Well, another great turnout for dinner, education and worship at Calvary Lutheran Church last night. We served 600 meals of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and cupcakes in four flavors. What goes into preparing a Thanksgiving feast for 600 people? Here’s a short synopsis:
On Monday morning the Sysco order arrives on the delivery truck and the cooking begins. 120 pounds of sweet potatoes are washed, baked, peeled and mashed. These go into the refrigerator to await becoming a casserole on Wednesday. Also on Monday, chicken breasts are cooked and shredded for the dressing and the broth is saved for making gravy.
On Tuesday morning, a volunteer group of 10 show up at 9:30 ready to cook. By 1:00 they have prepared 14 large pans of homemade cornbread, 74 dozen cupcakes, rinsed and brined all the turkeys, and set up the serving tables in the dining room.
On Wednesday morning at 7am, the smoker gets fired up with wood and charcoal by Kim Balay, and the turkeys get seasoned and buttered and go into the smoker for about 7 hours. Thanks to Dan Ferber for manning the smoker from 8am to noon. At 1:00, more volunteers arrive and the many recipes are divided up. The dressing is mixed up by hand and put into the oven to bake for an hour and a half, the sweet potato casserole is whipped up in the mixer and it goes into the oven too. The gravy is made and put into roasters to keep warm.
The frosting is made and the cupcake extravaganza begins…
A fine team of turkey carvers made short work of all that turkey just before dinnertime on Wednesday…
At 4:15, Connie has the water boiling and she begins cooking 96 pounds of green beans. The potato pearls are mixed with hot water, cream cheese and sour cream and put into the insulated warmers. And then dinner is served:
Recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole for 6 servings:
Sweet Potato Casserole: 6 servings
3 cups baked, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes (about 1 ½#)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 2 qt. casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until hot and browned.
Sweet Potato Casserole for a Crowd:
Sweet Potato Casserole 300 servings
12 half size disposable pans, ½ cup per serving, approx 24 servings per pan
140 cups mashed sweet potatoes (120# sweet potatoes, baked and peeled)
15 cups brown sugar (5#, lightly packed)
80 eggs lightly beaten (6 dozen plus 8)
15 TBSP vanilla
12 1/2 cups whole milk (or more if needed)
5# melted butter
Divide into 5 batches to combine in mixer. Beat until smooth.
28 cups sweet potatoes
3 cups brown sugar
16 eggs, lightly beaten
3 TBSP vanilla
2 ½ cups whole milk
1# melted butter
Pour into a buttered pans. Bake at 325 for 45 min until hot. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake an additional 30 minutes to brown.
Topping: (Add after 45 min of cooking so top doesn’t burn)
8 cups brown sugar (5 1/3# lightly packed)
4 cup flour
1 1/2# melted butter