The large-capacity Convection ovens that are standard these days evolved in large part because of consumer demand for larger ovens to accommodate the cooking of a turkey and all the side dishes. However, despite the oven being larger, it's actually the Convection system that makes orchestrating the preparation of a Thanksgiving feast much easier.
How Convection Makes Cooking a Large Feast Easier
If you follow the steps I have outlined for roasting a turkey in Convection then you know that you will have at least 50 minutes for resting, carving and gravy-making after the bird comes out of the oven. Side dishes such as stuffing, roasted vegetables and other casseroles take approximately 40 minutes to bake and if you select a Convection mode then you can cook them at the same time. Imagine everything hot and ready to serve at the same time, nothing could be easier.
Choosing the Side Dishes for a Thanksgiving Feast
There are so many great recipes for side dishes to serve with a turkey it can be overwhelming to choose one. The best side dishes are of course ones that can be prepared in advance and baked in an oven to table serving dish. That way you don’t have to transfer food to a serving dish as it comes out of the oven and the less chaos and mess in the kitchen the better.
This Potato Gratin with Swiss Chard is definitely a dish that is best made ahead and re-heated before serving. You will need a mandolin or sharp knife to slice the potatoes but otherwise it’s very easy to prepare and because it’s made with a combination of stock and cream it’s not too calorie laden. The potatoes may not be mashed but they do melt together beautifully and you can easily cut elegant portions for serving.
The Harvest medley combines seasonal vegetables together with a wild rice blend and some nuts, in essence it’s part stuffing part roasted vegetables in one dish, most importantly it’s delicious.
If you don’t have time to prepare any dishes in advance you can easily roast a medley of root vegetables to serve with the turkey and steam or roast some green beans, the important thing to remember is that you can cook multiple dishes at one time in your Convection oven.
Which Convection Mode Should I Choose to Cook Oven Side Dishes?
If your oven only has a Convection Bake mode then choose that mode for roasting the turkey and baking the side dishes. If your oven has a Convection Bake and a Convection Roast mode use the Convection Bake mode for cooking the side dishes.
Tips for Cooking Multiple Dishes at One Time in Convection
If you have loaded the oven up with several casserole dishes and a tray of vegetables to roast place the tray of vegetables in the lower part of the oven and the casseroles in the upper part.
If you are roasting some quick cooking vegetables such as green beans or Brussels sprouts they can be roasted in the middle of the oven between the other two racks.
When a large capacity oven is loaded with multiple trays you may get better results if you increase the oven temperature by 10 - 15 degrees.
Just keep in mind your Convection oven is a great tool for roasting a turkey and cooking all the oven side dishes at one time, make a cooking plan, get as much advance prep done as you can so you can relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving.
If you are baking during the holidays in my next post I will review some important things to keep in mind when baking in Convection.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast