This article contains  delicious recipes and helpful tips to make Thanksgiving delicious and easier!

The perfect Turkey Gravy starts with Pure Berkey purified water.

This is one recipe that is totally worth the effort. It’s all about FLAVOR! This delicious Roasted Turkey stock is made with healthful bone broth. Bone broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, even glucosamine and chondroiton –helpful for arthritis and joint pain.

Give yourself a break-You can break this up into multiple steps well before the big day. I like to make the stock the weekend before Thanksgiving, then make the Gravy early in the week and reheat on Thanksgiving. My favorite way to reheat nearly anything is in quart mason jars, lid finger tightened and submerged to the neck in a crock pot of hot water- start reheating in the morning and your gravy, potatoes and more can sit there all day, gently warmed, freeing your stove top and making serving much easier!

TIP: First, fill your Pure Berkey unit to ensure you have 1.5 gallons of Pure Berkey Purified for the stock! Pure Berkey Purified water lets your ingredients shine through, without the chemical tastes of chlorine bleach and ammonia used to disinfect tap water.

Make the weekend before Thanksgiving- or up to one year in advance when frozen!

Roasted Turkey Stock

  • 6 turkey legs or other dark meat turkey parts (thighs, wings, etc.), to make about 6 pounds
  • 4 large or 5 small onions, quartered, papery skin removed
  • 3 small carrots or 2 large, peeled and cut into 3” chunks
  • 4-5 celery ribs, washed and cut into 3” chunks
  • 2 cups dry white wine (don’t substitute “cooking wine” or water)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (not chopped or pressed)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (fresh herbs create the best flavors, but you can substitute 3 tbsp dried thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (you can substitute 1/2 tsp ground black pepper if you don’t have whole peppercorns, but the whole peppercorn gives the stock a complex taste without much spice)
  • 1 whole dried red chile- or any other small red dried chile (you can substitute 1/2 tsp ground cayenne if you don’t have a whole dried chile- again, the whole chile provides delicious flavor without being too spicy)
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Large Baking dish or roasting pan
  • Stock pot- 10 Qt works best
  • 5 Gallons of Pure Berkey purified water

Cook the legs and save the bones!

Set oven to 400 roast or 375 convection roast

Wash and pat dry turkey legs

Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper

Place in baking dish or roasting pan on middle rack and cook for 20 minutes

Reduce heat to 300 and cook for 15 minutes.

Cut meat from bones and feed to hungry people (Pure Berkey’s sons will always eat a turkey leg) or reserve in refrigerator for Turkey Soup!

A bit of meat on the bones is just fine.

Roast the bones to unlock the flavor!

Heat oven to 450 or 375 convection

Arrange bones in a single layer in a large baking dish or roasting pan

Roast until browned and sizzling, 20-25 minutes.

Place in stock pot

Leave the oven on

Roast the Veggies!

Add onions, celery and carrots to baking dish/roasting pan used to roast the bones

Place baking dish or roasting pan over medium high heat on cook top

Cook on cooktop for 5-7 minutes, stirring the veggies and loosening any bits as the pan heats up

Replace dish/pan in 450 oven and cook 20-25 minutes, until veggies are browned on edges

Make the Stock (it’s really a healthful bone broth)!

Remove the dish/pan from oven, and place on stovetop burner on medium heat. Add the white wine and simmer, stirring consistently, about 3 minutes. You want the wine to reduce in volume and get a bit syrupy.

Add the contents of the dish/pan to the stock pot containing the turkey legs

Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns and chile

Add 6 quarts (1.5 gallons, or 24 cups) of Pure Berkey purified water to the stock pot

Place over medium high heat, and bring to boil

Immediately reduce to low, and skim any foam that has formed periodically, and simmer, skimming from time to time, for about 3 hours. Your house will smell awesome.

Add I tsp salt, to taste

Strain stock through a sieve into a large container or containers. Discard solids. Let stock cool slightly, then refrigerate. Skim off any fat from the top of the stock and SAVE THE FAT, you’ll use it in the gravy. Use stock within 4 days or freeze up to a year.

Make the Gravy!

TIP: Can be made and stored in refrigerator up to 5 days ahead, or 1 month frozen in plastic containers or freezer bags.

  • 12tablespoons (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) reserved turkey fat/butter to make up any shortfall in turkey fat
  • Salt and black pepper

In a deep skillet or large heavy pot, melt 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) reserved turkey fat over medium heat. If you do not have enough turkey fat, use additional butter to make 3/4 cup. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, until golden brown and toasty-smelling, 3 to 5 minutes or longer for darker gravy. You just made a classic roux!

Whisk in a small amount of stock (this prevents lumps), then add remainder more quickly and whisk until smooth. Simmer, continually whisking, until thickened. If too thick, thin with more stock or a little wine and simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, whisk in a few tablespoons cold butter to smooth and enrich gravy.

Remaining Stock/Bone Broth can be combined with leftover turkey meat (see the Turkey legs), carrots, celery for turkey soup, or frozen up to a year. You can also make this same stock recipe using the carcass of the turkey and freeze that for next year, making future Thanksgivings even easier!

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Free up your stovetop and make Thanksgiving prep easier by reheating gravy, mashed potatoes and many more make-ahead dishes in a slowcooker and mason jars or BPA free ziptop freezer Bags!

Did you know that you can make gravy, mashed potatoes and many more Thanksgiving dishes days or even weeks in advance? It’s true. Gravy can be made 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 3 months. Even though raw potatoes don’t stand up well in the fridge, Mashed potatoes with their butter, cream and other decadent additives can be made 4 days in advance.

Reheating is easy, and doesn’t require your stovetop or dirtying any dishes.  Just store your gravy or mashed potatoes in the refrigerator in easy to find grocery store BPA-free zip top Freezer bags, and pop them in a water-filled slowcooker the morning of for gentle warming that keeps the food warm and tasty until ready to serve. Ziptop freezer bags are tough enough to handle 24 hours or more of near boiling temps, so you don’t have to worry about burst seams. Be sure to burp your bags or dip into water to force air out before sealing to prevent floating- or you can weigh down with a plate.  Alternatively, use mason jars (filled to the brim to avoid floating).

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Festive and delicious stuffed pumpkin is perfect for vegetarian meals and makes for a statement side dish!

From the Washington Post

It’s mostly hands-off work, but if you prefer you can divide the job, roasting the pumpkins the first time a day (or days) before the Thanksgiving crunch. When you stuff and finish them closer to serving time, that showstopping aroma will return, I promise.

Biryani Stuffed Pumpkins

8 servings

This side or main dish combines pumpkins or other winter squash with the heady flavors of ginger-spiced pistachios, plus yogurt and basmati rice. Small kabocha squash gave us the best results in testing, but you can use other varieties (or even a combination) for visual appeal. (Just know that using one variety will result in more consistent cooking, while using several will require more checking because their cooking times will probably vary.)

MAKE AHEAD: The ginger-spiced pistachios can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. The pumpkins can be initially baked with the spiced pistachios and refrigerated for up to 3 days. In both cases, bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Adapted from “The Vegetable: Recipes That Celebrate Nature,” by Caroline Griffiths and Vicki Valsamis (Smith Street Books, 2017).

Ingredients

For the ginger-spiced pistachios

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger root

1 green chile (such as jalapeño or serrano pepper), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

½ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

½ cup dried cherries or cranberries, coarsely chopped

2 bay leaves

3 small cinnamon sticks

¾ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons salt

For the pumpkins

Four 2¼ -pound pumpkins or other round winter squash of your choice (preferably kabocha squash; see headnote)

Large pinch saffron threads

¼ cup warm water

¾ cup whole-milk Greek yogurt (may substitute low-fat or nonfat)

2¼ cups uncooked white basmati rice

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Steps

For the ginger-spiced pistachios: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; cook until very fragrant and soft, 2 minutes. Stir in the green chile, pistachios, cherries, bay leaves, cinnamon, chili powder, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, garam masala and salt; turn off the heat.

For the pumpkins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use a large, sharp knife to cut off the tops of the pumpkins; hang on to them, because they will serve as lids. Scrape out and discard the seeds (or reserve them for another use), then arrange the pumpkins, cut sides up, on a large baking sheet. Spoon the spiced pistachio mixture into the pumpkins. Put the lids back on and roast until a skewer easily pierces the flesh, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.

While the pumpkins are roasting, stir together the saffron and water in a small bowl, to steep.

Scoop the spiced pistachio filling and most of the pumpkin flesh (leaving at least ½ inch wall of flesh around the edges) out into a saucepan. Stir in the yogurt.

Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters full of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and cook for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander. The rice will not be cooked through.

Divide about one-third of the pistachio-pumpkin filling among the pumpkins, followed by one-third of the rice. Repeat twice more, layering the filling and the rice in each pumpkin until full, finishing with a layer of rice. Top the rice with knobs of the butter and drizzle with the saffron water.

Place the lids back on the pumpkins; roast until the rice is tender and the filling is hot and very fragrant, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Note that the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks will be in the filling and can be picked out as it is served, if you like.)