Good afternoon everyone and happy Thanksgiving! I really enjoy this holiday for the simple reason it is time we set aside every year to spend with our families and friends and share food—of course I find plenty of other opportunities during the year to do this anyway, yet I still enjoy this tradition. I will be spending the day with my grandmother Pauline, my parents, boyfriend and my sister. This is the first year I have convinced my mom to let me bring the turkey; a 16 pound organic bird. My mom thought I might not be up to making it but having done it before, I feel pretty confident. Plus, I love to cook and I’m not intimidated by some bird. Here is how I like to make the thanksgiving turkey in the 12-18lb range:
Make sure to thaw it out 2-3 days before the morning you want to cook it. (At my family’s house we have light snacks during the day and then have dinner around 7 so you can get up in the morning and start cooking the turkey then.) Remove the turkey neck and giblets (of course I save these for use later but if you don’t want them for other recipes like soups or giblet stuffing then discard or give to your dog).
In a large bowl, combine:
1 &1/2 chopped granny smith apples
1 large yellow onion
fresh sage, diced
Mix all items together with some olive oil (or melted butter), along with salt and pepper to taste. Set this aside and pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a large pan, place the turkey, breast side down. Rub the skin with additional seasonings like salt, pepper, rosemary, sage and olive oil or butter then fill the cavity with the apple, onion stuffing you have set aside. Add 2 cups turkey (or chicken stock) to the bottom of the pan and cover the whole turkey with an aluminum foil tent. Every half hour or so, remove the foil and pour the juices over the turkey. After about 3-4 hours remove the aluminum foil and let the meat roast until the meaty part of the thigh reads a temperature of 180 degrees (another 1-2 hours). When the meat thermometer gives you this reading, remove the turkey and let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
I prepare my turkey stuffing with apples, onions, and herbs because I like the sweet and savory flavors from this combination that permeate the turkey as it is cooked. Finally, I make the breaded stuffing on the side with celery, mushrooms, and onions instead of putting it in the turkey.
Hope this inspires you with the confidence you need to make the big dish for your family gathering. It is not that difficult, it just takes some time. You can do it.
Thanks everyone and have a great week.