Thanksgiving is yet another way for me to remember how good I have it when it comes to friends. I must’ve done something right in my past life because I am blessed with some amazing people in my life. For that, I will eternally be grateful. And I’m grateful to have the means to feed a large group (not without help) of these friends, all hungry for Thanksgiving meal.
Turkey’s never looked better. Or tasted better. When we carved it, the juices ran clear and flooded the pan. We tasted the breast meat, and our knees went weak. This was turkey to be reckoned with.
Thanksgiving this year went smoothly and without a hitch. There was turkey. There were three cheesecakes. There was the now traditional and requested porcini mushroom soup. The chestnut stuffing. The spicy baked acorn squash. The apple celery salad. Cranberry relish with lemon zest and Cointreau. Apple pear pie. Pumpkin Souffle Bread Pudding so delicious, it disappeared almost instantly with people clamoring for more. And more.
I didn’t have a single meltdown. I was cool and composed and even wore my cooking frock.
And in the end we fed 27 people, all of whom ate a good meal with some good friends. The turkey, dubbed as TheBeast weighed 26 pounds and there wasn’t a scrap of it left by night’s end.
This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s method of preparing a turkey. I have three golden rules of making sure that the turkey comes out right each and every time:
The rest, is fairly easy stuff.
1. Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with herbed, salted and peppered butter. What herbs you use, is up to you, but I’m a fan of dill and rosemary. Now, make sure the put some of that butter where you might feel embarrassed to: under the skin of the bird as far down as you can reach. Tie the legs together with some twine.
2. Pour a cup of orange juice in the pan, add to it a sliced apple, quartered lemon, sliced onion, and chopped shallots.
3. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15-30 minutes before carving.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings