My Thanksgiving Turkey and Side Dish
Thanksgiving is a day when we get together as a family and share our gratitude for our abundance in life. I know that my mom is grateful that I help her so she can remain independent. I know that I am grateful for my amazing job, which is a privilege to go to every day, that I am self-sufficient and that I am surrounded by many incredibly talented and brilliant people, both friends and colleagues. With that said, I will share with you my turkey from beginning to end, and the side dish I contributed to the meal.
Part One: Butter
I use one stick of butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 rounded tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped sage
1tablespoon fresh, finely chopped oregano
1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped rosemary
1+ teaspoons fresh, finely chopped sage
zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
salt and pepper
Fresh herbs and seasoned butter. The flower is just because it was pretty. Just for looks. The fresh herbs came from my former residence. Thanks, Spinner, for letting me cut fresh herbs!
Part Two: Stuffing
I stuff the turkey with slices or discs of peeled orange and lemon. I also stuff it with one onion, quartered, three smashed and peeled garlic cloves and fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano.
After removing the insides of the turkey, I thoroughly wash it and pat it dry with paper towels. I bring my seasoned and herbed butter and mayo mixture to room temperature and rub the mixture inside the cavity, under and thoroughly over the skin. At this time, then, the turkey is ready to roast. I let it side that way overnight, however, to allow the herbs to flavor the butter mixture and the turkey.
The turkey is oven ready. I placed a foil tent over the top for the first three hours.
After the first three hours at 375 degrees, I remove the foil tent.
The next half to full hour, or so, is where things went awry for my turkey. The little red device that pops out alerting you that the turkey is done never did pop out. I untied the legs and allowed it to roast a bit more, as the meat between the thigh and body was just not fully cooked. I stuck a thermometer in between the thigh and the body after a bit more time, and the temperature was still not where it should have been. I removed all of the stuffing (which smelled fantastic) and allowed it to roast yet again for a bit. The thermometer never ever reached where it was supposed to. Absolutely not sure why. I realized two things, however. First, I should have rotated the turkey so both sides roasted evenly. Due to other things going into the oven, the turkey was lopsided. Next, I realized I more than likely overstuffed the turkey, thwarting its full potential to cook thoroughly. Finally, I should have followed my gut and my nose and I should have removed the turkey and let it rest after removing the stuffing and allowing it to roast for another twenty minutes.
The most important things I learned this Thanksgiving: Follow your gut and your nose, as they know when things are done even when technology fails to support that instinct. In addition, despite that cute tv commercial where the lady rearranges her living room, kitchen and dining table to make everyone happy, you may not be able to please everyone. It is statistically impossible. Finally and most importantly, Cook what You like. The rest will fall into place if you allow it to. It sure can help alleviate the stress. I have decided that next year I am not going to have turkey, instead, I am going to prepare a hefty prime rib roast. It is clear that turkeys and I are unmixy things, so beef it is next year!!!
The turkey is done.....Finally!!! Yes, it looks much like a mummy, I know!
My Side Dish: Prosciutto Wrapped Green Beans:
I started by washing and blanching about four cups of green beans. I blanched them for about three minutes and then let them chill down and stop the cooking process in an ice bath. They remained quite bright green! I tossed the beans in a medium bowl with extra virgin olive oil, three cloves of garlic, finely chopped, and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I wrapped the green beans in prosciutto and sopped up the oil mixture at the bottom of the bowl with my little packets of beans. I sprinkled the packets with some of the leftover garlic and roasted for 18 minutes at 400 degrees. They were just Delicious, if I don't say so, myself.
I hope your Thanksgiving was full of happiness, gratitude and the sense of belonging to something wonderful, regardless of how wild and whacky your family might be. We all have that going on, I am quite sure, in some form or another. I hope you take Christmas dinner, if you have it or celebrate it, easy and enjoy making what pleases you. Your joy of cooking will come out in your food like a shard of light piercing dense clouds after a storm. Sounds silly, I get it, but it is true. That is when you will have no stress over cooking and your guests will simply see your love coming through to them in your food and your relaxed smile. Enjoy!!!