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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the traditional pumpkin pie is an obvious dinner finale. Those looking for something different should consider this cranberry upside down cake, which combines fresh cranberries and raspberry jam and can be made the night before.
If in the next week you somehow score a locally raised turkey that you did not reserve months ago, kudos to you. Local holiday turkeys are so popular that most are spoken for in spring, when they are just little gobblers. The impromptu Thanksgiving bird is elusive, though not entirely impossible to find.
When I was growing up in Connecticut, we called this “stuffing.” In the South, it is “dressing.” regardless of semantics, this is a comforting, classic Thanksgiving favorite. It is very close to my grandmother’s recipe, although she (like so many of our mothers and grandmothers!) used Pepperidge Farm stuffing and doctored it up some.
To brine or not to brine—that is the Thanksgiving question. Though some people believe that it negatively affects the texture of the bird, I am a faithful briner. I feel that the application of salt enhances the flavor of the meat and helps keep it moist during cooking. A simple overnight brine of 1 cup salt to 1 gallon cold water is all you need.
If you’ve been thinking of cooking up a “locally grown” theme for your Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve got some good news and bad news for you. The bad news is this: If you haven’t already arranged to buy a Georgia heritage turkey, you aren’t likely to find one at this late date. Locally, humanely, naturally raised turkeys are in such high demand in these parts that most are spoken for before the poults have become proper poultry.
Though most local producers of pastured poultry have long since sold out of holiday birds, a couple of Southern farms are still accepting orders for Thanksgiving. But don't drag your heels. The two growers mentioned below are technically accepting orders into next week, but be warned: Once they sell out, that's it. (It's a little too late to start growing more birds.)