Monday, February 11, 2008

Thanksgiving dinnerUPDATED

2/10/08--I made this last night, and in the last hour I melted the extra half stick of butter (from the potatoes) and poured it over the turkey for a little added flava. It didn't make a huge difference, but it was a nice little surprise for the discerning palate, and it turned out lovely. The meat fell off the bone, literally. Yummy!

This recipe comes courtesy of my Senior Transitions (read: the most useless high school class ever--although I have often wished for a similar class being required for seniors graduating from college) teacher, Mrs. Tilley. I've used this recipe twice now, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I'm using it again this weekend, and let me tell you this: I expect part of it is just the satisfaction of cooking a wholesome, delicious meal successfully, but this turkey is the most delicious and moist food I have ever tasted. And so easy! Both my brother and Tim can vouch for its deliciosity (yeah, I made up a word. Deal with it). Without further ado, I give you TURKEY (and side dishes):

1 medium turkey (10-15 pounds-ish. I always get the Fred Meyer brand and it hasn't steered me wrong yet.)
1 large onion
1 apple (I use green ones, but use whatever you want)
1 stick of butter
1/2 a bottle of blush wine (for those of you not in the know (like me) that means choose a wine that's pink, not red or white. I always use Sutter Home's white zin. )
Poultry seasoning

Preheat your oven to 325F. Remove neck, gizzard, and giblets (all the gross stuff). You will probably want rubber gloves for this job. Rinse the bird thoroughly with cold water, and then make sure all the water comes out of the cavity. Lightly salt the cavity. Cut the apple and onion into quarters and put in the cavity. (I also like to rub the onion over the outside of the bird once before it goes inside.) Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave, mix it with the wine and pour over the surface of the turkey. Lightly salt and season the bird. Cover with tinfoil and baste every hour with juices from the pan. (It'll tell you on the turkey package about how long to cook your bird, but mine usually needs about four hours.) I leave mine uncovered for the last hour. The skin will get pretty dark, but make sure you wait for the little timer to pop! I promise it will. Also, let your turkey stand for at least ten minutes before you slice it up.
Difficulty: 2. Make sure you don't slice into your thumb like I did.


Neck and gizzards
Two onions
Two carrots
Four stalks of celery
1/2 a stick of butter
Bread cubes
Salt and pepper
Poultry seasoning

Fill a pot with water, add the neck and gizzards. Add one onion, two carrots, and celery tops. (You're going to throw all that out at the end, so don't worry about chopping it all up too much.) Boil. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, and set it all aside. Melt butter in a large pan, sautee the other onion and garlic until the onion turns clear. Add chopped celery stalks and cook five minutes. Add salt, pepper, and seasoning to taste. Put in bread cubes and one cup of the water from the gizzards. Mix until you reach the desired consistency, then bake in an oven safe bowl for 20-30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, fish all the junk out of your pot of water and toss it. (If you choose, you can include the gizzards and neck in the stuffing, but that grosses me out, so I leave it out.)
Difficulty: 3

As soon as you put the stuffing in the oven (hopefully you can fit it in with the turkey--if not, no worries. Wait until the turkey comes out and put the stuffing in), start the MASHED POTATOES.

Six large Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 Stick butter

Peel potatoes and cut into roughly similar sized cubes. Drop in your stuffing water with some salt, and boil until a fork easily goes through one of the bigger pieces (at least 30 minutes, maybe more). Using a slotted spoon, pull the potatoes out and put into another bowl. SAVE THE WATER. Season with salt and pepper, and have fun mashing. Use milk to achieve your desired smoothness.
Difficulty: 4, only because the mashing takes a lot of work.

Skim any fat from the turkey pan and place in a saucepan. Mix one cup of water with one tablespoon of cornstarch together, stirring until smooth. Add to saucepan. Add one cup of potato water and bring to a boil. Season to taste and strain into a gravy bowl. This will need about 20 minutes to thicken and cool a little.
Difficulty: 3. I'm not a gravy maestro, so I'm never really sure what it should taste like.


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