We had our usual quiet Thanksgiving. My half-brother drove down from Sacramento to spend Thanksgiving with us for the first time ever. I prepped a bit yesterday, but cut back on a lot of dishes I originally had planned because Larry was still recovering from a not-very-fun time with kidney stones. He hasn’t had much of an appetite.
In fact, my day was so relaxed that after I made the pie in the morning (more on that in a moment), I went out for a 20-mile bike ride. And then still had time to sit with a book later in the afternoon.
I didn’t have much of a plan for the turkey. I got a Kosher turkey, about 12.5 lbs, from Trader Joe’s. So no brining needed. In fact, Kosher poultry really doesn’t need much of anything, it’s delicious as-is. I looked at a bunch of different recipes for turkey and chicken, and came up with my own recipe that worked out great.
We liked the dressing – the addition of sweet potatoes means there doesn’t need to be a separate sweet potato dish. I normally don’t make cranberries, but decided to do it this year – and shouldn’t have. Larry didn’t like them. I thought they were just okay.
The pie. My struggles with pumpkin pie are well-documented. I decided on another recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. This one uses canned candied yams in addition to pumpkin, and is bound together with a generous amount of cream and eggs. Larry and Brian said it was good, but Larry decided he likes the praline version I made a few weeks ago. So I’ll go to work perfecting that recipe.
Herb Roast Turkey with Shallot-Dijon Gravy
1.5 tsp. dried sage
1.5 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt 3 small bay leaves, coarsely torn
1 12 to 16-lb. Kosher turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 whole lemon, chopped with peel
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Low-sodium chicken broth
.5 cup chopped shallots
.5 cup all-purpose flour
.5 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Combine the ingredients for the herb salt. (can be made 1 week ahead – cover and store at room temperature). Rinse turkey inside and out and remove any remaining quills. Pat dry. Rub herb salt over entire outside of turkey. Place turkey on a platter or rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 18-24 hours prior to roasting.
When ready to roast turkey, set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Combine onion and next four ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the onion mixture between the primary and neck cavities. Fold neck skin under, tuck wing tips under and tie legs together. Place turkey breast side down on a rack set in a large roasting pan; pour 2 cups chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Roast turkey for 30 minutes, then decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for another hour, then rotate turkey to breast side up and roast for another 1 -2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees. Do not baste. Tent loosely with foil if browning to quickly. Transfer turkey to platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes. Reserve roasting pan with juices for gravy.
Pour juices from the roasting pan into a gravy separator. Spoon off .5 cup of fat and add back to the roasting pan, set over a burner on the stove-top on medium heat. Add the shallots; saute 1 minute or until soft. Whisk in flour. Cook until roux is light brown, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in wine, Dijon mustard and fresh rosemary. Add the reserved juices along with enough chicken broth to total 3 cups. Bring to a boil, whisking to blend. Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Herb Roast Turkey with Shallot-Dijon Gravy (recipe above)
- Sweet Potato Stuffing with Bacon & Thyme (Bon Appetit, November 2009)
- Arugula Salad with Grapes, Fennel, Gogonzona & Pecans (The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2008, p. 30)
- Smashed Red-Skinned Potatoes with Boursin & Scallions (Fine Cooking #56, March 2003, p. 47)
- Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise & Port (Fine Cooking #60, October 2003, p. 86)
- Pumpkin Pie (Cook’s Illustrated, November 2008)