Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey and pre-Thanksgiving celebrations

My dad and brother came to visit last week for a long weekend.  Since I haven't celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in 12 years or so, I wanted to celebrate it with them while they were here.  So I decided to make a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner.  Here's the menu I created:  Appetizer--cocktail shrimp with cocktail sauce; Main Course--Turkey (duh); Side Dishes--Green Bean Casserole, Sourdough Bread Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Loaded Mashed Potatoes; Dessert--Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding (recipes to follow in the coming days).

My Plate

I spent a total of about 5 hours cooking.  Everything went pretty smoothly except things didn't finish cooking at the same time.  So the food was more room temperature by the time we ate it.  My dad helped me with the cooking even though I was the one "in charge."  He was more of my assistant :)  It was really nice to have someone helping me out in the kitchen. 

My in-laws also came over for dinner and everyone seemed to enjoy the meal.  It was really nice to have Thanksgiving (sort of) with my family!

I'm going to post the recipes separately, but here's the recipe I used for the turkey (it's a modified recipe from Giada DeLaurentis I found on  Dinner was running late and people were hungry so I forgot to take a picture of my first cooked turkey...arghh! 

Turkey with Herbs and Citrus

1 (13 lb) turkey
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
5 fresh rosemary sprigs
5 fresh sage sprigs
5 fresh thyme sprigs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth

Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.  Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan.  Place the orange and lemon wedges, onion, and 2 sprigs of each fresh her in the main turkey cavity.

In a small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of butter, salt, and pepper.  Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin.

Cover the turkey breast with foil.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Pour 2 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan.  Roast the turkey for 40 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Remove the foil from the turkey.  Pour 1 more cup of broth in the pan.  Continue roasting the turkey until the meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees to 175 degrees or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer.  Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil.  Let stand 30 minutes.

Before the Turkey went in the Oven

The Only Picture I Have of the Cooked Turkey

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