… which is different than stuffing in that it’s not edible. Mostly.
First – safe and happy travels & happy feasting for all celebrating Thanksgiving this week.
Traffic was wonderfully light between Providence and Boston today coming in. I had to make the drive because my company is extremely generous and wonderful and bought us fresh turkeys for tomorrow’s feast. And well – just picture me lugging a 20-24 lb. turkey on the MBTA.
Yeah… amusing, isn’t it? And a tad weird and stupid.
So I threw a keg tub into the car (since it is a fresh turkey, and I don’t know what the packaging is going to be like getting it home…), headed on up – got here somewhere in the 70-80 minute range, which is QUITE good for rush hour. I parked next door, since the mudlots are all torn up and have limited parking at the mo’.
And at some point in the next couple hours, they’ll start passing out turkeys. I’ll get the car out of hock, swing it around the building, pick up said turkey, go over to my post office box that hasn’t been checked in months, get whatever mail is piled there, and start the 50+ mile trek back home.
Traffic may be interesting this afternoon… hopefully not too bad, but it is I-95. You never know.
My afternoon/evening will be spent thusly:
1) Cooking the brine for my turkey
2) Finishing up my beta read on fic – getting that back to the author
3) Getting a tablecloth & napkins for tomorrow’s feast (I don’t have enough with any of my sets and they’re the wrong table shape)
4) Tidying up the house for tomorrow.
5) Getting turkey into the brine sometime 10-ish so it can soak overnight.
And if anyone’s looking for recipes, here’s the batch of ones I’m making:
Mel’s Thanksgiving Turkey
This is based on, but not exact to, the Alton Brown recipe on Good Eats.
15-20 lbs turkey
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 gallon water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
Peel of one navel orange.
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried thyme
One can chicken broth (optional)
1 large red apple, quartered
2 medium white onions, quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
In a large pot stir together the stock, water, brown sugar, salt, all spice, black pepper, cinnamon, orange peel, and thyme. Bring to a boil, turn to medium heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. (this will take a while– give yourself at least 3 hours before the next step).
Place the turkey in a clean 5 gallon bucket and pour the brine over it. Cover and let sit over night. Flip the turkey in the morning, a few hours before cooking. Remove it from the brine, rinse it gently to remove any excess salt, pat dry and place it in its baking pan. Rub the entire bird liberally with canola oil.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, place the red, onions, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary (and/or fresh thyme). Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup water and microwave on high for 7 minutes.
Place the apple, onions, cinnamon sticks, and thyme or rosemary inside the turkey cavity. If desired. place a long stalk of rosemary resting along each leg for additional flavor.
Preheat oven to 500F. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes until it gets a golden brown color. Turn heat down to 350F. Tent a piece of tin foil over the breast of the turkey. Add can of chicken broth to the bottom of the roasting pan (for help making gravy from drippings). Bake for 2 1/2-3 hours more or until the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 161F.
Remove turkey form the oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes or so before carving.
Apple and Sausage Stuffing
1 lb ground sausage meat
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
10 cups cubed bread (stale works best)
2 onions, sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into small cubes
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1) Cook sausage until no longer pink, about 10 min, stir often.
2) Drain most of the fat (leave about a tablespoon).
3) Add onions and celery, cook another 3 minutes.
4) Stir in apples, sage, thyme, and marjoram, cook another 5 minutes.
5) Add 1 cup of chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
6) Remove from heat, stir in bread, parsley, salt and pepper.
7) Spoon into a lightly greased casserole dish. Note:(This recipe can be made ahead to this point, it will keep in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer for 2 weeks. If frozen, thaw in fridge before baking).
8) Bake, covered, in 325 deg. oven for about 40 minutes Halfway through cooking time, drizzle with the remaining chicken stock.
9) Remove the lid and bake 10 more mins, until the stuffing has a crusty top and is heated through.
Cream Cheese Baked Mashed Potatoes
This is a basic recipe – and fun to play with. I’ve mixed in garlic, other cheese, chives, etc. with this, and it all comes out wonderful.
6 lbs yukon gold potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons onion salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1) Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes and boil in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, then stir in the sour cream, milk and spices.
2) Drain and mash the potatoes in the pot, then stir in the cream cheese mixture.
3) Spoon into a casserole dish or a 9×13 pan. Dust top with paprika. Note: You may cover it and refrigerate for 24 hours, or proceed to baking right away.
4) Bake covered with foil at 350 for 45 min. Increase the time if the dish has been chilled.
Whee – turkeys are nearly ready! Rock! *runs off to get work done so she can go home*