Thanksgiving is the longest standing American tradition (it's a Canadian one as well, but that is the first and hopefully last time we will ever mention Canada again on this site, until America inevitable invades it and claims it as our own).
On the fourth Thursday of every November, American families and friends gather for the feast of all feasts. Each unit has varying traditions (although those that do not serve turkey do not count as celebrating Thanksgiving), but all include several central themes that make this holiday so great.
1) Family and friends: Whether you are the 93 year old grandmother who the children are too afraid to give a hug to, the rebellious daughter who alternates between boyfriends named Lizard and girlfriends named Destiny just for the controversy, the drunk uncle who always ends up shirtless and crying, or Dad's old army buddy who lets the racial slurs fly much too easily, Thanksgiving is a time for acceptance of all.
2) Drinking: Of course to accept all, most of us need a little help. Luckily, Thanksgiving is a holiday where drinking starts early and runs right through the day. In my family, the Bloody Mary's and Mimosas generally start the day around 11 while Mom slaves away in the kitchen. Then at noon, we take our annual whiskey/tequila shot with a conference call to those who couldn't make it. Once the guests arrive the Windjammers come out (recipe available upon request). At this point it becomes guests choice. When dinner is served around 4, bottles upon bottles of red wine become the drinks of choice. Finally, after dinner and for the remainder of the night, it is whatever anyone can get their hands on. One cannot be too picky at 11 PM on Thanksgiving.
3) Football: Thanksgiving is American. Football is American. Thanksgiving is Football.
4) Food: The star of the show. No holiday is more synonymous with food. As I said before, it all starts with the turkey. If you don't serve turkey you can giiiit out. The sides and desserts are where families are allowed to tweak, but typically include mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, yams/sweetpotatoes/squash, green beans, cornbread, stuffing, apple/pumpkin pie.
Now, if you are still with me after my Thanksgiving primer, I will finally get to my point. The Thanksgiving Burger.
The components of Thanksgiving dinner are fantastic, but let's be honest take a lot of prep time, making it difficult to get the full flavor more than once or twice a year leaving most of us with a Thanksgiving hole.
Well have no fear friends because the Thanksgiving Burger is here to plug that hole. Combining turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cornbread and cranberry sauce, this delicious burger combines the best elements of Thanksgiving in one (not so) tidy package.
- Cornbread buns: This is an idea that looked better on paper than in operation. We were only able to pick up the burger for one bite before it fell apart, but then it became open faced, which is just fiiiiiine with us.
- Turkey burger patty: Ground turkey can be very bland on its own and usually you need to infuse it with a lot of seasoning. Well, instead of using seasoning we used Thanksgiving's natural seasoning: stuffing. Using store bought stuffing to save time and money, we cooked the stuffing, let it cool, and then mixed it with the ground turkey. This provided the meat with the flavor shot it needed and turned out excellent.
- Mashed potatoes: Made by the beautiful Ms. Hendricks (I'm required by law to give at least one compliment to my girlfriend per post), we elected to go with the homemade variety because you truly cannot beat this method.
- Cranberry sauce: As a group, our personal choice was the canned jelly style cranberry sauce because the shape and consistency seemed to fit best with this burger. If you choose to go with chutney or some other recipe, well good on ya.
- Gravy: Finally, my favorite piece of the puzzle. Gravy actually belongs on the bottom of my food pyramid. I would eat it as a meal if it were more socially acceptable. Anyway, this becomes a necessity because with the ground turkey/stuffing, potatoes, and cornbread, this burger could be very dry without this condiment of the gods.