My one hour holiday special, “Surviving Thanksgiving with Sara Moulton” will start airing this week.

sara-moulton-thanksgiving-horizontalMy one hour holiday special, “Surviving Thanksgiving with Sara Moulton” will start airing on public TV this week around the country. Check the schedule of your local Public Television station to find out when the Thanksgiving Special will be aired in your neighborhood. Here are all the recipes:




Apple Nutmeg Bites

for snacking  while you prepare the big meal

Prep time: 5 minutes
Container: Nutri Bowl™ *
Makes: 12 bites

1 1/2 cups dried apples
1/2 cup Medjool dates, cut in half, pits removed
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Place all ingredients into the Nutri Bowl in the order listed *


Roll mixture into evenly sized bites, about 1 inch round.

*NOTE: if using a regular blender or food processor, add all the ingredients to the bowl of the machine in the order listed and pulse until they are finely chopped. Then roll into bites.



Creamy Root Vegetable Soup with Everything Pita Crisps

Start to finish: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Hands-on time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 (about 10 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably grape seed
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
11/2 pounds carrots, peeled, half cut into 1-inch chunks and half cut into 1/2-
inch dice
11/2 pounds turnips, peeled, half cut into 1-inch chunks and half cut into 1/2-
inch dice
11/2 pounds parsnips, peeled, half cut into 1-inch chunks and half cut into
1/2-inch dice
1 small Yukon gold potato (4 to 6 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Crumbled feta cheese for garnish, optional
1 recipe Everything Pita Crisps (below)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the carrot chunks, turnip chunks, parsnip chunks, and all of the potato, along with the stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until all the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.

Fill a blender one-third full with some of the vegetables and liquid and puree until very smooth, transferring it to a bowl. Repeat the procedure until the soup mixture is completely pureed. Return all the soup back to the saucepan, add the diced vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into 6 bowls, sprinkle with the feta cheese, if using. Top with the crisps or serve them on the side.

Everything Pita Crisps

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Makes about 3 cups

2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, preferably grape seed
4 (6-inch) pitas

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the poppy and sesame seeds, garlic and onion flakes, and salt in a small bowl and stir well.

Separate each pita in half to form two rounds, brush the rough side of each pita round with the oil, cut the pita rounds in half and then into strips, and sprinkle with the seed mixture.

Place on rimmed baking sheets and bake on the middle shelf of the oven until crispy, 5 to 8 minutes.



Roast Turkey

If you are going to brine the turkey, keep in mind that the drippings will probably be too salty to use for the gravy, so make sure to have some extra chicken or turkey broth on hand to use for making the gravy

1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds), giblets and neck reserved for gravy, outer wing
joint cut off and reserved for gravy
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt (if you are going to brine the
1 stick butter
2 cups chicken or turkey broth

To dry brine the turkey: Gently separate the turkey skin from the meat on the breast, legs and thighs without breaking the skin. Rub 1 tablespoon salt evenly inside the cavity of the turkey, 1 1/2 teaspoons under the skin of each breast and 1 1/2 teaspoons under the skin of each leg/thigh. Wrap the turkey in plastic wrap or tightly in a plastic bag and chill for 24 to 36 hours.   Pat very dry inside and out and proceed with the roasting recipe.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Arrange an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven. If stuffing, stuff right before roasting (see basic stuffing recipe) and return legs to tucked position.

Arrange the turkey breast side up in a rack (preferably a v-rack), set in a heavy large roasting pan. Melt the butter and brush the turkey all over with one third of it. Cover the whole turkey loosely with foil. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan and roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for 1 hour. Uncover, baste with another third of the butter and add 2 cups of water to the pan. Recover the turkey and roast until approximately half way through the total cooking time. Uncover the turkey, baste with the remaining butter and roast, uncovered, until a thermometer when inserted in the thickest part of the leg thigh joint reaches 165 F.

Transfer the turkey to a platter, and cover the turkey loosely with foil. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes, preferably 30 minutes before carving.

How Can You Tell When the Turkey Is Done?

The turkey must be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees.  Read the temperature of the turkey by inserting a thermometer into the leg/ thigh joint. The temperature will rise to 175 degrees with resting time. Here’s a guide, by weight, of the turkey cooking time (at 325 degrees): Twelve to 15 lbs: 3 to 4 hours (unstuffed); 3 3/4 to 4 ½ hours (stuffed).


One Size Fits All Basic Stuffing

12 cups white bread (or whole wheat bread) (about 1 pound), cut into half
inch cubes
2 cups onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth (homemade or bought)

Toast the bread cubes in your oven for 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees or until slightly golden.

Cook onion and celery in skillet on medium heat with butter until soft. Transfer to bowl and add all the remaining ingredients and toss well. Either stuff inside turkey cavity or cook in a shallow casserole at 350 degrees, covered for 1/2 an hour. Uncover, and cook for another ten minutes to get crispy.

Three Variations:
Add 1/2 pound cook crumbled bacon
Add 1 pound sliced mushrooms that have been sautéed in 2 tablespoons butter.
Add 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts and 2 golden delicious apples that have been peeled, chopped and sautéed in 2 tablespoons butter.


No Fail Pan Gravy
See instructions below if you want to make your gravy a day ahead. I recommend making 1/2 cup gravy per person since it is Thanksgiving. You need that much gravy to pour over everything, and for leftovers. So here is the formula: 

1 cup turkey broth (below) or chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons drippings, fat or butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour (preferably the instant kind, Wondra, which Granny favored because it didn’t cause lumps in the gravy)

Here is a sample recipe for 4 cups gravy serving 8 people:

6 tablespoons fat from drippings in roasting pan, and/or butter or a combination
6 level tablespoons flour
4 cups turkey or chicken broth

After you have taken your turkey out of the oven, transfer it to a platter and cover it loosely with foil. While it is resting put the roasting pan on the stove. Transfer whatever liquid is in the roasting pan to a glass measuring cup and let it settle. The fat will float to the top. Skim off the fat and measure it. (Save the liquid as well to add later.)

If you have 6 tablespoons fat, add them back to the pan. If you don’t have that much, add whatever fat plus enough tablespoons of butter to make 6 tablespoons fat total. Heat the pan over low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking for 5 minutes.

Add the broth in a steady stream, whisking. Turn up the heat to moderately high, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, whisking for 5 minutes. Whisk in any juices from the turkey resting platter as well as from the glass measuring cup. If the gravy seems thin, simmer it a few minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.    Note: You could substitute 1/2 cup white or red wine for 1/2 cup of the broth.

Homemade Turkey Broth

Makes about 4 cups

The giblets and neck from one turkey (save the liver for another use, such as sautéing and serving on a piece of toast)
2 cups chicken broth (good quality canned is fine)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, cut in half
1 celery rib, cut in half
1 small parsnip (optional), cut in half
1 thyme sprig
1 parsley sprig
1 Turkish bay leaf
4 cups cold water

Combine the giblets and neck with the chicken broth and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down immediately and simmer, skimming and discarding the scum (this is just the protein solids from the giblets and neck, but it will cloud the broth if you leave it in) that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon. After about 20 minutes, when there is no more scum rising to the surface, add the remaining ingredients and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Simmer the broth, adding water as necessary to keep all the ingredients submerged in liquid, for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Strain and skim off any fat that settles at the top (You can use that fat for your pan gravy).

Make Ahead Gravy

On turkey day, after the turkey has come out of the oven deglaze the roasting pan with ½ to 1 cup wine (red or white, whatever the cook wants to do), scraping up the brown bits and reduce it a bit and then add the prepared gravy to the deglazed pan, along with any degreased pan juices. Simmer until hot and reduced to the desired consistency.


Cranberry Orange Sauce

Makes about 2 ½ cups

½ cup water
½ cup fresh orange, tangerine, or clementine juice
¾ to 1 cup sugar or to taste
12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries (3 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind

Bring water orange juice and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries just pop, 12 to 15 minutes. stir in zest, then cool to room temperature and chill.


Mashed Potatoes

See instructions below if you want to make your mashed potatoes a day ahead

Serves 4 to 6
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk, heated
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter,
cut into tablespoons and softened
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Quarter or halve the potatoes, depending on size. Place in a large saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and stir to dry out for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a ricer or a food mill fitted with the finest blade and rice the potatoes. (Or just mash them with a handheld potato masher.)*

Stir in the butter, ½ cup of the milk and salt and pepper to taste. Thin with additional milk if you like a lighter texture. (I like my mashed potatoes pretty soft.) Serve right away.

* You can make the mashed potatoes a day ahead and finish them on Thanksgiving day right before the meal. Here’s how: after you have riced the potatoes transfer them to a microwave safe bowl, let them cool and cover and chill until it is 10 minutes before you want to serve them. Heat the potatoes in the microwave until they are hot, stir in the softened butter and heated milk and add salt and pepper to taste.



Shredded Butternut Squash with Dates and Pistachios

1 medium butternut squash (1 ½ pounds)
2 medium shallots
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios
3 large dates
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
4 large mint leaves
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cayenne pepper

Peel the butternut squash and cut it into pieces that will fit into the feed tube of a food processor. Fit the processor with the coarse shredding disc and shred the squash (about 3 ½ cups). Finely chop the shallots (about 1/3 cups); coarsely chop the pistachios (about 1/3 cup): and pit and coarsely chop the dates (about ¼ cup).

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the butternut squash and a hefty pinch of salt, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until the squash is tender. The mixture will become soft, like a puree. Shred the mint (about 2 teaspoons). Stir in the pistachios, dates, mint, and lemon juice. Add salt and cayenne to taste.


swme603-thanksgiving-special-brussels-sprouts-with-panko-1Rawia Bishara’s Brussels Sprouts with Tahini Yogurt Sauce and Toasted Panko Crumbs

Rawia’s Tip: If you are not a fan of frying, Brussels sprouts can be brushed with oil and oven roasted at 400°F until tender. That being said, I think fried tastes better!



Start to finish: 40 minutes
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Corn oil for shallow frying
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, cut in half
1/2 cup Thick Tahini Sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup panko
Pinch of sea salt

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch of corn oil in a large skillet and place over a high heat until hot. To test the temperature, slip half a Brussels sprout into the pan; if it makes a popping sound, the oil is hot enough. Working in batches, fry the Brussels sprouts, turning occasionally, until they are browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sprouts to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.

Meanwhile, whisk together the Thick Tahini Sauce, yogurt, and pomegranate molasses in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the panko and stir constantly until the crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and remove the breadcrumbs from the heat. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to cool.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a serving dish, drizzle with the sauce and top with the panko crumbs. Serve immediately.

Thick Tahini Sauce

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Makes 1 1/4 cups

3/4 cup well stirred tahini (sesame paste)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
Juice of 2 to 3 lemons or to taste (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Chopped parsley for garnish

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and process on low speed for 2 minutes or until thoroughly incorporated. Turn the speed to high and blend until the tahini mixture begins to whiten. Gradually add up to 1/4 cup water until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley. Leftover tahini sauce can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Subaru SponsorSunsweet SponsorThink Rice SponsorNinja SponsorChef's Choice Sponsor



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 Responses to My one hour holiday special, “Surviving Thanksgiving with Sara Moulton” will start airing this week.

  1. C says:

    If one cannot find pomegranate molasses for Rawia Bishara’s Brussels Sprouts with Tahini Yogurt Sauce and Toasted Panko Crumbs, can one use regular molasses, dark corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup???

  2. Great show, second year watched.
    Like the shredded butternut method.
    The mixture would also be good in phyllo, rolled like egg rolls or triangles.
    I’m going to use your method with butternut, mixed with eggs, feta, and nutmeg in phyllo triangles.

  3. Marianna says:

    Where is that lovely farm you visited during the taping of your Thanksgiving special?

  4. Stephen Hart says:

    Hi Sara, in the Shredded Butternut Squash with Dates and Pistachios, what herb can I substitute for the mint? (Mint disagrees with a couple of family members). Thanks!

  5. Peggy Harvey says:

    I just prepared the butternut squash recipe. It is amazing! Light and flavorful, a huge departure from our usual holiday fare. Can’t wait to try the Brussels spouts recipe next.

    Thank you for your inspired choices!

  6. S says:

    Dear Sara-thank you for a wonderful special. Your tips are very helpful. From our home TV, the turkey appeared to be red and undercooked as you removed the leg and thigh. The breast meat appeared slightly pink. What is the minimum temperature for turkey to be considered done? I understood poultry to be cooked, safely at 180. Thank you!

  7. Gail says:

    I love the make ahead options which have truly changed my life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.