My Ketogenic Thanksgiving, 2016

Sometime around Halloween this year it occurred to me that I had to cook my first keto Thanksgiving dinner early. I co-host a podcast called 2 Keto Dudes with Richard Morris, from Canberra in Australia. He doesn’t do Thanksgiving. Doesn’t really know much about it. Seeing as how there are thousands of listeners out there who will look to us to provide some great ketogenic Thanksgiving recipes, the job of exhaustive culinary research (read: cooking up a feast in advance of Thanksgiving) fell on my shoulders. I know. Life is hard.

So, just hours ago, I sat down with my family and friends to a ketogenic Thanksgiving feast. I spent the morning at the grocery, and the entire day cooking.  This is my favorite way to spend a Sunday, by the way.  I get in the zone and good things happen. Pure Zen.

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, although many cultures have both a holiday in which they give thanks and/or an autumn festival that is generally centered around seasonal foods. Unfortunately, the popular culture around Thanksgiviging doesn’t tell the whole story. For a more detailed history, consider reading Bill Bryson’s amazing book, Made in America.

OK. Let’ talk turkey. Usually I get a fresh turkey and cook it the Julia Child way.  That is, take out the backbone, take off the legs at the thighs, take the bone out of the thighs and replace with fresh sage and rosemary, and cook the breast separate from the legs, which take less time.  This year, however, I decided to go all thighs. That’s right. No white meat. OK, I got a few chicken breasts for my white-meat-loving diners, and they were well-received. This took the task of cooking the breast off my plate, which made timing the meal much easier.

Herbaceous Turkey Thighs

Herbaceous Turkey Thighs

What’s turkey without gravy made from real turkey stock, which is made from browned bones? I used xanthan gum to thicken it, and did not spare the schmaltz. Click here for my Herbaceous Turkey Thighs and Homestyle Gravy recipe.

Homestyle Gravy made from Stock

Homestyle Gravy made from Stock

And then, there’s the stuffing. I always make my own stuffing. This year was no different, but instead of using store-bought croutons I used 7 or 8 toasted slices of Mahler’s Low-Carb Bread. The basic idea is to saute chopped mushrooms, garlic, carrots, and celery with crumbled sage sausage and chopped black olives. Of course, I don’t spare the butter. Click here for my Keto Sage Sausage Stuffing Recipe.

Sage Sausage Low-Carb Stuffing

Sage Sausage Low-Carb Stuffing

Side dishes are always a staple of any great Thanksgiving feast. This year I made broiled brussels sprouts and roasted garlic cauliflower mash. I’ve already blogged about the sprouts. The only thing I did differently from the recipe I posted is I added bacon and a little bacon grease.

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

The cauliflower mash was interesting. I don’t have a recipe online yet, but here’s what I did. I chopped a whole head of cauliflower into small pieces. Rather than boiling or steaming it, which would add water and make the mash runny, I broiled it in a cast-iron pan with (surprise) olive oil, salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of crushed garlic.

Also, I put the pan in the middle of the oven on the broil setting. The heat was there, but I didn’t want the edges to burn before it cooked all the way through. Took about 40 minutes to get it perfectly done with brown crispy edges.

Then, I put it all into a food processor and pureed it, adding about 3 tablespoons of soft salted butter and just a splash of heavy cream, until it was the consistency of hummus. Definitely not what your typical potato-burning Thanksgiving dinner guest would expect, but the flavor was phenomenal! Way better than mashed potatoes. My only regret is that it didn’t really make enough to serve 8 guests. I should have made 2 heads of cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic

I also made a cranberry relish. This was so easy. I blanched a bag of fresh cranberries in hot water. Brought it to a boil on the stovetop for just a minute. Then, I strained them and put them in the food processor with the zest of one lemon, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and sweetener to taste. I don’t like it too sweet. The acid of the cranberries is really necessary to cut through all the fat in this meal. My guests loved it. I borrowed the recipe from my mother, who typically makes it with orange zest and juice, a little ginger, and sugar.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Fresh Cranberry Relish

And for dessert! I made the Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse recipe from the Sugar Free Mom’s website. It was amazing. I did it a little differently, though. I only used 12 oz of cream cheese and 1 cup of heavy cream. So, it probably came out a little thicker than it should have. Also, I blended the pumpkin and cream cheese together at first. I probably should have softened the cream cheese and combined it thoroughly with the cream before adding the rest of the ingredients. Mine ended up with little bits of cream cheese floating in it. My guests, however, loved it – and considered those little bits a feature.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

So, that’s it. I hope you got some great ideas for a ketogenic Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone loved it, even someone who had been stressing about Thanksgiving.

Keep calm and Keto On.

Carl

Notable Replies

  1. Noice

  2. carolT says:

    Can I use these recipes for Christmas too? :wink:

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