Thanksgiving is a holiday really has it all. A big roast, lots of side dishes and even more desserts. The one thing it doesn’t have (according to my father, amongst other people) is bacon. So, this year, I’m putting together a Thanksgiving menu that is infused with bacon. I know there is no shortage of bacon lovers out there, so feel free to infuse some bacon into your Thanksgiving, too!
- For the turkey, I decided to go with the High Heat Turkey method I used last year with success. I considered putting bacon on top of the turkey for this menu, but instead I’m introducing some bacon fat into the turkey drippings to make Bacon-Infused Turkey Gravy. You can get the recipe below.
- Stuffing – whether I was doing a bacon theme or not – is definitely Bacon, Pumpkin and Pecan Stuffing this year. This stuffing recipe is so savory and delicious, it can be addicting. Fortunately, a double batch of stuffing means more for turkey sandwiches the next day.
- Yorkshire puddings are typically made with beef drippings, but I make my Huge Yorkshire Puddings with butter. You could chop up some pieces of already cooked bacon and add them in to the popover batter, but instead I would use bacon fat – or half bacon fat and half butter – to cook the popovers and give them a hint of bacon flavor to tie them in with the turkey and stuffing. I’m doing these in place of dinner rolls.
- Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts are a great side dish in general, but are another food that really takes to bacon. Cook a bit of bacon in a frying pan and toss the brussel sprouts in the bacon to coat them before putting them in the oven. You can sprinkle the bacon on top for a little more crunch, if you like.
- Use either Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Duchess Potatoes as the potato dish. With a bacon gravy already on the menu, you don’t want to go too crazy with bacon (yes, even if you’re a big fan of bacon!).
- Because the stuffing recipe has some maple syrup in it, and since bacon has such a savory flavor, this sweet Maple Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce is a nice contrast to all of the other dishes here. It’s sweet, tart and has a definite maple flavor to it.
For dessert? I know there are lots of maple and bacon cupcakes, donuts and cookies out there, but that might be overkill here after such a rich meal. Skip the bacon after dinner and go with a classic Thanksgiving pie.
Homemade Bacon Turkey Gravy
approx 3 cups turkey drippings, fat skimmed
3-4 tbsp bacon fat
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
In a stovetop-safe roasting pan, or a medium saucepan, whisk together turkey drippings, bacon fat (bacon fat should be warmed before adding) and flour until smooth. Cook over medium heat until gravy comes to a simmer and thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.
Makes about 3 cups gravy.