I have bee so busy lately! I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post. Well Thanksgiving was great and the 5 day break from school has been absolutely wonderful an very needed! I feel so rejuvenated and ready to give it my all until the Christmas holiday. Richie and I pretty much did NOTHING the last 4 days and other that church in the morning we don’t really have anything planned for Sunday either.
Much of Wednesday was spent preparing for Thanksgiving. I actually cooked two turkeys this year so we could save one for leftovers. On Wednesday I cooked the first turkey and then boned, sliced, sealed and froze it. I used the bones and giblets and herbs to make a wonderful turkey/herb stock to use in several of my other recipes. I also baked my corn souffle, 2 pies, pre-cooked the sweet potatoes and got the dry ingredients ready for the stuffing. I also decided to brine the turkey this year so I got that ready and got the turkey soaking.
Early Thursday I got up to rinse and dry my turkey. I sautes the onions and celery for the stuffing and finished mixing that. I stuffed my turkey and put it in at about 8 am to start roasting. I got the sweet potatoes cooking and then had some time to relax on the couch and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Around 11 I got the table set and finished cooking all the rest of the “fixin’s” and we ate around 12:30.
The food was wonderful and if you have never brined a turkey I HIGHLY suggest it! I will always brine my turkey now. The meat was so juicy and flavorful. The skin was golden, crisp and slightly sweet and the drippings made the most amazing gravy ever. I also used fresh herbs so the flavors were a complex medley of sweet, savory and salty. Add in the slight sourness of the cranberry and my tongue was in heaven!
Here is our Thanksgiving Menu:
Brined Herb Roasted Turkey (recipe below)
Herb Stuffing (recipe below)
Corn Souffle (recipe below)
Sweet Potatoes (recipe below)
Raw Milk Butter (homemade) with herbs
Chocolate Chess Pie (recipe below)
Apple-butter Pumpkin Pie (recipe below)
Brined Herb Roasted Turkey
1 1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 gallons of COLD water
whole cinnamon sticks
Fresh sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme – one medium to large bundle
Cooler large enough to hold your turkey
Combine salt, brown sugar and 4 cups of water in a pot on the stove top. Heat, stirring constantly until salt and sugar is melted and combined with the water. Pour mixture into the ice cooler and add remaining cold water. Add your turkey breast side down into the mixture. Add lots of ice to keep the mixture below 40 degrees. You should brine your turkey at least 12 hours and longer if possible. About halfway through the brining process flip the turkey so it is breast side up. Add more ice as necessary.
Before cooking thoroughly rinse the turkey. Pat try with a towel. Stuff or prepare as usual roasting at 325 degrees until the thigh temperature reaches 170 degrees. Your turkey will be very juicy so plan at least 20 minutes to allow the turkey to rest before carving.
(This is my families recipe. The measurements are estimates as we all just make it by eye.)
2 loaves of white bread, dried and cubed
1 c. butter divided in half
Chicken Stock (1/2 c. or more)
1 c. chopped onion
3 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. dried parsley
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. thyme, basil and oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 egg, beaten
Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage)
Melt 1/2 c. of butter and saute onions and celery until golden. Toss lightly with remaining ingredients and spoon into turkey. Place fresh herbs over the exposed portion of the stuffing. Remove from turkey and discard herbs before serving.
3 slightly beaten eggs
2 c. drained canned corn
2 c. scalded milk
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 T. melted butter
1 tsp sugar
To scald milk, heat until a slight skin or rippling appears on top just before boiling. Watch closely. Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased casserole. Set in a shallow pan with 1″ of water. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean
*This reheats well in the microwave. Bake a day ahead and just reheat before the meal.
4 Large Sweet potatoes cooked until just fork tender
1 C. Karo syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. butter
In a large skillet heat Karo syrup, brown sugar and butter until it just starts to bubble. Turn heat to low and add peeled, sliced, cooked sweet potatoes. About every 10 minutes spoon sauce over the potatoes.
Chocolate Chess Pie (my husbands favorite)
1 10″ Graham Cracker Pie crust ( chocolate cookie crust is good too)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbs. cocoa
1/4 c. melted butter
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/8 tsp salt
1 – 5.33 ounce can of evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped pecans
Mix sugar, cocoa, and margarine. Stir well. Add eggs and stir for two minutes. Add salt, milk and vanilla. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
(Recipe from “The Pecan Cookbook” by Adams Pecan Company Inc.)
Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie (courtesy of Paula Deen)
1 cup apple butter
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.Combine apple butter, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Stir in eggs. Gradually add milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake for about 40 minutes or until set.Cook’s Notes:
-If the crust begins to burn, place tin foil around the crust and lower the temperature of the oven.
-A tasty topping for this pie is praline pecans.
So there you have it! And with all of my leftovers I have a few tasty recipes planned! We will of course have Turkey Pot Pie! I am planning on making Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherds pie and I might also make some Turkey and Dumplings! Until next year HAPPY Thanksgiving!