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Faux Thanksgiving

Every year, I like to do a Thanksgiving the Saturday before Thanksgiving for friends. It’s always a potluck; I do the bird and the stuffing, and people bring all the other courses.


 

For the bird, I usually go with a kosher turkey because I believe in all the benefits of brining, but am just too lazy to bother with it. A kosher bird allows me to have all the benefits, with none of the trouble. This year, I decided to try Trader Joe’s pre-brined bird, as it’s almost half the price.


 

I used Alton Brown’s turkey recipe


 


1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil


A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.


Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.


Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.



It went over fine, nothing usually spectacular, like the reviews of this recipe would have you believe. I had two different stuffings: one sausage and apple, one vegetarian. The sausage stuffing was great, almost like a savory bread pudding. I used almonds and raisins in the vegetarian stuffing and that was tasty too.

Apple and sausage stuffing 
Bon Appétit | November 2002

 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound spicy pork bulk sausage
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced peeled cored apple
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 bay leaf

8 cups 1-inch cubes French bread with crusts (from 1-pound loaf)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten to blend

preparation
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; sauté until cooked through and brown, breaking into pieces with spoon, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Add celery and next 6 ingredients to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Add mixture to sausage. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat to lukewarm before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 350°F.





Other selections included a sweet potato and peanut butter soup, potato and zucchini latkes, succotash, salad, bread, a chocolate tart and pumpkin pie. Of course, we had lots of ice cream from Christina’s. 
 

I think the evening was enjoyed by all. It’s nice to be able to share Thanksgiving with friends, not just family.

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