Stress-Free Feast – A Guide for Thanksgiving or Christmas

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Dishessous vide turkey

Golden Roasted Turkey (sous vide and traditional broiler)
Moist and Savory Stuffing (see Holiday Cookbook or Feast Cookbook for sous vide recipe)
Boursin Mashed Potatoes (sous vide and blender)
Giblet Gravy
(stove top, or store-bought)
Candied Sweet Potatoes
(sous vide)
Green Bean Casserole
(sous vide)
Cranberry Sauce or Relish, store bought, make your own, or try our sous vide cranberry sauce recipe
Crusty rolls, store bought or make your own (traditional oven)
Pumpkin Pie, store bought or make your own (traditional oven)

The Plan

At least 1 week ahead:

  • Purchase the turkey (if frozen defrost in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days to be thawed and ready to brine on Monday of Thanksgiving week or 3 days before Christmas.
  • Make your shopping list (or use our Thanksgiving grocery list if following our menu.)

5 days before the Feast:

  • Shop for groceries – everything except the pumpkin pie. Buy it (or make it) a day or two before the feast, so it will be fresh and delicious.

3 Days from the Feast


The Turkey

  • Brine the turkey breasts and leg quarters for at least 4 hours, according to the recipe.
  • After brining, rinse the turkey pieces, pat dry, season and package for cooking according to the recipe.
  • Cook the breasts for 2-1/2 to 4 hours at 146F/63.5C; quick chill the pouch(es) submerged in an ice water bath for 30 minutes and refrigerate until feast day.
  • Cook the leg quarters overnight (at least 8 to 10 hours) at 176F/80C, then quick chill the pouches, submerged in ice water for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour and refrigerate until feast day.

Giblet Gravy

  • If making your own giblet gravy, cook the giblets from the turkey in 2 cups of water or chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat, covered, for 1 hour. When finished, mince the liver, discard the neck, heart, and gizzard, and refrigerate the broth and minced liver in a sealed container for making the giblet gravy on the feast day.

1 or 2 Days before the Feast:


  • Prep, package and cook all the vegetables (in our menu, the potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, and stuffing.)
  • All the vegetables and sides can cook in the water oven at the same time and will take between 1 and 2-1/2 hours.
  • Pull each pouch of vegetables from the water bath when cooked and quick chill, submerged in an ice water bath for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Refrigerate until Thanksgiving day.
  • When the potatoes have cooked, puree them while still slightly warm in a food processor or blender until smooth and repackage in a zip-closure or vacuum-seal cooking pouch, removing as much air as possible. Store in refrigerator until feast day.
  • If you are making pie or cranberry sauce/relish, do these the day before the feast.

Now all the main cooking tasks are finished and you’ll only have ahead of you on the day of the big feast reheating, finishing, and serving! Sit down and enjoy a nice glass of some tasty adult libation and breathe a sigh of relief.

On the Feast Day

… in the morning

  • Set and decorate the table

… 2 hours before the meal

  • Fill and preheat the water oven(s) to 146F/63.5C (if you have a second water oven, set it to 165F/74C for the vegetable pouches.)
  • Put all the turkey pouches into the 146F/63.5C water bath to slowly come to temperature.

…1 hour before the meal

  • Add the vegetable pouches to the water oven and bring them to serving temperature (if using two water ovens, put the vegetables into the higher temperature one.)
  • Preheat the traditional oven for the rolls. (If you have two ovens, turn the broiler on high in the second oven.)
  • If the pie and cranberry sauce/relish have been refrigerated, remove them to come to room temperature.

… in the last 30 minutes before serving

  • Open the wine (enjoy a glass!)
  • Melt butter with poultry seasoning in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove (for brushing the turkey).
  • Remove the turkey pouches from the water oven, open them, and put the pieces onto a broiler tray, skin side up. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel, brush with melted herbed butter. Broil them 5 to 7 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Transfer to a cutting board or serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Open the pouch of sweet potatoes, put them into an ovenproof casserole, top with marshmallows and brown sugar, and put under broiler to toast and melt the toppings.
  • Bake the rolls.
  • Meanwhile, open all the vegetable pouches, pour the contents into serving bowls.
  • Turn the oven off, put the pie into it, and leave the door cracked so the pie can warm slightly before serving.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving or joyous Christmas Feast filled with friends, family, fun, and delicious sous vide food!

Have a happy sous vide Thanksgiving!

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