Turkey Dinner .

Turkey Dinner .

Turkey Dinner
With the holiday season fast approaching, it is a good thing to start looking for your free range turkey and putting in your order. I like to make a trip to the usual last weekend of the area farm markets and pick up all my pantry items from the farm vendors.
One of the first meals I ever cooked for guests was a roast turkey dinner. Some chefs stuff the bird with a bread stuffing and cook covered at low temperature for several hours to keep the meat from becoming too dry. Other chefs roast breast side down to keep the breast meat moist. A few chefs have deep fried whole turkeys, bbq them and slow smoked the birds with tasty results. I roast my turkey using this simple method because it gets the best results with the less amount failure and stress to produce a tasty moist turkey. Follow these next steps and it should produce a moist tasty bird and flavourful stuffing. Thaw a frozen bird in the fridge starting several days ahead to retain the most moisture and limit bacteria.
When using a fresh air dried non medicated bird, keep cool till ready to season. Super market purchased turkeys are grown specially for Thanksgiving and are the most widely used, but also come pre-stuffed and basted for the convenience. Cooking time differs when roasting a larger bird due to its meat to bone ratio. Some birds have bigger thighs and legs while other turkeys have a more breast meat. Make sure the bird has lots of room in the pan and is not touching the sides.
You will need;
1 turkey approx. 12/14 lbs.
8 strips double smoked bacon cut into small pieces
1 large Spanish onion small dice chopped
2 ribs of celery small dice chopped
1 large loaf of day old bread, crust removed and cut into cubes and place in a large bowl.
1 cup melted unsalted butter on hand
1 litre of low salt chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
2 tbs flour
2 eggs lightly beaten.
DRY RUB MIX
1 tbs of chicken bouillon powder or paste
2 tbs kosher salt
2 tbs pepper
2 tbs fresh dried sage.
1 tbs fresh dried thyme Place in a bowl and mix well, set aside.
Start by removing the neck, liver and gizzard from the cavity.
Wash the bird under cold tap water and pat dry with paper towels.
With the dry rub mixture massage into the skin as well as placing some into the cavity.
Now let the turkey rest in the fridge for 2 hours so as the spices will flavour the meat.
For the stuffing.
In a large skillet heat to medium high then add a small amount of olive oil and butter, then add the neck. Chop up the liver, gizzard,[if you like] bacon and stir in. Sauté until lightly browned.
Now add the chopped onions, celery and season with some of the rub mixture and continue to sauté till the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and remove the neck and place into the bird’s cavity.
Now pour the remaining mixture over the cubed bread.
Now pour over the milk and some of the chicken stock with the beaten eggs a little at a time and mix and toss till well coated.
You should have a bowl full of moist but not soggy dressing.
 Add fresh bread crumbs if it is to moist. Place into a buttered casserole dish and cover with the lid. Set aside.
You may use this to stuff the bird in the traditional way, but when you do this it greatly increases the birds cooking time and soaks up all the flavourful juices.
I believe the stuffing then tastes better than the dried out bird when done this way.
I place the seasoned stuffing into the oven during the last hour and a half while the bird is still roasting.
Now in a large roast pan place the well-seasoned bird and place breast side up. In a preheated hot 350 degree oven on the bottom shelf place the roast pan and set timer for one hour. After the first hour has past, slide the shelf out and baste the bird with a pastry brush dipped into a half cup of equal butter and chicken stock mixed together. Repeat this procedure again in the next hour. Reset timer for one hour.
Your turkey should now have a nice browned skin.
Lower heat to 325 if the skin is too brown.
ce the stuffing into the oven on the top shelf or beside and bake for the next hour and a half. Baste the turkey one last time with the pan juices, after basting place a large sheet of tin foil over the bird covering it loosely. and continue to cook for an hour and a half more for a total cooking time of three and a half hours.
Check the doneness by twisting a leg. If the leg gives easily the turkey should be done. If not sure you should check with a thermometer at 185 degrees. Turn off oven.
When fully cooked remove from the roast pan onto a heated platter, cover with the tin foil and a thick kitchen towel.
Let rest for at least 15 minutes so the juices settle.
Carve just before serving remove the neck and set aside.
The roast pan should contain fat and the juices from the bird for the gravy. Skim off the fat and mix in an equal amount of flour to it and then blend it back into the remaining pan juices add the remaining chicken stock and bring to a rolling simmer on the stove top.
Continue stirring then add the neck back in for extra flavour. Continue to stir and cook for ten minutes then season for taste. Use some chicken base for flavour and required salt and pepper. The pan gravy should be held warm and ready to serve. While the bird is getting ready to be carved up place the Mashed Potatoes, sautéed Brussels Sprouts with bacon and fried onions into serving dishes.
Tasty Cranberries.
It’s quick and easy, so unless you’re devoted to the super-sweet jelled version that comes out of a can, whip up a batch for Thanksgiving.
2 lb. raw whole cranberries, washed and picked over
3  cups sugar
3   cups water
1 cup orange juice
Zest of one orange;
Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until the berries are softened and the sauce has thickened, about half an hour. Transfer to a bowl, then chill until ready to serve; the sauce will keep, refrigerated, for a week.
Makes a great omelette filling with some turkey and stuffing and a great glaze for pork or ham also.
Place the cranberry sauce and oven warmed bread and butter on the table. Serve it buffet counter style carving desired pieces of the turkey from the roast or pre-cut onto a platter and serve family style right from the celebratory table setting.
Darn Delicious Garlic Mash Potato
This is how I was taught to make garlic mash potato. It was my signature way of getting a great tasting startch on to a plate that stood up with whatever it was sided with.
A good helping of mash potato topped with a good gravy carried alot of us cooks through a 14 hour stand on your feet in one spot all day short order cooking. It hit the spot. Not too many people I know don’t like mash potato, especially garlic mashed! With Thanksgiving coming up, you always need a good side of mashed potatoes to take on that turkey gravy.
Here’s what you will need;
1 fresh bulb of garlic
8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even chunks
1/2 pint single cream (light cream or half-and-half)
4 tbs unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Slice off the top of the bulb of garlic and place a little olive oil onto the exposed cloves. Place in a microwavable bowl and heat on high for 3/4 minutes till soft .
Now with a clean towel squeeze the hot mushy garlic cloves back into the bowl and add the butter, 10% cream, salt and pepper, Microwave again in 4 x 15 second bursts. Watch close not to boil over. It should be next to boiling and set aside.
Now cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
Drain and mash lightly until smooth.
Add the mixture of poached garlic cream, butter, a touch more seasoning and the nutmeg and mix well into your lovely mashed potato.
A simple mixture of some chopped bacon and onions sautéed and added to some steamed Brussels sprouts top off the meal in a true holiday fashion.
A Holiday Toast
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
From thekitchenman here are some interesting facts about Turkey:
As far back as 1000 A.D., Native American Indians raised turkeys for food. Aztec Indians in Mexico were raising them as early as 200B.C. Turkeys originally existed in the eastern part of North America and as far west as Mexico. The Canadian turkey industry grosses over half billion dollars a year. The Average Canadian consumes over 6 kilos of Turkey per year. Canadians consume over a few million pounds of turkey just on Xmas Day alone.
Turkey, like poultry, is lower in cholesterol than beef an many other meats. The dark meat (thigh, legs,) contains more fat and cholesterol than white meat. So, that’s why dark meat tastes so good! Male Turkeys are called “Toms”, female turkeys are called “Hens” and baby turkeys are called “poults”. Turkey eggs are tan in color and speckled with brown. They are about twice as large as chicken eggs and carry more omega protein. That long, loose skin that hangs down from a turkey’s neck is called a “wattle”. Sleepy after the big meal? Turkey contains an amino acid called “Tryptophan”. Tryptophan sets off a chemical chain reaction that calms you down and makes you sleepy. Does your family fight over the wishbone from the holiday turkey? Allow the wishbone to dry. Then, two people grasp each end of the wishbone. After making a silent wish, they pull it away.
Whoever gets the joint portion, gets their wish. Known as a “lucky break” the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl’s bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying “wish” dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America and is still a family tradition today.