Here are some basic recipes for the thanksgiving meal followed by a few creative ones.
Roast turkey. (10ppl)
1 gal water
1 cup kosher salt
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ t thyme
½ t sage
½ t black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg, rosemary and marjoram
Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 cup hot water in a small sauce pan. Add cold water and ice to make 1 gallon and mix in all the seasoning. Let brine cool.
Rinse turkey and place in a large enough plastic bag to hold turkey and brine. Place the bag with turkey and brine in a bucket or pan inside refrigerator overnight, 24 hours before you will cook it.
Next day, remove turkey from brine and rinse. Pat turkey dry and place in roasting pan, let dry for at least one hour.
Season with poultry spice (mix ½ t thyme, ½ t sage, ½ t black pepper and pinch each of rosemary, marjoram snd nutmeg)
Place in preheated 350 oven for 15 minutes/lb, check with meat thermometer by thigh, cook to 165 degrees.
Remove from oven and rest 30 min. Carve and serve.
In the above pictures I am roasting the turkey breast on the bone and I have boned out the leg, seasoned and rolled it. This makes it easy to lop of one breast and slice it up on the cutting board and open one package of leg and slice it up as well.
2 quarts of turkey stock.
½ cup butter melted
½ cup flour
½ Tablespoon turkey seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
1.5 Tablespoon salt
For good gravy you need stock. Use the wings or wing tips, neck and giblet for making the stock. Roast the neck, wings and giblets first until they get a nice brown color. (you can often find necks, wings and bones for sale around the holidays for this use)
Put the turkey parts along with 1 gallon of water, ½ carrot, ½ onion, 1 stalk of celery, 8 peppercorns, ½ teaspoon each of thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram.
Simmer the stock until the bones fall apart at the joints usually about 3-4 hours and top up the water as needed so the pot does not become dry. You want it to reduce a bit and end up with about 2 quarts of stock.
Strain the stock well and skim off most of the fat off the top.
In a 4 quart pot, melt butter over low heat and whisk the flour into it. Cook the mix gently over low heat for a 2-3 minutes, it should be lightly brown. Cool the flour butter mix to room temperature, then whisk in 5-6 cups warm stock. Let the gravy simmer slowly while stirring to make sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn.
Season the gravy with ½ tablespoon of turkey spice (sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary), ½ teaspoon black pepper and 1.5 Tablespoon salt. You should cook it 20-30 minutes to get rid of any flour taste. Sample the gravy and adjust the seasoning to your liking. The extra 2 cups of stock can be used to thin the gravy if it is too thick or to dilute it in case it gets too salty. This is why you do not salt stock when making it.
Strain the gravy and it is ready to serve.
Use red potatoes, white potatoes or even Russet (bake) potatoes which will all mash well, avoid yellow potatoes like Yukon gold as they are waxy and can be difficult to mash.
5 lbs potatoes peeled
Water for boiling
1 Tablespoon salt
1 ¼ cup milk warm
1 ½ stick of butter soft
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Peel the potatoes and cook them whole in enough water to cover by at least 1 inch, add the tablespoon of salt.
Cook the potatoes until they get mushy, about 35-45 minutes. There should be no firm parts. (if you drain them and find some are still not fully cooked, bring water to boil and return them to cooking until done)
Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl or back in the cooking pot.
The potatoes should be soft and easy to mash by hand. Mash and them quickly first, then add the butter, milk, pepper and salt. Now stir them up well with the masher or a spoon, taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
I often use some sour cream instead of some of the milk for a nice flavor.
Mixing potatoes with a mixer can make them gluey as it will develop gluten strands from the starch. Quick mixing will minimize any risk or that. Undercooked potatoes will often end up gluey and lumpy. Other reasons for gluey and lumpy potatoes can be using cold milk and trying to mash the potatoes after adding the milk.
So we have the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes covered and a drink in hand from yesterdays installment.
Next we will tackle sides and dessert.