If you’re hosting, this is your job. (Traveling with a turkey? No thanks.) Plan for about a pound per person, with wiggle room for leftovers. Choose from one of three bastes to suit your taste: smoky (smoked paprika), sweet (molasses and bourbon), or a touch spicy (chili, garlic, and rosemary).
Yes, homemade gravy is totally worth it. With friends tending to the sides, you’ll have time. Plus, it’s easier than you think. The turkey will continue to release juices as it rests. Pour these juices into the gravy along with the chicken broth for even deeper flavor.
Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Adding butter to cooked potatoes before you add the warm half-and-half coats them with fat first, which helps them stay fluffy. If you really want to indulge (hey it’s a holiday!), top the starchy side with one of three flavor-packed compound butters: chive,mushroom, or olive, caper, and parsley.
Sourdough and Sage Stuffing
Stuffing inspires impassioned debate: To meat or not to meat? Let the assigned chef answer the question however she wants with this deliciously adaptable recipe. Simply start with this meatless, nut-less version, then select a set of mix-ins (pine nut, raisin, and parsley or bacon, pecan, and thyme) to suite your taste.
Italian Sweet-and-Sour Sweet Potatoes
These agrodolce (Italian for “sweet and sour”) roasted sweet potatoes are a good assignment for a beginner cook. Simply roast the vegetables until tender, toss with butter and a vinegar and sugar mixture, and then roast until golden brown (about 25 minutes more). They reheat nicely in an oven or a microwave.
Cranberry Relish with Pear and Ginger
Make this year’s cranberry relish a little zingier with juicy pear and fresh ginger. This is delicious chilled or at room temperature, so it’s an ideal contribution from the friend who is always late. If there are leftovers, don’t toss them: The flavor and the color of this bracing relish will only improve after a day in the refrigerator.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Manchego and Almonds
This crunchy, vegetarian-friendly raw salad is a welcome way to round out an otherwise rich meal. Bonus: It won’t hog oven time. Have some travel time ahead of you? Toss the Brussels sprouts with the dressing up to an hour in advance. The fibers will soften and the flavors will intensify.