This is the year, you are finally in charge of hosting Thanksgiving…aren’t you excited!!?
We understand the pressure you may be feeling at the moment. This is why our team, along with the knowledgeable wine society at Tussock Jumper international wine portfolio put together this perfect Thanksgiving dinner plan to help you and your wallet make it through the holidays without a hitch.
Host Thanksgiving: Planning and Prep
First, relax, and take a deep breath. You’re going to get through this. Planning and prep work will help make the process go smoothly, so give yourself time, a day or so ahead to do things like chopping vegetables, trimming the green beans, and even pre-peeling and boiling the potatoes. You can set the table the night ahead, placing a sticky note in the serving dish to remember what goes where.
As the star of the show, the turkey is your pièce de résistance. Before your nerves get the best of you, remember, this is not much different from cooking a larger chicken. Do not, however, forget to factor in the size of your oven. This may mean buying early and freezing, or pre-ordering if you’re looking for fresh. If you wait until the last minute, the small ones will be gone, and you may end up with a mammoth that either won’t fit, or takes forever to cook.
To serve 8 persons, a 12 to 14 pound turkey will be plenty. Try this Garlic and Herb Butter Roasted Turkey recipe from the Crave Test Kitchen. Be sure to dry the skin before you season it, so that it will cook up nice and crispy!
Pair with Tussock Jumper’s Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. With tropical notes of melon, black currant, and citrus, this wine will balance out the butter, and complement the herbs in the turkey.
A good gravy is like magic-it ties everything together, and adds an extra layer of flavor that somehow works, even if you put every single thing on your plate in one forkful. Plus, if you’ve made turkey, you’re already halfway there! Try this recipe for super delicious Turkey Gravy.
The Mashed Potatoes
Ever had mashed potatoes that were so creamy and delicious, you thought you’d died and gone to heaven? Well, it’s sour cream that usually is the secret ingredient, adding an extra tangy, zesty kick to everyone’s favorite starch. This recipe calls for a food mill, but you don’t need it. Just use a regular old pot, and either a wooden spoon or a hand blender.
Potatoes are an easy made ahead dish, so if you’re short on time or cooking space, just keep them in the same pot you cooked them in (or transfer to a microwave-safe container) and cover them in the refrigerator. Heat them back up on the stovetop using low heat and stirring occasionally, or microwave on medium power in short intervals, stirring in between cycles so they warm up evenly.
The Green Bean Casserole
Instead of canned beans and mushrooms, make a delicious version of a creamy green bean casserole using fresh ingredients! You can fry your own shallots, but French’s are still some of the best we’ve tried.
Here’s Bon Appetit’s super Insta-worthy green bean casserole recipe.
Pair with Tussock Jumper’s Carmenere from Chile. With well-balanced acidity, soft tannins, and notes of sweet cherries and blackberries, you can throw the ‘no red wines with veggies rule’ out the window.
The Sweet Potatoes
If you’re like us, by now you may be starting to worry about running out of room in the oven. Never fear, as your sweet potatoes can also be cooked in an InstaPot or slow cooker! Try this recipe for sweet potatoes with cinnamon and pecans-you’ll never go back to the oven again!
Pair with Tussock Jumper’s Western Cape Chenin Blanc from South Africa. With tropical notes of peach and pineapple, as well as a flinty, mineral finish, it’s a delicious way to tie in sweet or glazed vegetable dishes.
You guys, let’s be honest. Thanksgiving is all about three things-the turkey, the stuffing, and that nap that follows.
While lots of stuffing combos exist in the world (chestnut, oyster, apple, etc), nothing really beats the classic version, with herbs, celery, and onion. This is the kind that tastes like a box of Stove Top, but much, much better. Here’s our favorite recipe for gluten free Stove Top Stuffing.
Pair with Tussock Jumper’s Chardonnay from Southern France. Not your butter bomb chard, this white wine is lightly oaked and crisp, with a zesty finish that pairs very well with food.
The Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is like the ying to your Thanksgiving table’s yang. It’s sweet, tart, and fresh, cutting through all of that buttery goodness. Making your own is super easy, and everyone will be crazy impressed with how much better it tastes than that strange stuff out of a can. Also, this recipe only calls for three ingredients and a few minutes of prep time, which makes it a breeze to make the day ahead.
Get your easy cranberry sauce recipe here.
Last, but certainly not least is the pie. After your guests have enjoyed their entire Thanksgiving meal, it’s your job as host to now ensure that they can’t say to dessert. An apple pie that is lightly sweetened and perfectly spiced with cinnamon will make for a memorable end to an already stellar meal. You can use frozen pie crust to save time, but the from scratch stuff is really what tastes the best. Don’t worry-if you mess up the top crust layer, a crumble topping is a totally acceptable do-over! Get the best apple pie recipe on the planet here.
Pair with Tussock Jumper’s Sparkling Moscato from Valencia, Spain. With notes of mandarin peel and sweet fruit, it’s a luscious ending to an already perfect meal.
Need a little holiday wine pairing help? Check out Tussock Jumper’s AR app, as each wine region’s ambassador ‘jumps’ off the bottle to help with wine pairings and recommendations for the varietal. Download it free on the Play Store or iTunes now. Find Tussock Jumper wines at gourmet retailers near you.