Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thanksgiving in October!

I consider myself to be a Thanksgiving feast expert. I make at least six full blown Thanksgiving meals each fall/winter. While I enjoy the turkey, what I really love is the side dishes, especially the stuffing and mashed potatoes. I also love how the house smells of delicious food all day. Cooking a turkey is not as difficult as some may tell you. The key is to make sure you baste it often and to take it out of the oven when it reaches the specified temperature. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests. In no time you will have yourself a plump, juicy turkey!

Herb Rubbed Turkey

1 whole turkey (about 12 pounds)
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
Salt, coarse
Ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Set rack in the lowest position. Place turkey on roasting rack in a large roasting pan.

Loosely fill the cavity with four cups of stuffing (recipe to follow). Using kitchen twine, tie legs together securely. Rub all over with butter, seasoning, and salt and pepper. I pitch the neck/giblets because I think it is absolutely 100% disgusting to even look at, let alone cook and use for whatever. No thanks.

Cover turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Roast 1 hour, then baste with pan juices every 30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding bone) reads 125 degrees, 2 to 3 hours total .

Remove foil. Raise oven heat to 400 degrees. Roast, basting every 15 minutes until the thermometer reads 170 degrees, about 45 minutes to an hour or more. The temperature will rise about 10 degrees as the turkey rests. If browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Add more water if pan becomes dry.

Transfer turkey to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes before carving. Reserve pan drippings for gravy.


2 loaves Italian bread (10 ounces each), cut into bite size pieces
4 tbsp butter, room temperature, plus more for baking dish
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
30 ounces chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut bread into bite sized pieces. Arrange bread in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets, bake until crisp, about 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

In a large saucepan, melt butte rover medium heat. Add celery, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine and cook until evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

To vegetables in bowl, add bread, parsley, and eggs. Season w/ 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Stir to combine. Mix in half of the broth. Continue to add more broth just until stuffing is moist but not wet.

Just before roasting turkey, stuff it with 4 cups of stuffing. Spoon remaining stuffing into a buttered 8 inch square baking dish. Cover with buttered aluminum foil and refrigerate. When turkey is removed from oven to rest, place covered baking dish in over and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and back until golden, about 15 minutes.

Herbed Mashed Potatoes

4lbs Yukon gold potatoes
Coarse salt
1 3/4 cups half and half
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 1 ince and add 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain, return potatoes to pot.

Stir potatoes over medium heat until dry about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, combine half and half and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour half of the hot liquid over potatoes. Mash just until smooth, adding more liquid to reach desired consistency. Sitre in parsley and chives. Season with salt. Garnsih with more herbs.

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