set over a 4-cup measuring cup, pressing on the solids to extract liquid. If necessary, add more chicken broth to gravy base to measure 4 cups.
Turkey: Mix ½ cup butter and all the minced herbs in a small bowl.
Season the herb butter with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 generous tablespoons to another bowl and reserve for gravy; let stand at room temperature.
Set a rack at lowest position in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at the neck end, slide your hand between the skin and the breast meat to loosen the skin. Rub 4 tablespoons of herb butter over the breast meat under the skin. Place the turkey on a rack set into a large roasting pan. Sprinkle the main cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place 4 tablespoons plain butter and the herb sprigs in the main cavity. Tuck the wing tips under. Tie the legs together loosely. Rub the 2 tablespoons remaining herb butter over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle the turkey generously with salt and pepper.
Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Roast 30 minutes more, then pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon plain butter to the roasting pan.
Roast 30 minutes more, baste with pan juices, then pour 1 cup broth over and add another tablespoon butter to pan. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees, basting with juices and adding 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon butter to pan every 45 minutes, about 1 hour and 45 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter and let stand 30 minutes.
Strain the pan juices into a bowl. Whisk in the gravy base. Melt the reserved 2 tablespoon herb butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat; add the flour and whisk constantly until the roux is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Gradually add the pan juice gravy base mixture; increase the heat and whisk constantly until gravy thickens, boils and is smooth. Reduce the heat to medium; boil gently until gravy is reduced to 4½ cups, whisking often, about 10 minutes.
Season gravy with salt and pepper and serve with turkey.
This recipe is from "The Epicurious Cookbook: More Than 250 of Our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes for Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasions," by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious.com (Clarkson Potter, $27.99).