Comprehensive Guide to a Successful Sous Vide Thanksgiving with Anova

Don’t let the pressures of the holidays prevent you from delivering top-notch food to your guests on Thanksgiving. Skip the stress and win Thanksgiving, sous vide style, with this comprehensive guide full of tips, tricks, and killer recipes from our #anovafoodnerd family to make the day of easy breezy.

Whether you’re having a small, intimate gathering, or piling every relative in a 100-mile radius into your house, we’re gonna make Thanksgiving easier than ever. From make-ahead recipes to the best turkey you’ve ever eaten, follow the guide below and Turkey Day will be tastier than ever, and as low-stress as possible.

Main Event

This turkey breast has it all. Juicy and tender meat and it cooks unattended while you spend time with your guests or prep other sides. You can even prep the turkey a few days before, and simply drop in the bath a for a couple hours when it’s time to eat. Choose from several doneness options depending on your preferences, and serve up some turkey with incredibly crispy skin on the side and a flavor-packed gravy!

Sous Vide Turkey Breast with Crispy Skin

Serves: 4-6

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Large Whole Skin-on, Bone-in Turkey Breast (about 5 lb / 454 g)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Large Carrot, Peeled and Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Roughly Chopped
  • 1.5 q / 1.5 L Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp / 5 ml Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp / 45 g Butter
  • 1/4 c / 30 g Flour

Directions:

1. Set Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 145°F / 62.7°C for a white, tender, and moist result.

2. Starting with a whole turkey breast, remove the skin in one large piece. Use a sharp boning knife to remove the breast halves from the breastbone. (Optional: for gravy, save the breastbone.)

3. Season the breast halves generously with salt and pepper.

4. Align the two breast halves so that they are matched up like a jigsaw, with the fat end of one lined up with the skinny end of the other.

5. Gently press the turkey into an even cylindrical shape. Tie the breasts at 1-inch intervals using short lengths of kitchen twine. Start by tying both of the ends, then work your way to the center, alternating ties on each side.

6. Adjust the shape of the turkey again to form a neat cylinder.

7. You can use a vacuum sealer, but a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag will work just as well. Place the turkey inside the bag. At this stage, the turkey can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before cooking.

8. Place turkey in pre-heated water-bath and cook for 2.5 hours.

Finishing Steps:

1. While the turkey cooks start working on the skin. Adjust the oven temperature to 400°F / 204.5C, then spread your turkey skin out in a single layer on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet.

2. Season the skin generously with salt and pepper. Cover the skin with a second sheet of parchment. Place a second rimmed baking sheet on top of the first to keep the skin flat as it cooks.

3. Roast the skin in the oven until it is extremely crisp. This takes about half an hour to 45 minutes. The cooked skin can be left to cool at room temperature and stored in an open container for up to a day. Re-crisp it in the toaster oven before serving if it turns soft (though it probably won’t).

4. For the Gravy: Chop breastbone into 1-inch chunks with a cleaver. Heat oil in medium saucepan over high heat until smoking. Add turkey neck, onions, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 10 minutes total. Add stock, bay leaves, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour then strain through a fine mesh strainer. You should have a little over a quart of fortified stock. If not, add water or more chicken stock to equal 1 quart. Discard solids and set stock aside.

5. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, add broth in thin, steady streams. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and reduced to about 3 cups / 700 ml. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

6. When the turkey is cooked, remove it from the bag and carefully untie all of the strings. The cooked turkey can also be chilled in an ice bath and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in a 130°F / 54.4ºC water bath for about an hour before serving if necessary!

7. Slice the turkey using a very sharp chef’s knife and smooth, even strokes. Arrange the slices in a fanned out array on a cutting board or warmed serving platter and place the skin, broken into individual portion-sized pieces, into a serving vessel. Add a little pitcher of basic gravy made with chicken stock that you’ve fortified by simmering with the turkey breastbone.

8. Enjoy the best turkey you’ve ever eaten!

Be sure to check out the full recipe for sous vide turkey breast with crispy skin here!

Creamy, Perfect Mashed Potatoes

This dish packs a flavor punch, with garlic and rosemary infusing the potatoes as they cook. Once it’s done, it’s as easy as mashing them up into a smooth texture, and they’re so tender you don’t need any fancy equipment. These can be made 3-4 days in advance, just reheat while your turkey cooks in the same bath!

Sous Vide Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

Serves: 4

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds (900g) Russet potatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 8 ounces (226g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and white pepper

Directions:

1. Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 195ºF / 90.5°C.

2. Rinse and peel the potatoes. Slice into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.

3. Combine the potatoes, garlic, butter, milk, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large zipper-lock or vacuum seal bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer. Place in the water bath and sous vide for 1 1/2 hours.

Finishing Steps:

1. When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Pour the entire contents of the bag through a strainer set in a medium bowl. Discard the rosemary.

2. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash using a potato masher, rice, or food mill. To get a super smooth texture, pass the mashed potatoes through a tamis, chinois, or sieve. (Do NOT use a food processor, electric mixer, or blender – due to the starch in the potatoes, if you over mix the potatoes you’ll end up with a gluey texture.)

3. Gently stir the strained melted butter and milk into the mashed potatoes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Garnish with additional fresh rosemary. Serve.

Check out the full recipe for sous vide garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes here!

Now You’re on a Roll!

Skip the oven, and serve up fluffy yeast rolls to sop up that gravy! As a bonus, these cook at the same temperature as the mashed potatoes, so drop ’em both in and walk away! They can be prepped 2-3 days in advance as well. Store in an air-tight container and simply reheat in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes.

Sous Vide Dinner Rolls

Serves: 8 rolls

What you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup (79 mL) whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (44 mL) unsalted butter, plus more, softened, for serving
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4mL) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 195ºF / 90.5ºC.

2. Combine butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Gently heat just until the butter has melted. Transfer to a large bowl. (Alternatively, microwave the butter and milk until butter is melted.)

3. Whisk in sugar and salt until dissolved. Let the mixture cool until just warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in egg and yeast.

4. Add flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Transfer dough to a lightly-floured counter and knead until dough is soft and springy, 3 to 5 minutes. Roll dough to form a ball.

5. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

6. Generously grease 8 half-pint (8oz) canning jars with non-stick oil spray or butter.

7. Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured counter. Roll into a short log. Slice log into 8 equal pieces.

8. Take one portion of dough and flatten into a square. Fold in all four corners of the square towards the center.

9. Flip square over so the seam is on the bottom. Pinch seam together with your thumb and pointer finger to form a taught ball. Roll on the counter, seam side down, to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.

10. Transfer each dough ball, seam side down, to the prepared jars. Cover jars with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

11. Place lids and bands on jars and seal until just tight (do not over-tighten jars; air will still need to escape). Place jars in water bath and sous vide for 3 hours.

Finishing Step:

1. When the timer goes off, remove the jars from the water bath with tongs and transfer to a kitchen towel. Carefully remove the lids. Flip jars and gently tap on the towel to remove the rolls. Serve with additional softened butter.

Grab the full recipe for sous vide dinner rolls here!

Finish with Delicious Dessert!

Cap off your wicked-delicious Thanksgiving meal with these killer make-ahead sous vide lemon cheesecakes. The perfect choice to make several days ahead of time, to serve simply pull out of the fridge and dive in! Feel free to scale the recipe as needed, this batch is quite large, so cut in half or quarter ingredients to suit your crowd size.

Sous Vide Lemon Cheesecake

Serves: 16

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds (900g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sugar substitute (Splenda, Swerve, etc) or sugar
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp (30g)grated lemon rind
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (240g) sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Set Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 174°F / 78.9°C.

2. Spray 16 125ml (1/2 cup) mason jars lightly with nonstick spray.

3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar substitute, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and rind.

4. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt.

5. Divide batter evenly among 16 jars, filling each not quite to the top. Place lids on finger tight! No more than finger tight to slow air to escape and prevent cracking.

6. Place filled jars in a shallow pan or tub with warm water halfway up the jar to temper them. Let sit 5 minutes and then carefully place in heated water. Sous vide for 90 minutes.

Finishing Steps:

1. Remove when done and let cool at room temperature until you can handle the jars easily. Tighten lids and place in the fridge.

2. Top with choice of toppings, if any, and serve chilled!

Grab the recipe for sous vide lemon cheesecake right here.

Chill Out

One final tip and trick before you get to cooking! At the end of your delicious meal, sip on some chilled wine or champagne, and don’t worry about having dedicated ice buckets, busting out the coolers, or wondering how to chill the warm bottles that guests have brought. Simply add some ice to your water-bath and set your device to 32°F / 0°C, flip it on, and drop your bottles in. The circulation will rapidly chill your wine or champagne, and provide a perfect ending to a wonderful day full of top-notch dishes and time with your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be sure to check out the Anova Recipes Site for more holiday ideas, also available on the Anova App. We at Anova want to wish everyone a pleasant, delicious, and stress-free Thanksgiving! Happy cooking.  

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