The last-minute Thanksgiving menu you can make in 3 hours

Maybe you have to work on Thanksgiving Day. Or perhaps you don’t, but you’d instead use your day off to catch up on precious sleep than spend eight hours( or, hey, three days) in the kitchen. Perhaps you hadn’t schemed on hosting Thanksgiving dinner at all, but all of the sudden, you have to. Or perhaps you’ve planned on hosting Thanksgiving all along, but haven’t had a chance to figure out your menu in advance.

Whatever your reasons are for requiring a Thanksgiving menu you can pull off in simply three hours, I’m here for you, with the menu this is necessary, plus the shopping list and the timed game-plan you need to pull it off as smoothly as possible.

But merely because this is a last-minute Thanksgiving plan doesn’t entail it’s not festive and fresh and modern and delicious. In fact, it even has a bit of an Italian flare going on. The menu feeds eight, but it’d be pretty easy to cut it all in half to feed four if you’ve got a smaller crowd. And did I mention that you only need to spend three hours in the kitchen to make it happen?

Roast that turkey in pieces .

Cutting a turkey in pieces( two bone-in breast pieces and two whole legs) before roasting not only helps it cook faster, it also stimulates it easy to add more flavor and moisture without brining. I love to brush a flavor-packed melted butter under and over the scalp, and then nestle the pieces on a baking sheet and pour some wine around. Encompass it with foil, then roast it for 20 minutes to keep all the moisture and flavor trapped inside, then uncover it for the final cook to get that nicely crisped scalp. Bonus : The pan juices are your shortcut to a flavorful sauce that’s a faster and easier answer to gravy.

If you can, buy two whole turkey legs and two split bone-in turkey breasts. Or have your butcher break down a 10-12 -pound bird for you and reserve the backbone and wings for another use. If you can’t do either of those things, just buy a whole 10-12 pound bird and break it down yourself — the method is the same one you’d employ to cut up chicken , and will merely take you 10 or 15 minutes to do at the most.

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