TRAVERSE CITY — Becky Graham welcomed customers from behind the Holiday Table at Lucky’s Market and helped them place their Thanksgiving meal orders.
Samples of green beans almondine and blueberry pie — two of the store’s holiday offerings — tempted passing shoppers.
“It started slow, but as more people learn about it, it’s been getting busier,” said Graham, a front-end cashier who also staffs the Holiday Table.
The market, which opened in March, rolled out its first holiday order menu Nov. 1. On Wednesday it began filling deli cases with the traditional dishes: roast turkey, classic mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, traditional herb stuffing and green beans almondine.
It’s the same holiday menu Lucky’s offers customers at its 26 other stores across the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest and Southeast, said Karin Boyd, head of the Traverse City store’s Holiday Table. That’s because it’s a formula that works, said store Culinary Manager Guy Sidey.
“The food is very down-home. It’s approachable by everybody,” he said. “It’s simple food, executed well.”
Customers who like to spend holidays in the kitchen can order fresh all-natural or organic free-range turkeys, Sidey said. But those who prefer to do something else on Thanksgiving Day can let Lucky’s do the cooking instead.
Holiday order options include an all-natural turkey, a sides package or a turkey with all the trimmings, including turkey gravy and potato rolls.
“It arrives cooked to perfection and ready to reheat for beautiful, crispy skin,” said Sidey, who plans to take home his own Lucky’s holiday meal to share with his wife, his cousin and his father-in-law.
Other holiday options include individual dishes from the deli counter or a Thanksgiving meal-for-two from the nearby grab-and-go case. Both feature herb-roasted turkey breast prepared in-house and the same sides as on the order menu.
“I think there’s a lot of young professionals that aren’t able to go home for the holiday or don’t have time to (cook),” said Sidey, who wishes he would have had the options when he was a student working through the Thanksgiving break. “It gives them a taste of home without requiring any forethought or effort.”
The holiday dishes are prepared with Lucky’s touches like the made-in-house artisan bread cubed for the stuffing, the Yukon gold potatoes mashed with cream and butter, the garlic and slivered almonds tossed with the green beans, and the fresh, whole cranberries.
But the dishes are less complex and more familiar than the 12-component salads and other dishes Sidey formerly created as executive chef at a high-end San Francisco market.
“We are doing a much more traditional approach here,” he said. “We’re really streamlining so we’re going to deliver on our promise. The food offers fantastic quality, but it’s approachable.”
The holiday order deadline is Nov. 17. Prices range from $24.99 for a holiday side package and $49.99 for a 12-14-pound turkey to $69.99 for a complete holiday meal. Each option feeds four to six.
Nine-inch pies — apple, blueberry, peach, pecan and pumpkin — can be ordered separately for $5.99 to $8.99.
Orders can be placed in-store at the Holiday Table or online at luckysmarket.com/holiday.
But never fear: “If someone doesn’t like green beans they can substitute more mashed potatoes,” Boyd said.
Holiday Dressing from Lucky’s Market
1 lb. Lucky’s artisan bread (preferably day old; savory variety without cheese or olives)
3/4 C. butter
2 medium white onions (3/4” dice)
2-3 celery stalks (sliced into 1/4” thick half moons)
1/2 C. flat leaf parsley (coarse chop)
2 T. fresh sage (chopped)
2 t. fresh rosemary (chopped)
1 T. fresh thyme (chopped)
2 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper (ground)
2 1/2 C. Lucky’s chicken stock (divided)
Cut bread into large 1-inch cubes. Arrange bread cubes, single layer, on a baking sheet and place in 275-degree oven. Toast bread, stirring often, until all moisture has evaporated and the bread cubes are golden brown (approximately 40 minutes). Remove from oven, cool.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then sauté the onions and celery until tender and just beginning to brown at the edges.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes and the sautéed onion/celery mixture; add the fresh herbs, half of the Lucky’s Chicken Stock, salt black pepper; mix thoroughly.
Combine eggs with remaining Lucky’s Chicken Stock and add to dressing; mix thoroughly.
Place stuffing into a 13×9 glass or ceramic baking dish, cover with foil and place into 325 degree oven.
Bake until stuffing is heated through and the temperature in the center of stuffing is 145 degrees (approximately 40 minutes). Remove foil from pan and continue to bake for an additional 8-10 minutes to brown and crisp the top.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!