In fact, he says, you might end up serving up something even better.
“A lot of dishes, iconic dishes, came out of mistakes,” he explains.
Here are Samuelsson’s top tips for how to fix five common Thanksgiving mishaps so you can avoid wasting delicious food and focus on being thankful:
“Lumpy gravy, you can fix,” Samuelsson insists. “That’s the good news.”
He recommends straining the mixture through a cheese cloth or fine mesh sieve directly into a pot. Once you’ve strained out the lumps, he says to bring it back up to a simmer and stir.
The re-simmering part of this fix is important so that you cook out the flour, Samuelsson says, eliminating any traces of its flavor while keeping the body it gives the gravy.
The one that puts fear into the hearts of Thanksgiving hosts everywhere year after year is “harder” — but not impossible! — to rectify, according to Samuelsson.
A great fix for dry turkey is gravy, and the chef says it’s all in the plating.
“I would carve my turkey and then actually put the gravy right on top and maybe the dressing on top of that,” he suggests.
Build vertically, he adds, so that the liquid and moisture from both the gravy and stuffing drip down and soak into the meat.
Gummy or Mealy Mashed Potatoes
To avoid gummy mashed potatoes from the outset, Samuelsson says to mash them with a fork or ricer — not an electric tool or blender.
But, if you fell prey to the allure of easy mixing, he says the best thing to do is turn the dish into a bake.
Add it to a baking dish with a layer of butter and breadcrumbs on the bottom, fold cheese into the potatoes, top it off with more cheese and breadcrumbs and get it into the oven.
“Then, some of that gumminess will go,” he says.
If your potatoes are too mealy, he says that adding mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or roasted plantains in a one-to-one ratio with your potatoes will help to smooth out the texture.
Dry or Too-Wet Stuffing or Dressing
If your stuffing or dressing comes out too dry, Samuelsson says you likely have plenty of resources on hand to fix it.
“You will have liquid and fat from the turkey, tons of it, and it’s not all to waste,” he says.
Use the drippings and drizzle them on top of your dish before re-baking it. Additionally, you can utilize the turkey neck meat, he says, which also has natural fats and liquids that will moisten the dressing when chopped and folded in.
On the flip side, if there’s excess liquid, Samuelsson says to strain it out — not completely — and then add more vegetables and even breadcrumbs.
Specifically, he suggests, panko is ideal.
“Japanese breadcrumbs are great because they’re not heavy, they give you more texture than soaking up,” he says. “So panko with parmesan on top solves a lot of things.”
If your pie isn’t done in time for dessert, the chef says the real fix here is having some drinks ready and giving it the time it needs.
But, if it’s done cooking just not completely set, he says you should use the gooeyness to your advantage.
Rather than using whipped cream or ice cream as a topping for your pie, flip it around and use your pie as a topping for your creams or fruit.
The great thing about a pie, he says, is you can chop it up and bake it longer, turning it into a crumble. He says this works mostly because with the crunchy tart or crust and liquid-filled sweet potato or pumpkin filling, all the necessary flavors for a great dessert are already there.
“All of that can actually be layered, pressed again, baked again with a little bit of brown sugar,” he suggests.
“I guarantee, you’re almost gonna have a better dessert.”