Lets back the turkey train up a bit. I neglected to give you the recipe for an imperative staple that will get you through your thanksgiving cooking quests. That staple is turkey stock.
Sure you can buy it, or even use chicken stock. But if you've already got the bird, why not make the most out of it. The neck of the turkey happens to make a wonderful stock that you can use to flavor nearly every dish on your holiday table (except dessert, I hope). Turkey stock can be used to baste your bird, make a soup, gravy or pan sauce, moisten your stuffing, or flavor your side dishes. You can even make a little more than necessary, and freeze it for later use.
So make it! You won't regret it, trust me.
(yield: 2 quarts)
2 quarts cold water
1 medium yellow onion, halved
1 large carrot, cut into a few large pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into a few large pieces
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
cheese cloth, as needed
Place water, turkey neck, onion, carrots, and celery into a large stock pot.
Make a bouquet garni* by wrapping the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a small piece of cheese cloth and tying with kitchen twine. Add bouquet to stock pot and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Remove bouquet and vegetables, and strain the stock.
*A bouquet garni is just a bundle of herbs or spices wrapped together in cheese cloth, or simply bound together by a string. It is typically placed into stocks, soups, or stews to add flavor.