We decided to do a big Thanksgiving at our house this year. I wasn't sure how many would show up since everyone is so scattered these days. Most of the family that lives in the area are coming along with some that live down Houston way. I am expecting about 25 people, give or take a few that just can't make it at the last minute. More food for us!
So how do you, and what do you feed 25 people on Thanksgiving? Where are we all going to sit? I've had 60 people in my house before so I know what the crowd will look like. We have our formal dining table that has 2 additional sections you can add in and make it about 120 inches long and 9 chairs to boot. We also have various other tables that should work out so that everyone has a seat, including the ever popular kids table. Yes, there are 6 kids coming.
I always wanted to have a Thanksgiving where everything is from scratch. This looks like its going to be the year. Nothing that I am making comes from a box or a bag. Only one item comes from a can and that's the Pumpkin puree' for the pie. If I had more than one oven I would roast my own but I'm stuck with what I have. I take it back, one thing does come pre-packaged...the rolls. As long as I can remember we have served Mrs. Baird's Brown-N-Serve rolls on Thanksgiving. I even have home movies of my first Thanksgiving and there they are on the table. I guess we can keep one tradition alive.
Nothing on the menu is over the top difficult. I have 4 full size chafing dishes which should be more than adequate for the main food items. We are doing this buffet style. There is no way I can plate and serve 25 people on my own.
So, about the menu. I tried to pick standard Thanksgiving items but do them the way I would like them. I've gone back and forth with it and I think I have settled on the following:
Pecan Smoked Turkey & Sausage
Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Vinegared Green Beans w/Bacon & Shallot
Old School Scratch Creamed Corn
Sweet Potato Tamales w/Pecan Maple Butter
Peanut Butter Fingers w/Mexican Chocolate Drizzle
Black Bottom Pumpkin & Bourbon Pecan Pie.
I have a 26 lb Turkey in the freezer that will start thawing out on Friday. That is one beast of a bird. I have that whole bird plus two good sized turkey breasts that will go into the smoker that morning, early. I'll make the tamales the night before, along with the dressing. Both of those will keep and will actually be better the next day. Potatoes and corn are better done a few hours ahead and the green beans will be the last item since they are fresh beans. Everything into chafing dishes to keep steaming hot.
So if you have read this, give me some feedback on the menu choices and let me know what you are cooking up for the holidays. And if you'd like a recipe for any of the items I am making just ask. Some don't have an actual recipe (I make it how I want it) but I can put one together for you.