Thanksgiving 2017

So first I must apologize up front for not taking more food pictures, but I have a good excuse! I was caught up with family!! That’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right?? Well, that and delicious food!! And it all starts with the turkey.

I’ve been in charge of the turkey for the last several years. Probably close to ten years, now that I think about it. Ok, wow, just felt old. Whatever, I love doing the turkey!! And it starts the night before. I clean it, talk to it, and rub it down. This time I did a dry brine of kosher salt and brown sugar.

I covered it in plastic and put it back in the fridge til our hot date in the morning! I was so excited to get up and start cooking Thanksgiving morning I just couldn’t wait. I did, however, sleep a little later than expected. I rinsed all the salt and sugar off and got the bird ready for its coating. I typically go with some form of citrus and herbs.

I decided to make a paste of sorts to shellack the bird in. I mixed a garlic herb butter with rosemary, sage, and paprika to cover the bird with. Be sure to rub it under the skin on the breasts too in order to really flavor them.

Then I grabbed a whole navel orange and zested it over the bird and into a bowl (zest in the bowl for the basting liquids). I squeezed about half of the juice over the bird.

I squeezed the other half into the bowl with the zest. Then I stuffed the remainder of the orange in pieces into the bird, along with a cut up onion and several sprigs of fresh rosemary.

The herb, onion, and orange medley inside the bird makes for great aromatics. I closed off the cavity with a couple turkey pins.

Then that big sucker went into the oven on 325. It was huge for me, a 21 pounder. Kid of a back strainer. I made a basting bowl of the orange zest and juice, some chopped up fresh rosemary, more garlic herb butter, and some apple cider.

Once the bird is in, I let it do the first hour without interruption. I went for a run and for some Starbucks during this time. Then, it gets basted every half hour. This size bird took about 5 hours.

Lookin good after its first hour! While the bird is doing its thing, all else gets put together! I made my Southern Comfort sweet potatoes, as they’re always a big hit. I started by boiling the taters, skin on (super easy to peel after they boil).

Once boiled, let cool a bit until you can touch them enough to peel the skins off. Then mash up with butter, maple syrup (I used a delicious smoked maple syrup by Sugar Bob’s Finest), and yes, you guessed it, Southern Comfort!

Don’t worry, the alcohol cooks out. Or worry. Either way, it becomes kid friendly. I mixed it all up good and spread into a baking dish, then drizzled some more maple syrup on top.

Bake for about an hour. Then this was where things got exciting. I had a new culinary torch I wanted to try out.

So I sprinkled some brown crystallized raw sugar on top that I knew would work well for brûlée.

I took a video of the torching! Hopefully it comes through here!!

It was so cool, and yes, the Goldens photobombed as usual. Ta-da!!

The sugar crusted up great and it became a sweet potato brûlée. Yum!! The turkey was on its way to perfection.

Nice looking, bout mid-way through. My sister put together some Brussel sprouts with butternut squash and bacon with a maple glaze.

She also made roasted garlic potatoes and showed me the ricing technique. Makes em super fluffy!!

My mom had made her delicious soup, grandma’s epic stuffing, and a tasty tart cranberry sauce and I’m an idiot for not getting pictures!! Too focused on the bird I guess! Look at that!

Done! Let it rest for at least 30-40 minutes before carving. I only carved up about a third of it for the plating. Starting with a drumstick.

Wow, it was fall-off-the-bone tender. Then I cut off some more dark meat for a little dark meat section (my fave) and gently cut away the breast to slice up and plate among the white meat section.

I’m always impressed with myself when the turkey is juicy, this one definitely did not disappoint. I picked off some savory, mouthwatering bits of flavor-saturated skin and then let the gang dig in!!

Lots I didn’t cover, again, my apologies for that. Not even one pic of all the delicious pies my mom made!!

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!! Stay tuned for things to do with leftover turkey!!

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