It started with a challenge: Could I come up with a streamlined Thanksgiving dinner using only one pot and one pan that could be made from start to finish in an afternoon?
Given my penchant for both culinary challenges and sheet-pan dinners, I took it on, knowing exactly where to start. I’d use a sheet pan for roasting turkey parts and vegetables at the same time, and a medium-sized pot for everything else.
It took a few tests to get the seasonings and timing just right, but the resulting meal has all the flavors of the classic menu — made in three hours with a fraction of the work (and far fewer dishes).
It’s perfect for small groups who might not want to roast an entire turkey but still yearn for the comfort of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner (and, you know, the leftovers). And its inherent simplicity makes it accessible enough for anyone who might be cooking the holiday meal for the very first time.
Of course, there’s turkey, a chunk of boneless breast wrapped up in bacon that turns even more golden and crispy than turkey skin. (Bacon-avoiders can skip it, or use turkey bacon.)
To go with it, brussels sprouts are roasted on the pan with the bird, absorbing all the bacon and turkey drippings, and singeing at their edges. There are sweet potatoes, baked individually, stuffed with molasses, spices and lots of butter, then topped with marshmallows to make the equivalent of adorable, personal sweet potato casseroles.
As for the pot, you will have to wipe it twice, but you don’t need to wash it. A swipe with a paper towel will suffice. You’ll use it to simmer first the cranberry sauce, then the gravy, and finally the stuffing, which gets baked still in the pot while the turkey roasts. (About that stuffing, yes, you do need to use one bowl. But just one.)
You’ll end up with an enjoyable, satisfying meal that won’t stress you out — which is, this year, exactly what we need.
Recipe: One-Pot, One-Pan Thanksgiving
[Thanksgiving will be different this year. Here are hundreds of our best Thanksgiving recipes from NYT Cooking to help.]