Tips For Your Thanksgiving Feast
The HANNA team shares our top recipes, hosting ideas, and wine pairings to help make your Thanksgiving feast a crowd pleaser.
Christine Hanna – President
Dry Brined Turkey
Thanksgiving at our house usually involves two turkeys, a ham, a medley of sides and a rollicking group of 35 Hanna family guests. My foolproof turkey method is a dry brine. I pick up my two 12-pound turkeys at Healdsburg’s Big John’s Market on Monday after work, and head home to begin prep. (Larger birds make getting white and dark meat cooked properly impossible. The white meat dries out while the dark meat remains undercooked. Go small!)
To dry brine, use a tablespoon of kosher salt per four pounds of turkey. So, for a 12-pound bird, combine 3 tablespoons of salt, the zest of a Meyer lemon, and a tablespoon of minced thyme. Rub this mixture all over the bird, place the bird in a plastic bag, seal it, and place on a rack over a sheet pan and refrigerate. Every day for three days, flip your bird upside down and rub the mixture into the bird through the bag. Eight hours before you plan to roast your turkey, remove the bag, discard any juices, and let the bird sit breast side up on the rack over the sheet pan in the fridge. This will allow your skin to crisp up once you roast. Remove the bird from the fridge at least an hour before roasting. Heat your oven to 425. Roast for half an hour, then turn down to 325 degrees and roast until the thigh temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let the bird rest for 45 minutes before carving.
Shelby Lozinto – Wine Club and Marketing Manager
Wet Brined Turkey & Gravy
To prepare a mouthwatering turkey, I recommend using a wet brine to infuse as much flavor into your turkey as possible. The wet brine will help keep your turkey moist. Start by prepping an ice chest that can hold your turkey and have ice on hand, along with a large plastic bag to hold the turkey and brine. I usually like to grab a 15 lb. turkey for my gathering.
For the brine, combine 2 gallons of cold water, 1 cup salt, ½ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup whole peppercorns, 1 orange sliced, 1 lemon sliced, 1 medium yellow onion sliced, 5 cloves of garlic, 3 bay leaves, 5 dried cloves, 3 rosemary sprigs, 4 thyme sprigs and bring to a boil.
Then let it simmer, stirring occasionally until salt and sugar have dissolved. Set the liquid aside and let cool completely before pouring over your turkey in the plastic bag. Make sure your bird is completely covered by the brine. If you are slightly short, just add additional water to the bag and cinch it tightly. Cover your bird with ice and let your turkey sit for 24 hours. Day of, completely pat dry your turkey, then combine 1 cup of room temperature unsalted butter, ¾ cup bacon bits, ½ cup of chopped sage and 1 1/2 tsp. paprika to rub down your turkey. Note, you do not need to add salt to your turkey after your brine. Make sure to spread the butter mixture under the skin and on-top, covering it completely. Then sprinkle a little bit of black pepper and more paprika on top for added color.
I recommend stuffing your turkey with added aromatics, then tying your turkey to prevent the wings and legs from over cooking. The citrus and herb elements of this turkey brine will make for a great pairing with HANNA’s ELIAS Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2019.
Gravy Tip: Most gravy recipes involve using the drippings from the turkey; however, a brined turkey can often lead to a gravy tasting too salty. I’ve learned to take the giblets of my turkey and add in additional store-bought turkey breast, or thigh/leg to roast in a second pan prior to my turkey going in the oven. I will season the additional meat on its own using similar ingredients from my brine with low sodium chicken broth to help keep the meat moist. You can then strain these juices for your gravy, and you have additional meat for your feast.
Yvonne Lozinto - Controller
Cranberry Sauce, Aromatics, & Decor
Homemade cranberry sauce made ahead of time – simmer fresh cranberries with sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and a dash of maple syrup to sweeten.
Tip – use leftover whole cranberries in the bottom of your flower vase as an added boost of color to your centerpiece.
Gather aromatics and place them on a sheet of cheesecloth, then gather the corners and give them a twist (This makes for easy extraction once the turkey is done cooking). No need to fill the entire cavity, a few aromatics go a long way. I like to use a half head of garlic, sliced onion, citrus wedges, fresh thyme, rosemary & sage. The roasted garlic cloves can then be infused into the gravy or saved for later use.
Preset your table a day or two in advance. Use a sprig of rosemary and ribbon around cloth napkins.
Marti Quan - Assistant Winemaker
Spinached and Feta Mashed Potatoes
My Thanksgiving wine choice is universally loved – Hanna’s 2017 Reserve Alchimie. This wine is so delicious that it pairs with anything.
For recipe tips, I may be treading in dangerous territory, because everyone has strong opinions about how to make mashed potatoes. Here it goes. My dad doesn’t like vegetables, my children will eat theirs, but I have to hide the vegetables from my dad. He does, however, love potatoes.
I will cook cubed Yukon Golds, skin and all. When ready to strain, I’ll put coarsely chopped fresh spinach in the colander. Sprinkle a little salt on it, then strain the potatoes. This gives the spinach a quick blanch. I put them in a bowl, drizzle garlic butter over, and roughly mash them. Toss in some crumbled feta, salt pepper and chives.
Julia Carlyon – Direct to Consumer Assistant Manager
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus & Wine Infused Cranberry Sauce
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
1 lb. asparagus 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto 2 tbsp ground black pepper 1 lemon ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prep your asparagus by rinsing, and snapping the tough ends off, then pat dry. Cut prosciutto slices lengthwise and wrap each piece of asparagus. Lay wrapped asparagus on parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, plate on serving platter and squeeze juice of half a lemon over and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan and serve!
The Bismark Moon Mountain District Chardonnay 2019 pairs well with this dish because of the wonderful balance it strikes between creaminess and acidity. The smooth, creamy notes from the Chardonnay that come from the 100% malolactic fermentation and the 50% new oak barrels used for aging balance with the acidity and brightness from the lemon juice. The lighter, more acidic notes from the Chardonnay that come from the potassium-rich Rhyolite soil balance well with the melt-in-your-mouth fat from the prosciutto and the creamy, yet bite-y flavors from the fresh parmesan. Personally, I love this dish so much, I tend to fill up on it before the main course!
Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
½ cup water ½ cup dry red wine 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 1 cup sugar 2 tbsp. ground ginger Pinch of salt
First rinse cranberries your cranberries. Bring water, red wine, and sugar to a boil in a medium pot. Add cranberries and lower heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have split open. Remove from heat and add ground ginger. Allow sauce to cool before transferring to serving dish. Cover and chill until ready to serve!
This cranberry sauce is the perfect pairing for a smokey and rich turkey. Cranberries tend to be slightly bitter and tart, but extremely flavorful. The Zinfandel is a perfect pairing (and ingredient!) for this delicious cranberry sauce. The red wine added to the sauce helps to bring out more of the fruit forward flavors of the cranberries, while the sugar and ginger help to balance some of the bitterness.
In my family, the cranberry sauce isn't just for the turkey. If you're craving a little something sweet after the main course, but pie sounds a little too heavy, try topping some vanilla bean ice cream with some warmed cranberry sauce and sip on a glass of Zin while you indulge. It is basically a cranberry pie a la mode, minus the pie crust. The tannins from the wine are softened by the creamy sweetness of the ice cream, and the fruity yet spicey notes from the Zin compliment the vanilla bean flavors.
Jeff Hinchliffe - Winemaker
Thanksgiving and beyond. What to drink? With eclectic dinner guests, spontaneous chefs and the tryptophan shortage my strategy is bring 'em all and let folks sort it out.
Here’s my actual list:
- 1 ELIAS Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
- 1 Reserve Alexander valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
- 2 Bismark Moon Mountain District Petite Sirah 2021
- 2 Bismark Moon Mountain District Titan 2017
- 2 Reserve Alexander Valley Malbec 2017
- 1 ELIAS Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2019
- 1 Bismark Moon Mountain District Chardonnay 2019
- 1 HANNA Russian River valley Chardonnay 2021
- 1 Reserve Alexander Valley Alchimie 2017
12 total bottles.