Six Thanksgiving Food Tips From Top Metro Chef

We asked Des Moines' top Chef, Lynn Pritchard of Table 128 for must-know Thanksgiving food ideas to minimize stress and maximize our food game. These concrete tips are easy for anyone, but you need to start today!

Thanksgiving food ideas

We are huge fans of Table 128 in Des Moines and we have talked about this restaurant on several occasions. So, who better to ask into the studio for Thanksgiving food ideas other than Lynn Pritchard, executive Chef and co-owner of Table 128. 

Thanksgiving is Pritchard's favorite Holiday, and he says it's important to maximize family time and conversation, and not be stuck in the kitchen the entire time family is present. Just like anyone, he is a big fan of sides, brussel sprouts, stuffing, etc. and his Thanksgiving food ideas will set you free and make this year extra special. Scroll down for the tips.

Lynn Pritchard, Table 128

Thanksgiving food ideas

1. Advanced Prep Is A Must

Advanced preparation is THE key to enjoying the holiday with your family and friends, so make sure to pre-cut and prep all the veggies in advance at a minimum. Do as much in advance as possible like the cranberry sauce or anything else that can be done early. 

2. Brine That Turkey. No Exceptions

Everyone seems to dry out the turkey, but it doesn't have to be this way. The simple solution here is to brine. Brining, wet or dry, is the best way to ensure a delicious and moist turkey. Wet brining is soaking the Turkey for 24 hours with aromatics, like garlic, rosemary, sage, water, salt, sugar, peppercorn. Dry brining is simply rubbing the Turkey all over with ground seasonings and spices. (Remember to keep it refrigerated during the brining process.)

3. Choose The Right Beverages

Thanksgiving food ideas are incomplete without pairing the right beverages. The correct choices, can compliment the entire meal and add another layer to the fun so don't pick as an after thought. For the non-alcoholic, Pritchard's favorite Thanksgiving day beverage is warm apple cider. For your alcoholic selections, he suggests IPA Beer, Pinot Noir and Granache.

4. Make New Traditions

While not forgetting old traditions, make new ones with your family is important — Pritchard calls this tradition with a twist! Pritchard does this by putting new spins on old dishes. Keep some things consistent, but update some others. It keeps things fun and interesting, without letting go of tradition.

5. Thaw Your Turkey NOW

Turkey's are huge, and don't thaw as quickly as your other meats, so make sure you allow your turkey to thaw under refrigeration for four days before cooking. If there is one take away from these Thanksgiving food ideas, THIS IS IT!

6. Always Do A Dry Run

If it's a dish you haven't made and requires a bit of complexity. Make sure to do a dry run. It doesn't have to be a full serving, but make sure you know what to expect and you aren't caught without a dish. Of all the Thanksgiving food ideas, this will save you a lot of pain and embarrassment.

Bonus Tip: NO VELVEETA. Make Chutney instead.

For those that are poor at cooking, there is still a way to win Thanksgiving! Sorry Adrianne, absolutely no Velveeta or fake cheese on anything! NO EXCEPTIONS! Instead, make a from scratch cranberry chutney, or cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. It's hard to mess up, and the aroma will take over the house and smell incredible. You will be a rock star without stressing yourself out.

(BTW, Upon writing this article spell check doesn't even recognize Velveeta as a real word.)

Listen to the interview with Lynn Pritchard of Table 128


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